Installing VirtualBox 2 on a Windows Host

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The first step on the path to successful virtualization using VirtualBox involves downloaded and installing the software. The goal of this chapter is to cover the steps involved in installing VirtualBox on a Windows host. A complete list of Windows versions for which VirtualBox is supported can be found in the VirtualBox Supported Host and Guest Operating Systems chapter of this book. For details on installing VirtualBox on Linux hosts, refer to the chapter entitled Installing VirtualBox 2 on a Linux Host.

Downloading VirtualBox for Windows

The binary version of VirtualBox, pre-packaged for a wide variety of Windows versions, may be downloaded from the VirtualBox web site. Select the package for the host architecture (i386 or AMD64) and download the archive to a suitable temporary location.

VirtualBox Installation Components Windows

VirtualBox for Windows hosts is supplied as a single Microsoft Installer archive (MSI) file which contains both the main VirtualBox software and two optional components which are available for selection during the installation process:

  • USB Support - This component must be installed if guest operating systems running inside VirtualBox virtual machines are to be given full access to USB devices connected to the host computer.
  • Networking Support - Provides additional networking support in the form of Host Interface Networking. This makes the virtual network adapters in the VirtualBox virtual machines visible and accessible to other computers on the physical network.

Installing VirtualBox on Windows

Once the VirtualBox MSI archive file has been downloaded the installation process may be initiated by navigating to the location of the file using Windows Explorer and double clicking on the file. The default name for the file will take the form VirtualBox-<version>-<build>-Win-<architecture>.msi. For example, VirtualBox-2.1.4-42893-Win-amd64.msi.

Alternatively, the browser used to download the archive may automatically provide the option to run the installer as soon as the download completed.

Once invoked, the Welcome to the Sun xVM VirtualBox Setup Wizard screen will apear as illustrated in the following figure:

The VirtualBox 2.1 Windows installer wizard

Click Next> to view the End-User License Agreement screen. Assuming the terms are acceptable, select the I accept the terms in the license agreement and click Next> to proceed to the Custom Setup screen as illustrated below:

The VirtualBox installation wizard custom setup screen

By default, VirtualBox and the networking and USB components are installed. These options may be changed to either not install the two optional components now, or to install the components only when they are needed by the main VirtualBox application. To change the current selection for either component, simply click on the icon next to the component name and make a selection from the drop-down menu.

The default target location for VirtualBox on Windows hosts is C:\Program Files\Sun\xVM\VirtualBox. To specify a different location, click on the Browse button and navigate to the desired location.

Clicking Next> displays options to install Desktop and Quick Launch Bar shortcuts for VirtualBox. Make appropriate selections and click Next>. The wizard will now warn that any existing network connections will be temporarily lost during the installation process. Ensure that this will not cause a problem and click Yes to continue to the Ready to Install screen.

Finally, click Install to perform the installation. Once the installation is complete, VirtualBox is installed and ready to run. If the option to launch VirtualBox when the installation wizard exits is selected, VirtualBox will automatically start once the Finish button is pressed. Alternatively, VirtualBox may be launched using one of the shotcuts (if any were selected during installation) or by selecting All Programs->Sun xVM VirtualBox->VirtualBox from the Windows Start menu.

Launching the VirtualBox Installer from the Command Prompt

The VirtualBox installer may also be invoked from the command prompt. To achieve this, lauch a command prompt window, change directory to the folder containing the VirtualBox MSI archive file and execute the following command:

msiexec /i <virtualbox msi file>

Once invoked, the steps to complete the installation are the same as those outlined above.

Uninstalling VirtualBox from a Windows Host

Once installed on a Windows host, the VirtualBox installation may be removed at any time using the Windows Control Panel. Depending on the version of Windows acting as the host, this will be available as Add/Remove Programs or Programs and Features.