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Old 12-11-2009, 01:39 AM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default Sun VirtualBox - Free, Powerful Virtualization

Where virtualization is concerned, "free" certainly doesn't equate with "cheap". Sun's VirtualBox is a perfect example of that. For non-commercial use, it's a cost-free hypervisor that's feature-robust, offers great performance and stability, and supports a wide-variety of guest operating systems. Read on as we take an in-depth look at all that it offers.

You can read our full look at VirtualBox here and discuss it here!
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:34 PM   #2
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Default USB transfers are subpar

USB performance in VirtualBox is really on the low side. USB data transfers take between four and ten times longer in the VM than in the native OS. This is just the reason why we just dropped it entirely from our office in favor of VMWare Player which is almost as fast on USB operations as the native machine.

See http://www.virtualbox.de/ticket/2973
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Old 12-16-2009, 11:45 PM   #3
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I never even thought to give that a test. Will do with the next hypervisor I'll be looking at (VMware Player).
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:12 PM   #4
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Smile Transfering old OS to VM

I found your information very interesting. Thank you. I'm still looking for some directions in using VBox to transfer an old HDD running in an old PC with XP Pro to a new machine with W7 and totally new hardware.
I don't know how to proceed to have an intact image of the old HDD and be able to run it (exactly as it was running in the old PC) in the new machine with VBox. I suppose that many people would like to do the same but, like me, don't know how. Any detail instructions (tutorial) about how to do it?
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Old 03-25-2010, 01:49 PM   #5
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Default Can get audio to work

Hi Rob,

Nice summary of VirtualBox. I've been using it since it came out, and, like you, I love it. However, I just built a new PC using the same Gigabyte X58A-UD5 mb that you have. I can't get the audio to work. I downloaded the driver you mention, 6285_Vista_APO_PG536.zip, but it didn't help. Did you do anything special to get it to work? Did you run the setup included with the zip file or did you update the driver through the control panel? In the VirtualBox audio settings, do you have the audio driver set to ICH AC97?

TIA,
Osman
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Old 03-25-2010, 03:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
I found your information very interesting. Thank you. I'm still looking for some directions in using VBox to transfer an old HDD running in an old PC with XP Pro to a new machine with W7 and totally new hardware.
I don't know how to proceed to have an intact image of the old HDD and be able to run it (exactly as it was running in the old PC) in the new machine with VBox. I suppose that many people would like to do the same but, like me, don't know how. Any detail instructions (tutorial) about how to do it?
Sorry, I didn't see your message when it was posted

This is something I didn't think to look into, but I will soon. Might be worth figuring it out and then writing a news post about it, rather than update the article.

Quote:
Originally Posted by osmaneralp View Post
Hi Rob,

Nice summary of VirtualBox. I've been using it since it came out, and, like you, I love it. However, I just built a new PC using the same Gigabyte X58A-UD5 mb that you have. I can't get the audio to work. I downloaded the driver you mention, 6285_Vista_APO_PG536.zip, but it didn't help. Did you do anything special to get it to work? Did you run the setup included with the zip file or did you update the driver through the control panel? In the VirtualBox audio settings, do you have the audio driver set to ICH AC97?

TIA,
Osman
This motherboard wasn't the one I used during the article (I just upgraded a month ago). I also don't have VirtualBox installed at the moment, but I'll install it this afternoon and see if I experience the same issue. It might be worth asking... what version of Windows are you trying to run?
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Williams View Post
This motherboard wasn't the one I used during the article (I just upgraded a month ago).
Ah, that explains it.

Quote:
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I also don't have VirtualBox installed at the moment, but I'll install it this afternoon and see if I experience the same issue. It might be worth asking... what version of Windows are you trying to run?
I've tried both 32 bit and 64 bit Win 7. I used the Realtek audio driver v2.41 downloaded from the Gigabyte site. In my case, I don't think it's a driver problem. The VM doesn't think a sound device even exists. I do have audio enabled in the VirtualBox settings. Please let me know how it works for you.

--Osman
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:14 PM   #8
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Been rather swamped here so I haven't been able to tackle this, but I did get it installed, so I'm going to try to inch through it as the day goes on. With it not finding an audio device at all... that's a bit strange. I should note I also use Linux, so my experience may possibly vary, but we'll see. I'll let you know how I make out.
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:24 PM   #9
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Good news. I got it working. I noticed there was new release of VirtualBox yesterday, v3.1.6 r59338. I installed it, and now I have sound. I don't see anything in the change log that indicates they fixed anything related to the problem I was having, so who knows why it's working now, but it is. I'm still interested to know how you make out. --Osman
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:43 PM   #10
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Ahh, glad you got it to work. I am using version 3.14 (pi!) and the sound worked for me no problem. I still had to install the driver I mentioned in the article, but that was to be expected. I'm not sure what issue you had exactly, but at least it's fixed.

I highly recommend you check out VMware Player 3 as well. I've been using it a bit lately and I've come to find it to be a lot more stable and feature-rich than Virtualbox. I'm going to be writing up an article on it in the weeks ahead.
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:48 PM   #11
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This has a bunch of us at work interested since we are looking to rock out with a Mac OS. Thanks for the info, Rob!
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:48 PM   #12
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Default First Steps

I thoroughly enjoyed reading both series of articles on Virtual Machines.

I don't know whether it is appropriate to ask you this but I'd be grateful for some pointers before I take any steps.

As you've pointed out, Virtual Box is free and so I'd like to give it a go because I'd try to try out a small Linux such as Lucid Puppy on my Dell 1545 laptop (Intel Core2 Duo, T6400 @ 2.00 GHz, 1.99 GHz, 1.96 GB RAM) which is running Win XP SP3 as the sole OS.

My hard disk is partitioned into C: and E: drives, with 32.7 GB and 95.3 GB free space, respectively.

I plan to first get Lucid Puppy by following the instructions given here:
http://www.pendrivelinux.com/put-luc...-from-windows/

So my first question is this: Is it possible to transfer such a Linux OS installed on a USB to Virtual Box as the guest OS? In other words, WinXP SP3 will be the host and Lucid Puppy will be the guest. Then I wouldn't need to use the USB-based Linux anymore. Plus the hard-disk based version should be faster.

As my PC is currently set up, I use PCTools Firewall Plus (Free) and Avira Antivirus (Free). Would I be able to continue using them or must they be disabled at some point when I want to connect to the internet through the guest Linux OS?

I also have two internet connections: one is through my telephone line via a D-Link ADSL 2+ Router and LAN. The other is via a USB-stick.

In the context of my USB-based internet, I came across this caution in the Virtual Box user maunal, page 59:

Be careful with USB devices that are currently in use on the host! For
example, if you allow your guest to connect to your USB hard disk that
is currently mounted on the host, when the guest is activated, it will be
disconnected from the host without a proper shutdown. This may cause
data loss.

So this has me worried a bit. Is there a chance of damaging my USB (internet) stick?

I must admit that I've also looked at the forum at virtualbox.org but it seems not to be targetted at beginners.

I hope you can provide some guidance whenever you find the time!

AE Souza
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Old 06-24-2010, 10:26 PM   #13
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Unregistered, yes if you view their page they are running it inside VB.

All you need is the .iso file, which is the image file of a DVD. Any linux iso can be used to install Linux in a virtual machine, just point VB to the iso file.

As long as you configure it so the virtual machine is either bridged or using NAT, it can connect to the internet through your machine. In some cases you will need to allow it through the firewall.

It should not damage your USB internet adapter, but it might interfere with it. You don't need to run Linux from a USB to use it inside a virtual machine, all you need is to configure a new VM, then use the linux iso file to install the OS to it.
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:53 PM   #14
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Hi AE Souza, welcome to the forums! You have a great question here...

Like Kougar said, you should only need the .ISO file (found here) to install Puppy in VirtualBox. That USB guide you linked is more for people who happen to already have it installed on a USB drive. It's certainly not the easiest solution, especially with a brand-new install. I'm confident you'll have Puppy up and running in no time simply by installing straight from the .ISO.

Whether or not the VirtualBox Guest Additions will work is another thing, since Puppy is not a supported distro. Out of curiosity, what pulls you in towards Puppy? I admit I've never tried it out before.

Also as Kougar said, if the main PC connects to the Internet, you should be fine. VirtualBox (I believe at least) in Windows will create special network devices which simply feed off your main. If for some reason the install defaults to a non-functioning LAN adapter, you could simply just change that in the options for that particular VM.

The USB warning refers to the fact that the host and guest can't use the same USB-based storage device at the exact same time. If your host is using it, and you give access to the VM, the host suddenly loses track that it even exists. Data corruption would only occur if you were copying data to the drive and then suddenly gave access to your VM. This is no different from pulling the drive out of the port itself while copying data. If your storage device is idle, you'll be fine.

If you don't have much luck with VirtualBox for any reason, you might want to check out VMware's Player 3, as it offers similar or better features, better performance (for me), and is still free.
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