Sun VirtualBox Notes

Russ Bateman
January 2013
last update:

The last time I installed VirtualBox, I did it on Mint 13.

    $ sudo bash
    $ cd /etc/apt/sources.list.d/
    $ vim oracle_vbox.list
        Insert "deb precise contrib" in this file!

Download contents of to ~/Downloads.

    $ apt-key add /home/russ/Downloads/oracle_vbox.asc
    $ apt-get update
    $ apt-get install virtualbox-4.2

It's been about three years since I wrote an article on using Sun VirtualBox and I thought I'd up it here. I had trouble installing Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and also Windows XP (which I was trying to install as a last resort). For the trouble pictures, not exhaustive, see the set of four at the end of this page.

I had trouble with...

Found CD drive...

Here's the layout summary for the new VM...

Here we are beginning the Windows 7 Installation...

...the installation continuing successfully.

Starting to launch the Windows installation: let's tell a lie and say that virtualization isn't enabled...

Installation starting, though doomed to failure...
What did I do differently when Windows installation actually started? Not sure, however, I carefully scrutinized the images above and ensure the settings were identical to the last time this worked.

The nastygram coming as a shock...

Window XP installation: my last-ditch effort. This may still be a CD problem...

Attempt to install Windows XP

This fails even after doing the CD as shown above (and below, which also describes what I did for Windows 7, but in greater detail):

Here's a Windows XP VM set up...

Having clicked on Storage in the last image, I click on the first little disk icon...

...which confirms I'm going to configure a CD; I choose to leave it empty...

...then I select it... on the disk icon and choose my CD drive...

...and make it passthrough...

But, the final result is identical to the original one, i.e.: FATAL: No bootable medium found! System halted.

Getting Guest Additions to install

This is way more frustrating than it was a few years ago when I had so much success with VB.

The problem is that my Windows guest VM comes up with no outside window around it. It's in this window (see Conquering Sun VirtualBox for Dummies like Me) that the Devices menu appears to let you install the guest additions.

The moral of this story is not to go horsing around optimizing your guest OS window at least until you've at least installed the Guest Additions. The second time I installed, I was careful and did not have to do anything other than grab the menu at the top of the guest window Devices -> Install Guest Additions....

Instead, I had to download the guest additions ISO (see here) and then go through my (unlaunched) VM's Settings -> Storage > Controller: IDE, etc. to mount the ISO (that I downloaded) as a CD.

Then, I launched the Windows VM and opened the (now showing CD) in Windows File Explorer. It would not AUTORUN. Duh. And double-clicking AUTORUN only opend the file in NotePad. Double duh. So, to get it to install, I double-clicked VBoxWindowAdditions-amd64. It took a while to launch.

What's the mess here? Somewhere along the way, I either naively got rid of the outside VB window around my launched Windows guest VM or VM just sucks. I googled heavily, found others complaining also and no one offered a solution except to repeat "install guest additions by pressing HOST + D". One respondant even said, " the documentation. I can't improve on it." I was never able to get the VirtualBox window (parent) of my Windows 7 guest VM back which would have made installing guest additions easier.

Shared-folder joy

As soon as I got the guest additions installed on Windows, however, I immediately saw what I was looking for: a working, shared-folder relationship with my Lucid host. The first illustration is the VM settings for my Windows guest showing where I thought I'd be sharing a mount point. The second is what I see in Windows File Explorer, i.e.: an ISO I had intended to share (for purposes unrelated to this discussion). The third shows you where this is on my Lucid host.

Supplementary notes

I tried installing Ubuntu Precise Server on Linux Mint 13 under VirtualBox. A sore problem with getting help on this topic is understanding when respondees are talking about something to do or happening on the guest OS as compared to the OS hosting VirtualBox.

This went well, but I could not:

  1. Install Guest Additions.
  2. Use Ctrl key on guest.

. Install Guest Additions.

Per, I did this:

  1. apt-get install dkms build-essential linux-headers-generic
  2. thinking that this would allow the (Guest window) Devices -> Install Guest Additions... to work. It did not.

Ultimately, I was able to install the Guest Additions, but I did not note how. As I remember, I used Aptitude.

The best way to avoid trouble is not to jack with any of the settings, but just dismiss the alerts each time you start up.