Configuring the VirtualBox Environment
Once VirtualBox has been installed on the host computer system, it is ready to run using a number of default preference settings. Whilst these settings are suitable for most situations, VirtualBox provides the ability to modify a number of preference settings. These preference settings differ from virtual machine settings in that they apply to the entire VirtualBox environment, as opposed to being specific to a single virtual machine.
Accessing VirtualBox Preferences
The VirtualBox Preference settings are accessed by selecting Preferences...' from the File menu. Once selected, the following dialog will appear:
The preferences are divided into four groups (General, Input, Update and Languages), each accessible by clicking on the corresponding item in the left hand pane. The above figure shows the General preference settings screen.
VirtualBox General Preferences
The general preferences screen allows the following settings to be configured:
- Default Hard Disk Folder - The default folder on the host system into which virtual hard disk image files will be stored unless a different location is specifically specified when a new virtual machine is created.
- Default Machine Folder - The default folder on the host system into which virtual machine configuration files will be stored unless a different location is specifically specified when a new virtual machine is created.
- VRDP Authentication Library - The location of the library containing authentication credentials for remote desktop clients (VRDP).
VirtualBox Input Preferences
When the Input option of the VirtualBox preferences screen is selected, settings relating to keyboard input and focus are displayed as follows:
When a VirtualBox virtual machine runs, a window appears containing the console or desktop of the guest operating system. By default, as soon as a virtual machine starts, the host's mouse and keyboard focus are assigned to the virtual machine window. To prevent focus from being assigned automatically, unset the Auto Capure Keyboard check box.
Once the focus has been assigned to a virtual machine window, focus is returned to the host desktop by pressing a key known as the Host Key. By default, this key is the Ctrl key positioned on the right hand side of the host keyboard. To change the host key, simply click with the mouse in the host key text box to highlight the current selection and press the desired key. The current setting will then change to reflect the key which was pressed. Note that not all keys on the keyboard are eligible to act as host keys. If the current setting does not change when the key is pressed it is likely that the selected key is not a suitable choice (for example arrow keys are not able to act as a host key).
VirtualBox Update Preferences
The VirtualBox Update preferences screen (illustrated below) defines if and how frequently VirtualBox checks the Sun Microsystems servers for updates to the VirtualBox software. When the Check for updates check box is selected the frequency of update checks can be configured from as infrequently as once a month to as often as once every day.
In addition, the update preferences screen also provides notification of when the next check for available updates is scheduled to be performed.
VirtualBox Language Preferences
The final option allows the language of the user interface to be changed. The currently selected language is displayed in bold type. To change the language, make a selection from the list and click on the OK button to commit the change. All labels and text within the user interface will change to reflect the new language choice.