How to share files with a Virtualbox Operating System

For those of you who recently installed Windows 7 in virtual box or any other operating system, you’ve been able to see that none of the computer files on the host system can be accessed from the virtual machine by default except when setup.

I thought it would be helpful to show you how to share files with a VirtualBox Operating System.
After installing an operating system in VirtualBox, the new operating system is practically independent therefore from this new operating system, you can’t access any other part of the computer apart from the allocated hard disk space.

This may hinder many of your operations for example sometimes you may want to access files within the virtual machine or perhaps edit a document.

How to share files with a Virtualbox Operating System

First, from the virtual machine, navigate to the tab menu and click on Devices > Insert Guest Additions CD image …

Insert Guest Additions CD image

A new disk will be inserted. When prompted by Autoplay, click on Run VBoxWindowsAdditions.exe and complete the installation steps.
If not prompted by Autoplay, Locate the Guest Additions CD image from file explorer and run it.

Run Guest Additions CD image

Reboot the machine after installation and continue with the steps.

There are various ways of sharing files with a VirtualBox Operating System which include;

  • Shared folders
  • Shared clipboard
  • Drag and drop

How to share files with a VirtualBox Operating System using Shared folders

Open the virtual machine in VirtualBox with which you want to share files.

In the top menu, Click on Devices > Shared folders > Shared folder settings

Open shared folder settings

click on the Add folder icon then under folder path, click other and navigate to the folder location.

After adding a folder, check the boxes; Auto-mount and Make permanent and click OK.

Add shared folders to share files

At this point, the chosen folder will be displayed under the list of shared folders.
Reboot the machine to apply new settings. After rebooting, a new drive partition containing the shared folder will be shown in the file explorer and can be accessed anytime

How to share files with a VirtualBox Operating System using a Shared clipboard

A clipboard is a temporary memory location where files copied or cut from some location are kept as they wait to be pasted in another location.

To change clipboard settings, click on Devices at the top menu and then Shared clipboard
The Shared clipboard has four settings

  1. Disabled When this option is selected, the clipboard is not shared in any way.
  2. Host to Guest When this option is selected, files stored on the clipboard by the primary Operating system (the main operating system) can be pasted into the virtual machine but not the reverse.
  3. Guest to Host this is the vice versa of “Host to Guest“. Files stored on the clipboard of the virtual machine can be pasted into the primary operating system but not the reverse.
  4. Bidirectional When this option is selected, the clipboard is completely shared between the two operating systems. Files can be copied from any of the operating systems and then pasted into the other.How to share files with a VirtualBox Operating System using a Shared clipboard
READ ALSO:  How to install windows 7 in VirtualBox on windows 10 (with screenshots)

How to share files with a VirtualBox Operating System using Drag and Drop

Drag and Drop is a mechanism of moving a file from one location of the screen to another by holding down the mouse left button.

The Drag and Drop settings can be accessed by clicking Devices on the top menu then Drag and Drop. Drag and Drop settings are almost similar to the Shared clipboard. It has four settings as well;

  1. Disabled – When this option is selected, the Drag and Drop capability is completely disabled.
  2. Host to Guest – When this option is selected, files can be dragged from the primary Operating system and be dropped into the virtual machine
  3. Guest to Host – This is the vice versa of “Host to Guest”. Files can be dragged from the virtual machine and be dropped into the primary operating system.
  4. Bidirectional. When this option is selected, files can be dragged and dropped from either Operating Systems.How to share files with a VirtualBox Operating System using Drag and Drop

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