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» VIEW ALL POSTS Jul 9 2008   10:31AM GMT

Guest Additions installation makes the grade with VirtualBox



Posted by: Rick Vanover
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Rick Vanover
Sun xVM
Video
VirtualBox
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The Sun xVM VirtualBox Guest Additions host and guest driver integration suite optimizes the guest experience in a way similar to the VMware Tools installation. The virtualization suite installs within the guest operating system with a small footprint on most of the supported platforms within VirtualBox. Let’s take a quick look at how the Guest Additions installation considerations on a Windows guest system within VirtualBox.

The Guest Additions installation is launched via the virtual machine (VM) console from the devices menu. During this task, one of the VM’s optical drives will be directed to use the Guest Additions .ISO image kept locally. The install is vary straightforward, and the native drivers are updated with the optimized drivers for the video, fixed disk, audio, optical drive and other system components. The networking drivers will likely remain unchanged after installing the Guest Additions package within the VM. Among the unique features of VirtualBox compared to other products is the option to choose among four device types presented to the VM. The Intel Pro and AMD PCnet device options will have different compatibilities with various guest operating systems. Check out last week’s SearchServerVirtualization blog entry about related networking topics on VirtualBox.

Once Guest Additions is installed, the experience is markedly improved on the guest VM. The easy way to see if it is running is to look in the Windows system tray as shown in the figure below:

Seeing Guest Additions version

Note that hovering over the tray icon also gives you the version running on the guest operating system. That is a nice feature if you are using VMs created in VirtualBox 1.6.0 or another mixed environment. If you want to retrieve the current version of Guest Additions in a scripted fashion, the following command would be run:

VBoxControl getversion

This command is located by default in the Program Files\Sun\xVM VirtualBox Guest Additions path. VirtualBox commands are generally the same across platforms, so the same command on a Linux host would retrieve the version running locally.

Guest Additions is available on Windows NT, 2000, Server 2003, Vista and XP. Windows Server 2008 functions correctly in my experience, though it is not explicitly listed as a supported platform in the VirtualBox documentation. It is also is available for Linux and Solaris platorms.

Guest Additions is included with the VirtualBox 1.6.2 product and is available for download from the Sun website.

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