Configuring VirtualBox Virtual Machine Settings

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Once a VirtualBox virtual machine has been created there are a number of configuration settings which can be configured or altered. In fact, the settings configured while using the New Virtual Machine wizard represent only a subset of the settings which can be configured on a virtual machine. Perhaps the most significant setting for a new virtual machine is the addition of a CD/DVD drive so that the guest operating system can be installed. Both this and other settings are the topic of this chapter.

Accessing Virtual Machine Settings

The settings for a virtual machine are accessed using the main VirtualBox application (for details on launching VirtualBox refer to the Creating and Managing VirtualBox Virtual Machines chapter of this book.

Once loaded, the left hand pane of the VirtualBox tool lists currently configured virtual machines. To view the settings of a virtual machine, select it from the list and either click on the Settings button located in the toolbar, or select the Machine->Settings... menu option. Access to the virtual machine settings is disabled with the virtual machine running or saved.

When invoked, the Settings dialog will appear as follows:

The VirtualBox Virtual Machine Settings dialog

The left hand pane of the settings dialog lists different categories. The main pane displays the settings relating to the currently selected category and allows these settings to be modified.

Virtual Machine General Settings

The General category of virtual machine settings consists of four different categories of settings arrange on tabbed pages labeled Basic, Advanced, Description and Other:

Basic Settings

The basic settings page allows the name, guest operating system type, base memory and the amount of memory assigned to the virtual graphics adapter for the selected virtual machine to be altered.

This page also provides the option to enable OpenGL accelerated 3D graphics for the video adapter. Note that this feature requires that the VirtualBox Guest Additions be installed on the guest operating system (see Understanding and Installing VirtualBox Guest Additions for more details).

Advanced Settings

The Advanced page allows the following settings to be configured:

  • Boot Order - Specifies the order in which the virtual machine will search storage devices and the network (using PXE) to locate a bootable operating system image.
  • Enable ACPI - Enables and disables Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) support for the virtual machine allowing the guest operating system to perform power management tasks on the virtual machine's virtual devices and hardware.
  • Enable I/O APIC - Enables and disable support for Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controllers (ACIP). This latest generation of interrupt controllers eliminate the 16 Interrupt Request (IRQ) limit present in old Porgammable Interface Controllers (PIC). I/O APIC must be enabled when installing 64-bit guest operating systems.
  • Enable VT-x/AMD-V - Defines whether VirtualBox will take advantage of the hardware virtualization features present in Intel-VT and AMD-V capable processors. For more details on this topic refer to the chapter entitled An Overview of VirtualBox 2. Note that if hardware virtualization is enabled for one virtual machine it must be enabled for all other concurrently running virtual machines on the host.
  • Enable Nested Paging - Controls whether the Nested Paging feature of hardware virtualization capable CPUs is enabled for the virtual machine.
  • Enable PAE/NX - Enables or disables Physical Address Extension and NX for the virtual machine when these features are supported by the host hardware. The purpose of this feature is to allow operating systems to access more than 4GB of memory. In practice this option is only provided for compatibility with some operating systems and does not actually increase the amount of memory available to the virtual machine.
  • Shared Clipboard - When VirtualBox Guest Additions are installed in the guest operating system, this setting controls how clipboard data is shared between the guest and the host. In Bi-directional mode, clipboard is automatically shared between the host and the guest. In Host to Guest mode, only the host's clipboard data is shared with the guest (data saved to the guest clipboard is not visible to the host). Conversely, Guest to Host makes only the guest data available to the host.
  • IDE Controller - Changes the type of IDE hardware controller presented to the guest operating system. Useful when adding a virtual disk created by a competing virtualization product which may have used a different virtual IDE controller.
  • Snapshot Controller - Allows the location of snapshot files to be defined.

Description Setting

The description page allows a description of the virtual machine to provided. This setting is optional.

Other Settings

The Other page provides the opportunity to configure the virtual machine to remember what media was mounted last time the virtual machine ran, and to remount that media on the next run.

Hard Disk Settings