What is Virtualization Software? Virtualization
software is installed on a computer already running Windows, Linux, or Mac to allow that
single computer to create and run virtual installations of other guest operating systems.
These guest operating systems can be Windows XP/Vista/7/8, Linux, Mac, Solaris, and OpenSolaris,
and OpenBSD. This is used in datacenters to allow them to optimize server space and hardware
usage. Virtualization software is great for testing out other operating systems and software.
. Many times there is older software that for whatever reason you still have to use.
Virutalization software is great to install Windows XP to run older apps. What is VirtualBox?
VirtualBox is a virtualization software package owned by Oracle . VirtualBox is extremely
feature rich with high performance. VirtualBox is freely available as Open Source Software.
This means you can download and use this product, as long as you like, for free. Let’s download
and install VirtualBox. Open a web browser like “Internet Explorer”, or Firefox or
Chrome if you prefer. In the address bar, enter www.virtualbox.org, and press enter.
On the VirtualBox home page, click the “Downloads” link. Click on the link to select the operating
system you are using. In my case I am using Windows 7 so I will select the version for
Windows. Click the “x86/AMD64” link. On the “Download Information Bar”, you can
save the file to your computer if you like, or just click the “Run” button as i prefer
to do. This means it will download the file and then automatically begin the installer.
The download is about 90 MB. Once complete the “Oracle VM VirtualBox Setup” window
will open on the “Welcome to Oracle VM VirtualBox Setup Wizard” screen. Click the “Next”
button. On the “Custom Setup” screen, click the “Next” button. Uncheck “Create
a shortcut in the Quick Launch Bar”, and click “Next”. On the “Warning: Network
Interfaces” screen, ensure that nothing will be affected by resetting the network
interfaces and click the “Yes” button. On the “Ready to Install” screen click
the “Install” button. “Windows Security” screens will open requesting to install device
software, click the “Install” button on them. On the next 2 “Windows Security”
window click the “Install” button. On the “Oracle VM VirtualBox installation is
complete” screen, unselect the “Start Oracle VM VirtualBox after installation”,
click the “Finish” button. You can start VirtualBox in one of two ways. Option 1. Double
click on the “Oracle VM VirtualBox” icon on the desktop. Option 2. Click the Windows
“Start” button, “All Programs”, “Oracle VM VirtualBox”, and then click on the “Oracle
VM VirtualBox” icon. The “Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager” window will open.Let’s create
a Windows XP Virtual Machine. Click the “New” button. The “Create New Virtual Machine”
window will open. On the “Welcome to the New Virtual Machine Wizard!” screen, click
the “Next” button. On the “VM Name and OS Type” screen, let’s name our Windows
XP virtual machine, “WindowsXP”. Under “OS Type” make sure that “Microsoft
Windows” is selected for the “Operating System” and “Windows XP” is selected
for the “Version”. Click the “Next” button. You will now see the “Memory”
screen. It will show you a slider bar that represents the total amount of memory in the
system. In this case the computer has “4096 MB” or 4 GB of RAM. When the virtual machine
boots it will reserve the amount you select here. If you select 512 MB of ram, then this
new virtual machine would have access to it’s own 512 MB of ram. Let’s enter 512, and
click the “Next” button. On the “Virtual Hard Disk” screen, ensure that “Start-up
Disk” is checked, and “Create new hard disk” is selected. Click the “Next”
button. The “Welcome to the virtual disk creation wizard” screen will open. This
is where we need to select the type of file the virtual disk will be saved as. The default
type is “VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image). I like to change this to “VMDK (Virtual Machine
Disk)”. VMDK is a disk image format developed by VMWare. Changing this to VMDK allows it
to be easily transfered to a computer running VMWare. Click to select the radio button next
to “VMDK (Virtual Machine Disk)”, and click the “Next” button. The “Virtual
disk storage details” screen will open. A dynamically allocated disk is nice is some
respects because it will only use up as much disk space on your host computer as the guest
operating system requires. It will grow as it needs more space on the virtual disk up
to the maximum size you select. The “Fixed size” disk is preferred because, with the
file being fully allocated in one file, it runs noticeably faster. If you have the space
to spare click the radio button to select “Fixed size”, and click the “Next”
button. The “Virtual disk file location size” screen will open. By default it creates
the virtual machines in the root of the logged in users home folder with the same name as
your virtual machine. If you want to change this to another drive or folder do that now.
Select the amount of space you want for the virtual machine. If you aren’t sure 10 GB
is usually fine for basic usage. After making your selection click the “Next” button.
You will now see the “Summary” screen, with a list of the options selected for the
virtual machine’s storage device. Review the information and click the “Create”
button. Depending on the size of the disk it should take about 5 to 10 minutes. You
will now see the “Summary” screen, with a list of the options selected for the virtual
machine’s operating system. Review the information and click the “Create” button. Once the
setup is complete it will bring you back to the “Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager” window.
We have now setup the virtual disk and told VirtualBox what guest operating system we
plan on installing on this virtual machine. The virtual machine is listed on the left
side of the window, and the information and virtual hardware are listed on the right.
We now need to install Windows XP. You can install Windows XP with either the installation
CD or with a disk image, such as an ISO image. Click on the “Storage” link. The “WindowsXP
– Settings” window will open. Under “IDE Controller” it lists the WindowsXP.vmdk
file we created earlier, as well as a CD/DVD drive showing “Empty”. Click to select
the CD/DVD drive. If you have a physical copy of Windows XP, place it in your disk drive.
Click the button to the right of the CD/DVD drive, and then select the drive with Windows
XP in it. I have 2 disk drives, which is why 2 are listed. It now shows “Host Drive ‘G’”.
If you have a disk image of Windows XP, make note of where it is saved. Click the button
to the right of the CD/DVD drive, and select the “Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file”
link. In the Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file window that opens, navigate to the location
of your image file, select it, and click the “Open” button. It will now show the name
of the image file listed next to the virtual CD/DVD drive. Back on the “WindowsXP – Settings”
window, click the “OK” button. Looking under storage we now see the disk image listed
next to the CD/DVD drive. Let’s start the virtual machine and install Windows. Click
the “Start” button. We will see the “VirtualBox – Information” window. It is letting you
know that the virutal machine will take control of all keystrokes instead of the host computer.
If you want to get back to the host computer taking control of the keystrokes you press
the “Right Ctrl” key. Click to select “Do not show this message again”, and
click the “OK” button. We will see “Windows Setup” start. We will get another “VirtualBox
– Information” window, that will tell you that you are using “mouse pointer integration”
mode. This means that the mouse will seamlessly work with either the host OS or the guest
OS. Click to select “Do not show this message again”, and click the “OK” button. After
copying the initial files you will get to the “Windows XP Professional Setup” screen.
It shows the unpartitioned space we created during the disk setup. We need to create a
partition on it before we continue the install. Press the “C” key to create a partition.
You will now get a screen where you can select how large the partition should be. We want
it to be the entire drive we setup earlier, so let’s leave the default of 10229MB and
press “Enter”. We now see the newly created partition, along with 8MB of unpartitioned
space. This is left here for use by Windows in case you convert the disk from a basic
to a dynamic disk. Press “Enter” to install Windows on the newly created partition. We
now need to format the partition. Unless you plan on installing Linux, or something else
requiring a FAT partition. With this being a virtual machine, we don’t need to perform
a full format. Let’s select “Format the partition using the NTFS file system(Quick)”,
and press “Enter”. Setup will copy files to the new partition and begin the installation.
On the “Personalize Your Software” screen, enter your name and click the “Next” button.
On the “Computer Name and Administrator Password” screen, enter a name for your
computer, enter an administrator password, and click the “Next” button. On the “Date
and Time Settings” screen, enter the appropriate time information and click the “Next”
button. You will get a “Display Settings” window wanting to automatically adjust the
display resolution. Click the “OK” button. On the “Monitor Settings” window click
the “OK” button. On the “Welcome to Microsoft Windows” screen click the “Next”
button. On the “Help protect your PC” screen, click to select “Help protect my
PC by turning on Automatic Updates now”, and click the “Next” button. On the “Will
this computer connect to the Internet directly, or through a network?” screen, leave “Yes,
this computer will connect through a local area network or home network” selected and
click the “Next” button. On the “Ready to register with Microsoft?” screen, select
“No, not at this time”, and click the “Next” button. On the “Who will use
this computer?” screen, enter your name, and click the “Next” button. On the “Thank
You!” screen, click the “Finish” button. Now for the additional Setup Steps. To improve
performance we need to install the “Guest Additions” software. The guest additions
consist of device drivers and system applications that provide a more seamless experience. On
the virtual machines window, click the “Devices” menu, and then “Install Guest Additions”.
The “OracleVM VirtualBox Guest Additions Setup” window will open. Click the “Next”
button. On the “Choose Install Location” screen, click the “Next” button. On the
“Choose Components” screen, if you have a decent graphics card, click to select “Direct3D
Support Experimental”, and click the “Install” button. If you experience video problems,
reinstall the guest additions and deselect this option. Click “Finish” to reboot
the computer. Now that the guest additions are installed and the system is rebooted,
it will probably be on the lowest resolution of 640 x 480. Let’s change this to something
more appropriate. The resolution you choose will vary depending on the resolution you
have set on your host computer. You probably want the guest OS window to be as large as
possible, while being completely visible. Right-click on the desktop and select “Properties”.
The “Display Properties” window will open. Click the “Settings” tab. We may need
to try a few resolutions to find the right one. My monitor is set to 1920×1080. We’ll
drag the slider under “Screen Resolution” all the way to the right, and click the “Apply”
button. On the “Monitor Settings” window, click the “Yes” button. When you find
the correct resolution, click the “OK” button to close the “Display Properties”.
We need to use Windows Update to install all of the latest security updates. You should
have a “Windows Update” icon in the System Tray, or click the Windows “Start” button,
“All Programs”, “Windows Update”. It will open Internet Explorer on the “Windows
Update” page. Click the “Express” button. You will get a pop-up telling you the Internet
is dangerous. Click the “Yes” button. Click the “Download and Install Now” button.
Click the “Close” button. Back on the “Review Your Installation Results” screen,
click the “Continue” button. On the “Review and Install Updates” screen, click the “Install
Updates” button. On the “Read these license terms” screen, review the license agreement
and click the “I Accept” button. On the “Install Windows Internet Explorer 8”
window, click to select “I want to help improve Internet Explorer”, and click the
“Install” button. On the “Please read the license terms” window, click the “I
accept” button. On the “Get the latest updates” screen, leave “Install updates”
checked, and click the “Next” button. On the “Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications”
window, click the “Next” button. On the “License Agreement” screen, click the
radio button to select “I Agree”, and click the “Next” button. On the “Validation
Results” screen, deselect the option to “Show me some of the many benefits of using
genuine software when i click Finish.”, and click the “OK” button. To shut down
the virtual machine you can click the Windows “Start” button, and then “Turn Off Computer”
as you normally would to shut down the virtual machine and close it’s window. You can also
click on the “X” at the top right of the virtual machines window. You then get three
options. “Send the shutdown signal” is the same as shutting down the computer through
the Start menu. “Power off the machine” is like you are unplugging the computer from
the electrical socket. It does not perform a proper shutdown like the last option. “Save
the machine state” is like when your computer Hibernates. It saves the virtual machine exactly
as it is when you click this button, and then restores to exactly this point when you turn
it back on. If you had different programs open, they would all be back in the same spot
when restarted with this option. To test this we’ll open an Internet Explorer window.
Now click the “X” to close the guest OS, select “Save the machine state”, and click
the “OK” button. It will save the state of the VM and then close down to the “Virtual
Manager” window. Press the “Start” button to start the virtual machine. Notice that
it powers back on quickly and we are at the same spot we were before we saved the state.
You should now install an Anti-Virus program on your computer before you do anything else,
especially use the Internet. I will have a link on screen, linking to another one of
my video tutorials on how to install and use “Microsoft Security Essentials”. It is
free and made by Microsoft. We now have a working Windows XP guest running as our first
virtual machine in VirtualBox. The installation of other Operating Systems is done in much
the same way. You can run as many virtual machines as your systems resources allow.
Make sure you leave plenty of RAM for your host computer, and don’t assign it all to
your guest OS’s.