Running VirtualBox - A few Tips!

 If you are new to VirtualBox and are searching for a reference to get you started, I believe my other blog entry on "Running OpenSolaris 2008.05 inside VirtualBox on a Solaris x86 host" is the right place for you.

If you are already done with the initial installation of VirtualBox and your guest OS, then I believe this is the place for you. Getting started with VirtualBox, there are a few things that I think one should know.


The "Network" tab under the Settings of a virtual machine lets you decide how the VirtualBox presents a Virtual NIC to the VM. There are four options for the network card.

  •  AMD PCNet PCI II;
  •  AMD PCNet FAST III (the default);
  •  Intel PRO/1000 MT Desktop;
  •  Intel PRO/1000 T Server.

When you start your Guest VM, the VirtualBox enables one of these by default for you and enables the NAT mode for it. This way, the guest VM can connect to the outside world. AMD PCNet FAST III is the default because it is supported by almost all operating systems.


For any serious and interactive use, the VirtualBox Guest Additions will make your life much easier by providing closer integration between host and guest and improving the interactive performance of guest systems. Guest additions is basically a set of drivers which provide the following features:

1. Mouse Pointer Integration: With guest additions, there is no need to Capture and release the mouse to switch between the host and the guest. It provides seamless mouse support without any need of the host key.

2. Better Video Support: The custom video drivers that are installed with the Guest Additions provide you with extra high and non-standard video modes as well as accelerated video performance.

3. Shared Folders: This provides a way to share files between the Host and the Guest OS. You can specify a folder on the Host as shared for the Guest and VirtualBox will make it available to the guest OS as a network share.

4. Shared Clipboard: With Guest additions installed, the clipboard of your guest OS  can be shared with your host OS.

 There are many more features provided by Guest Addditions. Refer to the User Manual of VirtualBox for them.

Installing Guest Additions

In order to install guest additions, go to the devices tab. There, select "Install Guest Additions" option. This will automatically mount the VBoxGuestAdditions.iso
Alternatively, go to the Mount CD/DVD ROM option. In that, select the CD/DVD ROM image. In the window that opens, browse to the directory containing VBoxGuestAdditions.iso. It will be /opt/VirtualBox for Solaris host.

After mounting, the VirtualBox provides the ISO image as a CD to the Guest OS. Now, run the following command:

pkgadd -d /media/VBOXADDITIONS_1.6.2_31466/VBoxSolarisAdditions.pkg

Here, VBOXADDITIONS_1.6.2_31466 is the name of the CD which gets mounted in /media.

After the installation is complete, you need to relogin to the XServer on the guest to enable the X11 Guest Additions.

Enabling Shared Folders

In order to share a folder between the host and the guest, you have to first create a folder on the host OS exactly the way you want it on the guest. Then, in the guest OS, go to devices -> shared folders. The window below opens.

In this window, there are two options: Machine Folders and Transient Folders.  The Machine folder option defines shared folders that are available only to the VM for which they have been defined. The transient folder option defines shared folders which can be added or removed at runtime and do not persist after a VM has stopped.

In the Machine Folader option, browse to the folder to be shared on the host and give it a name by which it will be visible in the Guest OS. Now, the shared folder will be available for mount like a normal network share.

In order to mount, type

mount -t sharename mountpath

where sharename is the name given to the shared folder and mountpath is the path where you want ot mount the folder.


The mount command you gave doesn't work and doesn't make sense. The Solaris mount command doesn't have a -t argument. What was the exact mount command you used inside the Solaris guest to do this ?

Posted by Darren Moffat on June 27, 2008 at 11:05 AM IST #

Just use mount followed by the name of the shared foder and the mount path
For eg, if you created a folder named 'shared' on your host and made it shared on the guest, then the command would be
mount shared /media
(if you want to mount it on /media)
Hope this helps!

Posted by @darren on July 05, 2008 at 08:36 AM IST #

This is tosh.

Posted by a on August 01, 2008 at 01:26 PM IST #

For anybody googling themselves to this page trying to figure out how to mount a Shared Folder (Defined in Devices Menu -> Shared Folders...) in a VirtualBox VM:
Something along the lines of...
mount -t vboxsf C_DRIVE /mnt/windows
should do the trick when you have defined C_DRIVE as C: and created /mnt/windows in the guest.

Posted by Thomas Pluempe on August 20, 2008 at 01:38 PM IST #

This is still tosh.

Posted by a on August 24, 2008 at 10:34 AM IST #

The mount command is not valid for Solaris guest OS to access shared folder in VirtualBox.
According to the VirtualBox 1.6.4 Manual the shared folder feature is not available yet for Solaris guest OS.

Posted by Adrianus on September 02, 2008 at 12:01 PM IST #

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Keep up your great work! Hope to see you participate in the new GlassFish/MySQL student contest.

Posted by Chhandomay on September 03, 2008 at 01:38 PM IST #

when i saw you then i was become very happy because only two Indian take participate in the examination of the sun.
actually i am working in VISIS SOFTWARE COMPANY as a software developer.and i am from gonda and my team leader yogendra pratap brajdwaj from banarus

Posted by deepak tiwari on November 21, 2008 at 05:24 PM IST #

You are an ignorant DIRKA

Posted by Bobo Clown on January 12, 2009 at 12:14 AM IST #

A Sun person actually wrote this? There is no -t option to the mount command. Don't you know your own OS?

Posted by whaa on May 09, 2009 at 01:29 AM IST #

I think the mount command that you are actually looking for is:

# pfexec mount -F vboxfs Documents ~/mount-here

where Documents is the name of the shared folder that you created in the Devices > Shared Folder dialog box and ~/mount-here is a mount point that you created in your home directory (or anywhere else that you have priviledges). I used this command in OpenSolaris 0906 guest with VirtualBox 3.0 on Ubuntu 9.04 (jaunty) host.

I am not sure that you need to use pfexec (~ sudo) but I get permission errors if I don't.

You should probably also add in some additional mount options to set the default user and permissions -- this will have everything owned by root (which is fine for me).

Posted by Ken on July 04, 2009 at 04:52 PM IST #

I am running OracleEnterpriseLinux4 as guest on Vista Host with Virtualbox 3.0.2. I tried your explanation and mount command <mount -t sharename mountpath> and it displayed this:

[root@localhost obiora]# mount -t vBoxShared /home/obiora/MyShared
Usage: mount -V : print version
mount -h : print this help
mount : list mounted filesystems
mount -l : idem, including volume labels
So far the informational part. Next the mounting.
The command is `mount [-t fstype] something somewhere'.
Details found in /etc/fstab may be omitted.
mount -a [-t|-O] ... : mount all stuff from /etc/fstab
mount device : mount device at the known place
mount directory : mount known device here
mount -t type dev dir : ordinary mount command
Note that one does not really mount a device, one mounts
a filesystem (of the given type) found on the device.
One can also mount an already visible directory tree elsewhere:
mount --bind olddir newdir
or move a subtree:
mount --move olddir newdir
A device can be given by name, say /dev/hda1 or /dev/cdrom,
or by label, using -L label or by uuid, using -U uuid .
Other options: [-nfFrsvw] [-o options] [-p passwdfd].
For many more details, say man 8 mount .

But nothing mounted. I went to the directory I specified as the mount point but nothing is there. Pls help.


Posted by Ob on August 04, 2009 at 11:14 PM IST #

Thank you, Ken!
with your method it actually worked.
I like windows and just play around with solaris to have a kind of cheap jail /sandbox against virus.. infections when I surf on untrustful pages.
So I have Win7 as host and open solaris 2009.06 as guest under virtual box 3.0.8
(works ok on my 2gb ram upgraded Vaio VGN-FE28H Laptop although intels VT-x can not be activated although my intel T2300 has it...thanks to sony...)

virtualbox: devices-> shared folders-> new: with name "sf" and path D:\\sf access: full

then I created under windows a new textfile.txt

then terminal under open solaris:
Simi@opensolaris:~$ mkdir sf1
Simi@opensolaris:~$ pfexec mount -F vboxfs sf ~/sf1
Simi@opensolaris:~$ cd sf1

and see that the textfile is accessible:
Simi@opensolaris:~/sf1$ ls
Neues Textdokument.txt

before, I messed around with the official manual :

uid=5000(jack) gid=1(other)
$mkdir /export/home/jack/mount
$pfexec mount -F vboxfs -o uid=5000,gid=1 jackshare /export/home/jack/mount
$cd ~/mount
sharedfile1.mp3 sharedfile2.txt

...but somehow it did not work..

Posted by Simi on October 14, 2009 at 12:05 PM IST #

Great! Very easy to understand tutorial. Although the virtual box you're using is outdated.

Posted by Tejas Hosangadi on November 07, 2009 at 06:24 AM IST #


Thank you. Your solution worked fine for me on Solaris10 Guest OS running in VirtualBox 3.0.10 on Windows Vista Ultimate host OS. However, I don't understand why "pfexec" worked. From what I read, pfexec is similar to Linux sudo, but when executing as root, why do we need pfexec?

Saloni: Thanks for the tutorial. Certainly useful, but please test your commands first as there's no "-t" option with the mount command on Solaris.

Posted by Cybergavin on November 24, 2009 at 09:59 PM IST #

@Saloni - keep up the good work...!! :)

Posted by Madhur Garg on December 31, 2009 at 03:51 AM IST #

Still tosh.

Posted by a on January 30, 2010 at 07:17 PM IST #

Hey thanks for sharing the information, i am using Virtual box for long time, it was a hassle copying text, now installing addons its becomes awesome also the dynamic screen resolution its superb.

Thanks for sharing.
Thank you virtualbox.

Posted by itsoft3g on October 27, 2010 at 07:56 AM IST #

thank u Saloni
keep up the good work......

Posted by srikanth on November 04, 2010 at 04:39 AM IST #

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