Upgrading VirtualBox 3.1 -> 3.2 on Ubuntu 10.04

Posted: July 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Ubuntu, Virtual Box | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Assume: you have VirtualBox (OSE / non OSE) 3.1 installed. You also have sudo rights.
Note: OSE version doesn’t have RDP support, non OSE has RDP support.
VirtualBox files are usually stored in: /home/username/.VirtualBox/ directory with HardDisks and Machines sub directories. (A backup is always a good idea before an upgrade!)

    Upgrade Steps:

  1. Shut down your existing VMs. I find if you are using VBoxHeadless, the process might not end after the VM has been shutdown.
  2. Quit VirtualBox GUI (if running); kill all VBoxHeadless processes.
  3. Use dpkg -remove packagename or Synaptic Package Manager to remove your exisiting installation. (Synaptic is probably easiest since you don’t need to look up the package name). Even if you remove the package your existing VMs will still be around, but it never hurt to do a backup before hand!
  4. Locate your VirtualBox 3.2 .deb package.
  5. Install via dpkg -i debfilelocation
  6. VirtualBox Guest Additions are located in /usr/share/virtualbox. You have to manually mount the Additions in the virtual machines. I find it the quickest to edit the setting via the VirtualBox GUI
  7. Restart VirtualBox, and run the Guest Addition updates.
  8. Stop the VMs and launch them via VBoxHeadless if so desired.

Configuring VirtualBox for useful Windows Guests.

Posted: May 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Virtual Box | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

I find VirtualBox 3.1 is quite mature and usable for everyday. Granted, I only use my Windows sessions via RDP and all of them are in 2D applications. VirtualBox has graphics acceleration, build in RDP viewer (even for pre XP computers). The only thing that is really missing is the clone functionality, but hey it is free and I am sure someone is working on it!

Here are a few tips to make things more useful (especially for people who are remote accessing the Guest OSes).

  1. Set default GUI resolution of Guest OS to any:
    This way you can RDP into the virtual machine at any resolution you like.
    Run the follow command in Terminal:

    VBoxManage setextradata global GUI/MaxGuestResolution any
  2. You only need to enable RDP on pre XP Windows or non Windows Guest:
    Remember the IP address you have to RDP into is the host machine (in my case the Ubuntu machine). Also each VM Guest has to have a unique Server Port.
  3. If you want GuestOS to be accessible on the network remember to set it to bridged mode.
  4. If you feel the Windows GuestOS network performance is too slow.
    Try the virtio drivers.
    However chances are you might need to reactivate the Windows Genuine Advantage, if you are changing it once the GuestOS has been setup. YMMV.
  5. Get to know the VBoxHeadless command.
    Typically it is

    VBoxHeadless -startvm "machinename"

    Note: VRDP is enabled by default, so for post XP machines you would want to add –vrdp off

Remote Display Settings for VirtualBox 3.1.8

Remote Display Settings for VirtualBox 3.1.8

Paravirtualised Virtio network driver settings for Virtualbox

Paravirtualised Virtio network driver settings for Virtualbox

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Nvidia restricted driver VNC issues

Posted: May 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Ubuntu | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

I run a few machines in my house. I like machines to perform one and only one task. eg I have a machine that does all my communications (email, IM etc), one runs simplicity (a Tivo indexing program) and another that runs utorrent. They are all Windows boxes because I do believe of all things Microsoft might have screwed up, they make a superior remote access protocol (RDP). Recently my email machine decide to throw a few bad sectors (it barfed while backing up a 6GB SENT file), so I decided to task a spare Core2 machine to run Ubuntu 10.4 and consolidate my machines into virtual machines managed by Virtual Box.

Everything installed smoothly until I decide to activate the Nvidia restricted drivers AND VNC into the machine. The keyboard and mouse stopped responding via VNC (it worked via local console). It works fine with the Ubuntu’s OSE drivers (jockey). (However the OSE drivers are restricted to 1024×768 on the monitor, not to mention the lack of acceleration etc). I decide to live with that solution because most of the time I remote terminal in anyways.