The purpose of this tutorial is to demonstrate how to set up a Windows 10 Virtual Machine (VM) using the Oracle VirtualBox software.
A Virtual Machine (VM) – a fully running copy of an operating system that runs concurrently (at the same time) with the host operating system. The VM uses a portion of the host computer’s RAM, a part of the hard disk and some of its CPU time.
VM’s are helpful for a number of reasons:
- Software available for only one operating system can run within another OS. An example of this running Microsoft Access on a Mac.
- New operating systems and software can tested without changing anything on the original computer.
- Software development across operating systems can be accomplished without having to reboot the computer.
VM’s are easy to work with since the host operating system does not need to shut down in order to run a VM. VM’s can started and stopped any time and multiple VMs can run at the same time. We can also make copies (Clone) VM’s, save their state and share VM’s with others.
The two main concepts to understand before getting started are:
- Host Operating System – The host operating system means the main operating system used to boot up the computer.
- Guest Operating System – The guest operating system means the OS that the Virtual Machine will run.
For example, in this tutorial, Windows 7 will the host operating system and Windows 10 will the guest operating system. It’s possible to have several different virtual machines running different guest operating systems under a sinlge host operating system.
Pre-Requisites For VirtualBox
This tutorial assumes you have an Intel CPU based PC or server running Windows or Mac OS X. Many of the instructions provided will also apply to Linux users as well. This tutorial written using a Windows 7 PC as the host operating system.
Your PC or server should have at least 8GB of RAM and at least 100 GB of free disk space. Ideally, 16 GB RAM (or more) and 200GB (or more) of disk space would be better.
The VM will require a licensed copy of an operating system. For example if the VM will use Windows 10, then a licensed copy of Windows 10 must be on hand and ready to install into the VM. This includes the product registration number. In most cases, the operating system installation media will either be on a DVD disc, a USB drive or in a single ISO file. This tutorial uses a Windows 10 Professional (64 bit) image in a single ISO file.
- Install VirtualBox according to your regular operating system method for installing new programs.
- For Microsoft Windows host OS, double-click on the VirtualBox-5.1.12-112440-Win.exe installation program downloaded from the VirtualBox web site. Follow the typical prompts to install VirtualBox.
- Additional Windows installation notes can be found here
- For Apple Mac OS X, double-click on the VirtualBox-5.1.12-112440-OSX.dmg file to mount it. Then double-click on the VirtualBox.mpkg package installer file to launch the installer.
- Additional Mac OS X installation notes can be found here.
Note that VirtualBox will need to hook in to your host computer’s device drivers for Keyboard, mouse, USB and other devices. You may need to reboot your computer to complete the VirtualBox installation.