What's New in VirtualBox 4.3?

VirtualBox.png

Great news: Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.3 is available from today!

Let's take a quick look at what's new:

New Platforms 

We're at that time of year when vendors are releasing new versions of their platforms, ready to be installed onto new hardware offerings for the upcoming holiday season. So welcome Mac OS X 10.9 ( "Mavericks" ), Microsoft Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, and all the new Linux distributions too. 

And so it is only natural that VirtualBox 4.3 should add support for these new platforms too.

But sometimes that is easier said than done. For example, some of the new platforms are designed for tablet, or laptop/tablet hybrid platforms and so use a multi-touch interface to navigate around the system. This all means that VirtualBox has to deliver a multi-touch virtual device that the guests can use, which is exactly what we did in 4.3.  So if you're looking to check out such a system, such as Windows 8(.1), remember to choose the correct pointing device:

multi-touch

Another similarity about the new platforms is the increased use of desktop "eye-candy", whether it is translucency, fade-in and out effects, or instant zoom. This means that we've had to improve our 3d acceleration support for guests such as Fedora, seen here on a Mac OS X 10.9 host, using a zoomed out view of running apps and a scaled workspace viewer on the right hand side:

Fedora 19

(Don't forget to update your Guest Additions to the 4.3 version to get this going.)

We also improved the multi-monitor support especially when you are using multiple virtual monitors with multiple physical displays in full screen mode.

Hypervisor improvements

Another significant, but largely invisible change in 4.3 concerns the hypervisor itself. We have significantly revamped the internals of VirtualBox as a platform for future performance enhancements. Today, this has mainly improved boot times of guests, but we'll be building upon this in forthcoming updates. 

Networking Improvements

In the Networking area we've got 3 bits of news:

  1. IPv4 AND IPv6 almost everywhere - Host-only, Internal, Bridged and our new NAT Network mode now all offer IPv6 to guests;
  2. IPv6 in VRDP - You can remotely connect to the consoles of your virtual machines via RDP over IPv6;
  3. New NAT Network mode - yet another way of configuring the network of your vm's...

Our existing NAT mode puts each guest vm on it's own private network. This is nice and easy and has served us very well over the years.

At the same time, many people use our Host-only networking to run multiple vm's on a private network that can talk to each other and also the host.

But what yet another group of people wanted was a private network where the guests could talk to each other but also to the internet too (or at least the network beyond the host). So this is what the new NAT Network mode offers. Diagrammatically, it looks like this:

Diagram

and the configuration dialog looks like this:

Dialogs

Hopefully you can see that this new NAT Network can be IPv6 or IPv4 and has an optional DHCP service. Also Port Forwarding is available to allow connections into the private network from the outside world.

Other Bells and Whistles

There are lots of other smaller improvements in 4.3 but 2 of my favorites are: 

Video Capture

4.3 comes with a built-in video capture facility to record the contents of your guest's screens. The resultant movie is stored in .webm format so can be played back by most movie players or even Google Chrome. 

Virtual Webcam

An extremely cool (but only experimental at this stage) feature is the VirtualBox virtual webcam device. This allows the guest to use the webcam of the host so that you can use Skype or Google Hangouts from within your guest. (Look for a separate blog on this feature)

What next?

In the time it has taken you to read this blog you could have downloaded 4.3 from the Oracle or community site to kick the tires yourself.

But there's still time, VirtualBox is only around 100Mb. Or if you were "born not to lead but to read" (apologies to Matt Groening), take a peek at the User Guide.

All in all, another solid release, one that we hope you'll enjoy discovering.

- FB 

Comments:

how about memory management? Better or worse?

Posted by guest on October 15, 2013 at 06:05 PM BST #

I have been vmware fusion/workstation users and also used Parallel. I'm very impressed by the coolness of virtualbox.

i have a question, why virtualbox default use .2 as GW and .3 as DNS. Is there anyway that I can change them to .1? who is using .1 anyway? I looked through 4.3 user manual but can't find the option.

Posted by Hongjun Ma on October 16, 2013 at 11:15 PM BST #

VBox 4.3 at Ubuntu 13.4 as host with two VMs
(1-Xubuntu v12.04.3, 2-Windows XP)
Both VMs in the full screen mode can't minimize by pressing "Minimize" button in menu bar.
Both of VMs just blink and stay full screen.
--
Verdict: VBox 4.3 goes to trash can.

Posted by guest on October 17, 2013 at 04:18 AM BST #

> i have a question, why virtualbox default use .2 as GW and .3 as DNS. Is there anyway that I can change them to .1? who is using .1 anyway? I looked through 4.3 user manual but can't find the option.

Looks like question regarding NAT (not "NAT Network") .2 and .3 are historic values and comes from Qemu(Slirp) where from this code initially borrowed. These values can't be changed, sorry. Regarding .1 isn't assigned to anything.

Posted by guest on October 17, 2013 at 03:25 PM BST #

Plaese answer me, Virtualbox 3.2 add working Guest Addition for Windows 8.1?

Posted by guest on October 20, 2013 at 08:41 AM BST #

Guest, we recommend you update to 4.3 to run windows 8.1

Posted by Fat Bloke on October 20, 2013 at 06:07 PM BST #

On Solaris (both 11.1 and 10U11) VirtualBox 4.3 fails with errors about starting the COM sever; this is in both global and non-global zones. I can't spot any obvious / useful log info via SMF, so have reverted to 4.2.18 for now.

4.2.18, in turn, appears to not be persistent in binding its web service to a port (in that SMF reports the service running, but netstat -na|egrep LISTEN shows no binding); this is something I'd also very much like to see fixed, as I wish to do some entertaining things with phpVirtualBox...

Posted by Dave Walker on October 21, 2013 at 03:38 PM BST #

Once the COM issue is fixed in 4.3, I'm looking forward to having a play with the video recording feature; depending on how controllable it is, it could do excellent things for auditing.

When it comes to video recording for audit purposes, I wonder if you've had a play with Visulox in conjunction with SGD - if VirtualBox video is searchable in the same way, I'll be very, very impressed...

Posted by Dave Walker on October 21, 2013 at 03:44 PM BST #

I have a Nat Network connection (the new in Virtual Box 4.3). I have enabled my dhcp server, the server give me a valid address in the virtual network, but I can't access the internet.

I can't ping 8.8.8.8

Posted by guest on October 23, 2013 at 10:23 AM BST #

> I have a Nat Network connection (the new in Virtual Box 4.3). I have enabled my dhcp server, the server give me a valid address in the virtual network, but I can't access the internet.

> I can't ping 8.8.8.8

Have you run other tests? ICMP ping isn't the reliable measure for the last 20 years :) that why ICMP isn't supported in the NAT network. Regarding communication issue, can you provide more details about your guest/host OSes.

Posted by Vasily Levchenko on October 24, 2013 at 06:30 AM BST #

Some people have reported that although VirtualBox runs on OSX 10.9, it causes problems when shutting down, monitor remaining on and other similar issues, even with version 4.3. and that it has to be reinstalled on every reboot. I would like to know if these issues have been resolved or what the fix is before I update my OS?
I will be updating to OSX 10.9 and would like to run my windows 7 in VirtualBox because my version of Parallels will not work on Mavericks.

Posted by guest on October 28, 2013 at 02:21 PM GMT #

I'm impressed with the video recording and NAT Network features. It would be nice if the NAT Network feature provide some local DNS capabilities as well for the 10.0.2.x subnet.

Posted by dwfong on October 31, 2013 at 02:57 PM GMT #

I'm trying to use the NAT Network mode.

I have 3 vms which works perfectly in NAT mode ( each VM connects to the internet but cant see each other ).
All the Vms are configured with static ip addresses and have GW = 10.0.2.2 and DNS = 10.0.2.3. I also had to force "natdnsproxy1".

I created a new NAT Network and changed the network settings to use it on each one of the vms.

Now the VMs can see each other but can't connect to the internet.

I noticed that now they can't ping 10.0.2.2 nor 10.0.2.3 but there is a 10.0.2.1 new ip.

What should be the configuration of GW and DNS in each vm?

Thx

Posted by guest on November 13, 2013 at 04:49 PM GMT #

Re:
I noticed that now they can't ping 10.0.2.2 nor 10.0.2.3 but there is a 10.0.2.1 new ip.
What should be the configuration of GW and DNS in each vm?

could you please send me (vasily _dot_ levchenko _at_ oracle _dot_ com) your VirtualBox.xml file?

Posted by Vasily Levchenko on November 13, 2013 at 08:45 PM GMT #

I have been experiencing issues with the video driver of an older version of VirtualBox using Windows 7 as the host and Windows Server 2012 as the guest. Has this improved in 4.3?
The issue being that when I attach a second screen the screen resolution of the host is not detected automatically by the guest, not becoming available in the list of choices at all, resulting in the selection of wrong resolution. Even hangs sometimes.

Posted by Carl on December 09, 2013 at 10:38 PM GMT #

Hi,

Since updating to the latest version (4.3) I've not been able to log onto the network on one of my VM.

My main VM (XP) works fine - The second VM (which was a clone of the first) gives the following when trying to log on:

Windows cannot connect to the domain, either because the domain controller is down or otherwise unavailable, or because your computer account was not found.

Nothing has changed with the configuration of the second VM and it was working fine before the upgrade.

Any ideas?

Regards,

Pete

Posted by guest on December 16, 2013 at 12:59 PM GMT #

I just installed the latest version and it works well. We LOVE VBox because it takes away the pain that comes from computers in general & MS imho in particular. Everything from snapshots, to running multiple OSs, internal networkinging during development, to my favorite entry - "Hardware version="2" uuid="{...". In fact, every machine I use has VBox installed. I rarely work on the metal anymore, especially for the inet where only a snapshot, locked down XP box is allowed access (the snapshot refreshed weekly for just in case security). We say it loud and say it often in my office, "VBox removes the pain of computing". Thank you FB and Oracle!

Posted by guest on December 19, 2013 at 06:07 PM GMT #

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