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VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware. Intel or AMD.

👍🏾 A Software Santa Pick!

This Won't work on Macintosh PPC Systems. This requires a AMD or Intel processor. But you can run other Applications or Programs from other Operating Systems (OS) simultaneously with your Usual OS and Apps!

Welcome to Oracle VM VirtualBox.

Oracle VM VirtualBox is a cross-platform virtualization application. What does that mean? For one thing, it installs on your existing Intel or AMD-based computers, whether they are running Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, or Oracle Solaris operating systems (OSes). Secondly, it extends the capabilities of your existing computer so that it can run multiple OSes, inside multiple virtual machines, at the same time. As an example, you can run Windows and Linux on your Mac, run Windows Server 2016 on your Linux server, run Linux on your Windows PC, and so on, all alongside your existing applications. You can install and run as many virtual machines as you like. The only practical limits are disk space and memory.

Oracle VM VirtualBox is deceptively simple yet also very powerful. It can run everywhere from small embedded systems or desktop class machines all the way up to datacenter deployments and even Cloud environments.

Why is Virtualization Useful?

The techniques and features that Oracle VM VirtualBox provides are useful in the following scenarios:

    Running multiple operating systems simultaneously. Oracle VM VirtualBox enables you to run more than one OS at a time. This way, you can run software written for one OS on another, such as Windows software on Linux or a Mac, without having to reboot to use it. Since you can configure what kinds of virtual hardware should be presented to each such OS, you can install an old OS such as DOS or OS/2 even if your real computer's hardware is no longer supported by that OS.

    Easier software installations. Software vendors can use virtual machines to ship entire software configurations. For example, installing a complete mail server solution on a real machine can be a tedious task. With Oracle VM VirtualBox, such a complex setup, often called an appliance, can be packed into a virtual machine. Installing and running a mail server becomes as easy as importing such an appliance into Oracle VM VirtualBox.

    Testing and disaster recovery. Once installed, a virtual machine and its virtual hard disks can be considered a container that can be arbitrarily frozen, woken up, copied, backed up, and transported between hosts.

    On top of that, with the use of another Oracle VM VirtualBox feature called snapshots, one can save a particular state of a virtual machine and revert back to that state, if necessary. This way, one can freely experiment with a computing environment. If something goes wrong, such as prolems after installing software or infecting the guest with a virus, you can easily switch back to a previous snapshot and avoid the need of frequent backups and restores.

    Any number of snapshots can be created, allowing you to travel back and forward in virtual machine time. You can delete snapshots while a VM is running to reclaim disk space.

    Infrastructure consolidation. Virtualization can significantly reduce hardware and electricity costs. Most of the time, computers today only use a fraction of their potential power and run with low average system loads. A lot of hardware resources as well as electricity is thereby wasted. So, instead of running many such physical computers that are only partially used, one can pack many virtual machines onto a few powerful hosts and balance the loads between them.

Features Overview

The following is a brief outline of Oracle VM VirtualBox's main features:

    Portability. Oracle VM VirtualBox runs on a large number of 32-bit and 64-bit host OS. See Section 1.4, “Supported Host Operating Systems”.

    Oracle VM VirtualBox is a so-called hosted hypervisor, sometimes referred to as a type 2 hypervisor. Whereas a bare-metal or type 1 hypervisor would run directly on the hardware, Oracle VM VirtualBox requires an existing OS to be installed. It can thus run alongside existing applications on that host.

    To a very large degree, Oracle VM VirtualBox is functionally identical on all of the host platforms, and the same file and image formats are used. This enables you to run virtual machines created on one host on another host with a different host OS. For example, you can create a virtual machine on Windows and then run it under Linux.

    In addition, virtual machines can easily be imported and exported using the Open Virtualization Format (OVF), an industry standard created for this purpose. You can even import OVFs that were created with a different virtualization software. See Section 1.15, “Importing and Exporting Virtual Machines”.

    No hardware virtualization required. For many scenarios, Oracle VM VirtualBox does not require the processor features built into newer hardware like Intel VT-x or AMD-V. As opposed to many other virtualization solutions, you can therefore use Oracle VM VirtualBox even on older hardware where these features are not present. See Section 10.3, “Hardware vs. Software Virtualization”.

    Guest Additions: shared folders, seamless windows, 3D virtualization. The Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions are software packages which can be installed inside of supported guest systems to improve their performance and to provide additional integration and communication with the host system. After installing the Guest Additions, a virtual machine will support automatic adjustment of video resolutions, seamless windows, accelerated 3D graphics and more. See Chapter 4, Guest Additions.

    In particular, Guest Additions provide for "shared folders", which let you access files from the host system from within a guest machine. See Section 4.3, “Shared Folders”.

    Great hardware support. Among others, Oracle VM VirtualBox supports the following:

        Guest multiprocessing (SMP). Oracle VM VirtualBox can present up to 32 virtual CPUs to each virtual machine, irrespective of how many CPU cores are physically present on your host.

        USB device support. Oracle VM VirtualBox implements a virtual USB controller and enables you to connect arbitrary USB devices to your virtual machines without having to install device-specific drivers on the host. USB support is not limited to certain device categories. See Section 3.11.1, “USB Settings”.

        Hardware compatibility. Oracle VM VirtualBox virtualizes a vast array of virtual devices, among them many devices that are typically provided by other virtualization platforms. That includes IDE, SCSI and SATA hard disk controllers, several virtual network cards and sound cards, virtual serial and parallel ports and an Input/Output Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller (I/O APIC), which is found in many modern PC systems. This eases cloning of PC images from real machines and importing of third-party virtual machines into Oracle VM VirtualBox.

        Full ACPI support. The Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) is fully supported by Oracle VM VirtualBox. This eases cloning of PC images from real machines or third-party virtual machines into Oracle VM VirtualBox. With its unique ACPI power status support, Oracle VM VirtualBox can even report to ACPI-aware guest OSes the power status of the host. For mobile systems running on battery, the guest can thus enable energy saving and notify the user of the remaining power, for example in full screen modes.

        Multiscreen resolutions. Oracle VM VirtualBox virtual machines support screen resolutions many times that of a physical screen, allowing them to be spread over a large number of screens attached to the host system.

        Built-in iSCSI support. This unique feature enables you to connect a virtual machine directly to an iSCSI storage server without going through the host system. The VM accesses the iSCSI target directly without the extra overhead that is required for virtualizing hard disks in container files. See Section 5.10, “iSCSI Servers”.

        PXE Network boot. The integrated virtual network cards of Oracle VM VirtualBox fully support remote booting using the Preboot Execution Environment (PXE).

    Multigeneration branched snapshots. Oracle VM VirtualBox can save arbitrary snapshots of the state of the virtual machine. You can go back in time and revert the virtual machine to any such snapshot and start an alternative VM configuration from there, effectively creating a whole snapshot tree. See Section 1.11, “Snapshots”. You can create and delete snapshots while the virtual machine is running.

    VM groups. Oracle VM VirtualBox provides a groups feature that enables the user to organize and control virtual machines collectively, as well as individually. In addition to basic groups, it is also possible for any VM to be in more than one group, and for groups to be nested in a hierarchy. This means you can have groups of groups. In general, the operations that can be performed on groups are the same as those that can be applied to individual VMs: Start, Pause, Reset, Close (Save state, Send Shutdown, Poweroff), Discard Saved State, Show in File System, Sort.

    Clean architecture and unprecedented modularity. Oracle VM VirtualBox has an extremely modular design with well-defined internal programming interfaces and a clean separation of client and server code. This makes it easy to control it from several interfaces at once. For example, you can start a VM simply by clicking on a button in the Oracle VM VirtualBox graphical user interface and then control that machine from the command line, or even remotely. See Section 1.17, “Alternative Front-Ends”.

    Due to its modular architecture, Oracle VM VirtualBox can also expose its full functionality and configurability through a comprehensive software development kit (SDK), which enables integration of Oracle VM VirtualBox with other software systems. See Chapter 11, Oracle VM VirtualBox Programming Interfaces.

    Remote machine display. The VirtualBox Remote Desktop Extension (VRDE) enables high-performance remote access to any running virtual machine. This extension supports the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) originally built into Microsoft Windows, with special additions for full client USB support.

    The VRDE does not rely on the RDP server that is built into Microsoft Windows. Instead, the VRDE is plugged directly into the virtualization layer. As a result, it works with guest OSes other than Windows, even in text mode, and does not require application support in the virtual machine either. The VRDE is described in detail in Section 7.1, “Remote Display (VRDP Support)”.

    On top of this special capacity, Oracle VM VirtualBox offers you more unique features:

        Extensible RDP authentication. Oracle VM VirtualBox already supports Winlogon on Windows and PAM on Linux for RDP authentication. In addition, it includes an easy-to-use SDK which enables you to create arbitrary interfaces for other methods of authentication. See Section 7.1.5, “RDP Authentication”.

        USB over RDP. Using RDP virtual channel support, Oracle VM VirtualBox also enables you to connect arbitrary USB devices locally to a virtual machine which is running remotely on a Oracle VM VirtualBox RDP server. See Section 7.1.4, “Remote USB”.

Supported Host Operating Systems

Currently, Oracle VM VirtualBox runs on the following host OSes:

    Windows hosts (64-bit):

        Windows 7

        Windows 8

        Windows 8.1

        Windows 10 RTM (1507) build 10240

        Windows 10 November Update (1511) build 10586

        Windows 10 Anniversary Update (1607) build 14393

        Windows 10 Creators Update (1703) build 15063

        Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (1709) build 16299

        Windows 10 April 2018 Update (1803) build 17134

        Windows 10 October 2018 Update (1809) build 17763

        Windows Server 2008 R2

        Windows Server 2012

        Windows Server 2012 R2

        Windows Server 2016

        Windows Server 2019

    Mac OS X hosts (64-bit):

        10.12 (Sierra)

        10.13 (High Sierra)

        10.14 (Mojave)

    Intel hardware is required. See also Chapter 14, Known Limitations.

    Linux hosts (64-bit). Includes the following:

        Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, 18.04 LTS and 18.10

        Debian GNU/Linux 9 ("Stretch")

        Oracle Linux 6 and 7

        Redhat Enterprise Linux 6 and 7

        Fedora 28 and 29

        Gentoo Linux

        SUSE Linux Enterprise server 12 and 15

        openSUSE Leap 42.3 and 15.0

    It should be possible to use Oracle VM VirtualBox on most systems based on Linux kernel 2.6 or 3.x using either the Oracle VM VirtualBox installer or by doing a manual installation. See Section 2.3, “Installing on Linux Hosts”. However, the formally tested and supported Linux distributions are those for which we offer a dedicated package.

    Note that Linux 2.4-based host OSes are no longer supported.

    Oracle Solaris hosts (64-bit only). The following versions are supported with the restrictions listed in Chapter 14, Known Limitations:

        Oracle Solaris 11

Note that the above list is informal. Oracle support for customers who have a support contract is limited to a subset of the listed host OSes. Also, any feature which is marked as experimental is not supported. Feedback and suggestions about such features are welcome.

Host CPU Requirements
SSE2 is required, starting with Oracle VM VirtualBox version 5.2.10 and version 5.1.24.

Emulate Windows, or FreeDOS, or Linux - on a Mac!
« Last Edit: May 28, 2019, 04:37:01 PM by Software Santa »


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