Can Virtualbox work without a host operating system

Virtualbox: Tips for Optimizing the VM

Thomas Joos

Oracle Virtualbox is a popular and well-equipped virtualization environment. Use the following tricks to get the most out of the tool.

EnlargeVirtualbox offers some innovations in version 6.x.

Virtualbox asserts itself despite great competition from the VMware Player and Microsoft Hyper-V, which are also offered free of charge. This is due to a number of functions for advanced users and the good overall equipment.

Highlights of the article:

This is new in Virtualbox 6.x

The new version 6.x of the free virtualization software Virtualbox offers some innovations, especially in the area of ​​the graphical user interface. The resolutions can be scaled and customized better within the VMs. The graphics for Windows virtual computers have been improved so that 3D functions can also be used. One of the improvements in Linux virtual machines is a VMSVGA-3D adapter.

With the new file manager, you can exchange data between VMs and the host system much more easily. The tool also works with the Mac version. In macOS, the host operating system can mount and access the VM data directly. If you operate VMs in a professional environment, you can also use the new version to import them into the Oracle Cloud without making any changes.

EnlargeWith the revised graphical user interface, VMs should be easier to create and manage.

Another improvement since version 5.x is the support for drag & drop in all guest operating systems. For example, you can now drag a file from the Linux desktop or file manager to the guest system's desktop and vice versa. To do this, the guest extensions must be activated. In order for this to work, activate the option "bidirectional" in the settings of a VM under "General -> Advanced" for "Drag‘nropDrop".

EnlargeActivate Drag`n Drop in Virtualbox

Virtualbox also offers para-virtualization. The kernel of the guest system accesses the hardware resources via an abstract management layer, which can lead to an improvement in speed. The kernel must be specially adapted for this, but this is the case with current Linux and Windows systems by default.

Virtualbox automatically uses para-virtualization for new virtual PCs. If the installation is from a previous version, you can either select “Pre-set” for automatic mode in the settings under “System -> Acceleration”, or set “Hyper-V” for Windows systems and “KVM” for Linux.

EnlargeConfiguring the acceleration in Virtualbox 6

Virtualize individual applications - this is how it works

A function ensures more security that virtual hard disks can be encrypted with AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) 128 bit or 256 bit. The start of a virtual machine is then only possible after a password request.

To use the function, check the box in front of “Activate hard disk encryption” in the Virtualbox settings under “General -> Hard disk encryption” and assign a secure password.

EnlargeEnable full disk encryption

Two new start modes are intended for servers, which you can call up using the arrow next to the “Start” button.

"Start without GUI" mode runs the virtual machine in the background. You establish a connection via an RDP client (Remote Desktop Protocol).

“Detachable start” works in a similar way. This can be used to start the virtual PC in the window, which you can then close without exiting the virtual machine. You can set up and start VMs on a server completely without a graphical user interface using the command line tool Vboxmanage.

EnlargeStart the virtual server

With the arrow keys you can easily change the boot order of your virtual machine in Virtualbox and assign more memory to the guest system.

EnlargeThis is how you allocate more memory to the guest system

Change the settings of the VM in Virtualbox

Select a virtual PC in the Virtualbox control panel on the left and click on "Change". In the following dialog you land in the "General" area. Under "Advanced" you enable the shared clipboard and drag & drop between the host and guest PC. You can then, for example, select a file in Windows Explorer on the host computer and drag it with the mouse onto the desktop of the virtual computer.