VirtualBox is a free, enterprise-ready virtualisation software for Windows users. Developed by the Oracle Corporation, the tool lets users run different operating systems on their computers. It’s a feature-rich product and is one of the only professional virtualisation tools available as open-source software. It’s updated regularly by its community of users, and Oracle ensures that the released product meets professional standards. VirtualBox is quite popular and also available for download on devices running macOS.
Increase agility and reduce hardware costs
Nowadays, virtual machines are becoming an integral part of businesses as well as cloud computing solutions. With VirtualBox, users can harness the power of virtualisation from their home computers. With VirtualBox, you can create a representation of an operating system that significantly reduces hardware costs while boosting agility and efficiency.
What is VirtualBox used for?
When you download VirtualBox for Windows, you can easily run Mac and Linux operating systems on your native Windows device. Additionally, you can use the tool to run applications you would otherwise not have access to. It also offers all the features that make virtualisation attractive.
Users can run an old operating system like Windows 8 on their Windows 10 device, or test an OS before installing it fully. They can even use the full performance of their desktops by packing multiple virtual machines onto a few hosts while saving up on a lot of hardware cost. Owing to the snapshot feature, users can easily switch to an old snapshot, thereby avoiding frequent backups whenever something goes wrong.
Easy to install for tech-savvy users
Installing VirtualBox and another operating system is quite easy if you’re technologically savvy. In case you’re inexperienced, you may have to go through the manual provided by Oracle. The installation only takes about 5 minutes on a computer with 2GB RAM. You can choose to either install the software or add support for USB as well as different types of networking, including host-only, bridge, and conventional. Once installed, the software offers a great user experience so you can run different operating systems and applications from your native PC environment.
Simple and easy-to-use interface
VirtualBox has a clean interface with three primary menus, which include Machine, File, and Help. You can use the Machine option to create your first guest operating system. Adding a virtual machine is as easy as pressing CTRL and N together. Once you do that, a module pops up and asks you to choose the type of operating system you want to load as well as its unique name. The latest version of the software allows you to scale the display, so you can reduce the size of the window and still make out everything.
The File option gives users access to the media manager, preference module, as well as import and export features. With VirtualBox, you can reduce or limit the CPU and IO time of any virtual machine that you’re running. By setting a limit, you can ensure that the virtual OS doesn’t drain your system resources. Apart from this, the software also offers various tools to fix bugs and increase the performance of your virtual machines.
Multiple customisation options
VirtualBox supports numerous operating systems including Linux, macOS, and Oracle Solaris hosts. It provides users with the option to create a multi-platform or collated server, useful for testing and development. You can even use different customisation options to personalise the user interface of the guest OS.
Integration may take a while
One of the biggest challenges of running the free version of VirtualBox is creating a guest operating system. Users don’t have the option to automate certain features and have to go at it manually. The process also requires patience on the part of the users. For instance, if you wanted to install Windows 10 or even Windows 7 using VirtualBox, adding the final touches would take time.
Fortunately, the software offers different guided modes, so users have some help when they need it. VirtualBox doesn’t offer a deep integration option, which is quite an advantage if you’re concerned about privacy. This means that if a virtual machine is vulnerable to a virus attack, the host system isn't compromised. While paid software offers much better integration between the host and guest OS, VirtualBox offers all the necessary tools needed for virtualisation.
Offers exhaustive documentation
VirtualBox is an open-source software, which means that it has a vast online community. Typical to all such software programs, these communities create a wide range of information and help. Users of the software get easy access to technical documents, changelog, operation manuals, FAQs, and more. There also exists a Bug Tracker page, where users can report bugs and track any status updates. Apart from an array of information, Oracle also offers live chat, so users can easily connect with a representative for any questions.
Is VirtualBox free?
Formerly known as Sun VirtualBox, the base package of the virtualisation tool is free to download and use. It is licensed under the GNU General Public License and is available as open-source software. While the base pack is free, Oracle also provides an extension pack with added features. Since it falls under the Personal Use and Evaluation License, corporate users need to purchase a commercial license from Oracle.
Is VirtualBox secure?
VirtualBox is completely safe to download and use. The software offers added security in terms of protection from malware. A key advantage of using VirtualBox is that it is quite secure. Malware doesn’t function properly in a virtualised environment. A virus usually shuts down the moment it detects a virtual environment. By using VirtualBox, you can protect your hard drive from viruses, test new operating systems, and run applications that are incompatible with your existing OS.
VirtualBox has some alternatives
While VirtualBox is one of the most prominent open-source virtualisation software, it does have some competitors. If you’re looking for other virtualisation tools, you can check out VMware Workstation Pro, Virtual PC, and VMware Workstation Player.
Which is better - VMware or VirtualBox?
Unless you’re looking for a virtualisation software for enterprise work, you should go with VirtualBox. Though VMware offers better drag-and-drop functions between guest and host as well as a better interface, it is limited in the snapshot feature. VirtualBox, on the other hand, offers unlimited snapshots - a feature that is only available in the premium version of VMware.
Should I download VirtualBox?
If you’re looking to run applications that aren’t compatible with your system or want to test other operating systems, you should download VirtualBox. It’s a free, open-source solution that comes with all the features of enterprise-ready programs. While it may take time during the primary integration, it does run well after the process is complete.
Once a guest operating system is installed, you can easily access and work on it without any hassle. It also comes with an easy-to-use interface that even novice users can command after they’ve gone through the user manual. Moreover, since the tool is open-source and monitored by Oracle, users have access to a wide range of documentation and help.