James Bannan25 December 2008, 12:00 PM
Page 4 - Step 5 - Install Guest Additions
How to run Windows XP inside Mac OS X free of charge, without paying for Parallels or VMware. Our step-by-step tutorial has all the answers!
Most virtualization solutions offer a software package which can be installed on guest machines which provides better access to the host hardware and other resources like shared folders, clipboard, file copying and so on.
Once the Windows XP VM has been installed and has rebooted, skip through the welcome animation, the internet connectivity test, type in username and log into the desktop. Then, press the host key to release the cursor, then select the Devices menu and then "Install Guest Additions". This mounts the additions image into the VM.
The additions media will autorun and launch the setup procedure. Click Next, the accept the License Agreement and click Next again. Accept the default install location and click Install.
Setup will continue, and the package will install a number of drivers which offer better integration with the host's resources and improved guest performance. These drivers are not signed by Microsoft, so you'll get a warning popup message during installation. Click "Continue Anyway" on all the popups, then reboot to complete the install.
When the system restarts you'll be able to move the cursor between guest and host without having to use the host key, and there will be an icon in the system tray indicating that the additions are active. Installing the additions also gives you extra functionality between guest and host, which we'll look at in the next step.
By default, and presumably to maximise compatibility during installation, there are a number of guest options which are disabled but which you'll probably find it useful to enable once the system is operational. To access these options, highlight the VM in VirtualBox and then click on "General" in the right-hand window.
Under General there are two particular tabs of interest - Basic and Advanced. Under Basic you can adjust both the system and graphics memory. The graphics memory is expandable up to the available system graphics memory,a nd you can also toggle on or off support for 3D acceleration for the guest VM.
Under Advanced you can add or remove options from the boot order and adjust the order itself. You can also enable support for CPU virtualization which will improve system performance.
You can also enable Audio support, add more network adaptors, connect to the host system's serial and USB ports, share folder between the host filesystem and the guest, and enable remote desktop access to the guest via VirtualBox's RDP server.
If you're familiar with other virtualization packages, then VirtualBox will be very intuitive. If not, spent some time playing with the other options, such as system snapshots to save a virtual guest at a point in time (very useful for writing tutorials!), moving into and out of fullscreen by using the host+F key combo.
Also, check out our other tutorials for virtualizing on different platforms.