One of the features that make desktop virtualization packages attractive is the ability to move files from the host to the guest virtual machine without the use of a network. Sun xVM VirtualBox has this functionality, so let’s go through it for use on Windows systems.
Enabling shared folders is fairly straight forward within VirtualBox, but must be configured when the virtual machine (VM) is turned off. In the properties of the VM, the share is configured as shown in the figure below:
Once the VM is powered on with this configuration, it can now access this shared folder. For Windows clients, the shared folder will be visible in My Network Places as shown in the figure below:
The security permissions are available as read-only or full control for the share, and multiple shares can be made available to a VM. The shared folder is presented to the VM as a server name of VBOXSVR, so be sure not to use that name on your network. The VBOXSVR name does not resolve to an IP address but is provided to the VM by the installation of Guest Additions. You can also script out the use of a shared folder with the VBoxManage command as shown below:
VBoxManage sharedfolder add "XP-RedPill" -name "zzVirtualMachineShared" -hostpath "C:\zzVirtualMachineShared"
Using the scripted option can be helpful in assigning a single shared folder to multiple VMs on the same VirtualBox installation. VirtualBox allows a shared folder to be created as a transient share, which is removed when the VM is powered off. This option is either configured in the interface or denoted by using the ‘-transient’ option in the VBoxManage command.
Sun xVM VirtualBox 1.6.2 is freely available for download from the Sun website.