[How To] Use and Install Windows XP In VirtualBox
5-6-09: Initial update.
5-7-09: Added pictures, and additional formatting to the article.
Did you know that you can run a virtual machine, such that you can run say Windows XP inside of Windows XP? Not ready to install Linux on a separate partition and go dual boot? No problem! Install it in VirtualBox!
VirtualBox is an open source, and freeware application that lets the user to do virtual machines easily and painlessly. This is great if you are a developer and want to develop programs for other operating systems, or perhaps testing a program you are not willing to install on your main HOST operating system.
Since the virtual machine is independent of the HOST operating system, you will be able to transport the virtual machine easily from one PC to the next thanks to the portable hard drive system.
First of all, you need to download VirtualBox. You can get it from their website at www.virtualbox.org
Once you have downloaded the appropriate version for Windows, you can install it, as shown in the following screenshots below:
Click next, and you will get to the screen as shown below:
Make sure to have both VirtualBox USB Support enabled as well as the VirtualBox Networking so you can use the usb and networking within your virtual machine.
Continue with the installation, and after the program is fully installed, you will see the screenshot shown above. Here you can type in your name and your email for registration. If you do not want to put in your email, then you can always put in a disposable email such as firstname.lastname@example.org
Fill in the registration details and press Confirm. Now click on the “New” button at the top and click next until you see the screenshot below.
This is where the fun begins. Give your virtual machine a name, and then tell VirtualBox what type of Operating System you are planning to install, as well as what particular model. Here you can do Linux, Windows, Mac OSX, as well as other operating systems. For this example, I will be doing a test XP installation.
Here at this screen you can specify how much RAM you want to dedicate to your virtual machine. Don’t worry, you can always change the RAM settings later on. Click next, soon we will need to specify how you want to do the hard drive.
At this screen, you can specify if you are creating a new hard drive, or you want to use an existing hard drive image that you made previously. If you are a new user, click “Create a new hard disk”.
When you click Next, you will see this screen. For my virtual machines, I always use fixed-size storage. This will save you time later on because you will have a fixed size, and the performance will be so much better than a dynamically expanding storage size. If you have a small partition, then you may want to consider a dynamically expanding storage so you only need to use space as necessary.
Here specify how large you want your virtual hard drive to be. For me, I am going to select 2 GB. Click next and follow the rest of the wizard to finish making your virtual hard drive for your virtual operating system.
After you have created your first virtual machine, it will show up in the left hand pane window as shown above. If you click on settings, you can configure additional details for your virtual machine, such as boot loader sequence, RAM allocation, USB devices, shared folders, etc.
Here is one example of the settings. For the video memory size, I like to max it out at 128MB and enable 3d acceleration for full graphical performance. No, you won’t be able to play hardcore 3D games in your virtual machine, but it does give your virtual machine a boost in some graphical intensive applications.
In this screenshot, I advise you to mount the host CD/DVD drive so you can boot your operating system DVD. Make sure to enable passthrough. If you have an .ISO file instead, then mount it. It will be faster to install the operating system from the hard drive rather than from the optical media.
Click OK once you are done with all your settings. Insert your operating system install disc, and click the green arrow “Start”. If done right, the VirtualBox will load your disc and you can go through the wizard for your respective operating system and install it!
I’ve included a video as well for those who want an audio and visual experience on how to configure the VirtualBox. Also, I have also included a recording of me installing Windows XP within the VirtualBox, and I have sped up the video by 999%. What is a 15 minute install is roughly 3 minutes in the video. ;0 Enjoy!