Introduction to VirtualBox
VirtualBox is a free, Type 2 hypervisor. It is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for business as well as home use. I have been using VirtualBox since my journey started into virtualization. Virtual Box can be used to install and run Linux Virtual Machines for testing and other purposes. It is one of the most embraced desktop virtualization solutions that are freely available as open-source software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) v2.
It can be run on common operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Solaris, and Macintosh and supports a list of guest OS or Virtual Machines (VMs). Like the Linux operating system, VirtualBox is also a community effort backed by a well-known company, ORACLE. VirtualBox is easy to use and freely available. It is suitable for running multiple operating systems. It is capable of running Virtual Machines, and you can run any old or incompatible software inside VMs.
In this article, I am going to show you how you can download and Install VirtualBox and its Extension packs on Windows OS in easy steps. After installing VirtualBox, you can run VirtualBox as an application on Windows OS to create Virtual Machines (VMs).
VirtualBox Installation involves two components:
- Base Package: This is main installation file which you will run to install main VirtualBox application on Windows 10.
- Extension packs: Additional extension packs are important to install. They enhance the functionality of Base package. Support for USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 devices, VirtualBox RDP, disk encryption with AES algorithm, NVMe and PXE boot for Intel cards is achieved only after installing extension pack.
Download VirtualBox with Extension Packs
It is always suggested to visit the official website to download VirtualBox and its Extension packs. Click Here to visit the Downloads page.
- Click on Windows Hosts to download VirtualBox for Windows operating system.
- Then Click on All supported platforms to download VirtualBox Extension Pack
It is very important to note that virtualization applications such as VirtualBox or VMware workstations don’t work with Hyper-V. Hyper-V is the default type-2 hypervisor for Windows 10. You must Disable Hyper-V before you install VirtualBox or VMware.
Install VirtualBox (Base Package)
Step 1: Click on the downloaded executable file and select the way you want features to be installed. Also, if you want to change the location of the installation files, you may change it by clicking on the Browse button. We will leave it as is and click Next.
Step 2: Let it install and create shortcuts for VirtualBox in multiple locations. Click Next.
Step 3: VirtualBox will temporarily disconnect Network interfaces during installation. It is just required once during installation. Click YES to proceed with the installation.
Step 4: Click Install to begin the installation.
Step 5: Windows security may ask if the software you are installing is trusted. Click Install to proceed with the installation.
Step 6: Once Installation is completed. Click Finish and you are good to use VirtualBox.
This window is known as VirtualBox Manager where you create and manage all Virtual Machines and associated settings.
Question: Does VirtualBox support 64-bit guest operating systems?
Answer: It is always recommended to use 64-bit VMs, if possible. VirtualBox support running 64-bit guest operating systems. Just make sure that your hardware has the support for virtualization (Intel VT-x or AMD-v).
Install VirtualBox (Extension Pack)
Firstly, make sure that you have downloaded the same version Extension Pack as your install version of VirtualBox.
To install Extension Pack for VirtualBox, simply run the .vbox-extpack and a Network Operations Manager window will start the installation wizard.
You will be prompted a question of whether to install the VirtualBox extension pack. Click on “Install”.
VirtualBox License will be shown to read. You may want to scroll down and click on “I Agree”.
The Extension pack has been installed for VirtualBox. Go ahead and enjoy the free features available in VirtualBox.
You can view currently installed Extension packs. From the File menu, select Preferences. In the window that displays, go to the Extensions category. This shows you the extensions which are currently installed and enables you to remove a package or add a new package.
The Bottom Line
- VirtualBox is a free Virtualization software that runs as an application on multiple operating systems including Windows, Linux, Macintosh, and Solaris.
- It is recommended to use 64-bit guest operating systems. Using a 32-bit operating system may limit guest OS to use 3-4 GB RAM.
- To run a 64-bit guest OS, make sure that the hardware has the support for virtualization (Intel VT-x or AMD-v).
- VirtualBox installation consists of two phases. Install VirtualBox Base Package and Install VirtualBox Extension Pack.
- While downloading/installing VirtualBox, make sure the versions of the VirtualBox Base Package/Software and the VirtualBox Extension Pack are the same.