At a Glance
- No drag and drop of files from the host PC
Run virtually any OS inside VirtualBox on virtually any PC.
Given the sluggish performance of VMware Player and
Workstation on my Windows 7 machine, I recently turned to
Oracle’s VirtualBox 4.03 virtual machine software and haven’t looked
back. After a few months with it, I find it considerably faster, if
not quite as convenient.
VirtualBox’s interface is much improved with version 4.
Heretofore difficult-to-find options and settings are much easier
to locate and use. Snapshots are also easier to manage. In the ten
weeks I’ve been using it, it also seems far more stable. While
version 3 worked most of the time, it would occasionally go
belly-up for no apparent reason. Also, the mouse capture is much
improved. You do not need to hit the right control key any longer
to regain mouse control on the host (the PC on which you run
Oracle continues to fix bugs in a timely fashion. The first
version of VirtualBox 4 I tried in January 2011 would leave my USB
Webcam running for no reason, and the main dialog where you launch
and maintain your virtual machines would always cover the entire
screen, no matter how many times I resized it. Both these bugs have
Support for USB devices also seems improved in VirtualBox 4,
though it’s still not as broad as VMware’s. The other thing I miss
from VMware is the ability to drag files directly from and to a VM
window. With VirtualBox, you must access files on the host machine
via shared folders. It’s not difficult once you’re used to it, but
it’s not as convenient.
I’m now running Windows 7, Windows XP, and Ubuntu in VirtualBox
VMs–and while I miss a few of VMware’s features, the speed of
VirtualBox is far more important to me. It also leaves a much
lighter fingerprint on the host system. If you’ve experienced the
same performance degradation with VMware under Windows 7, it’s
definitely worth a look. To heck with that–It’s worth a look
Note: This link takes you to the vendor’s site,
where you must register to download the software.