Friday Tips #37

Happy Friday! This week we're talking about tips and tricks for fullscreen mode in Oracle VM VirtualBox.

I use typically Oracle VM VirtualBox on the Mac and I find it very convenient to set my virtual machines to run in full screen mode in a separate Space. I'm using Mountain Lion, but this should be similar for Mavericks (I think, I haven't used it yet!).

To go full screen, first, launch your virtual machine. You can then use the host key (command on the Mac) and F to go full screen. You can also switch to full screen in the menu bar with View->Switch to Fullscreen. There's also a useful option there that will set the resolution of the guest OS to match your monitor, and that is View->Auto-resize Guest Display.

In the Mac on Mountain Lion (and perhaps on Lion, I don't have it around to confirm), this full screen VM will have its own Space. That means you can do the three finger quick swipe left or right to switch between your local Mac OS spaces and your full screen virtual machine. It's extremely cool. Another thing I do to make moving between the virtual machine and the Mac OS desktop even easier is to go into Mission Control (three finger swipe up on a trackpad, or open the app itself) and drag the Space with the VM in it all the way to one side or the other of your Spaces - I prefer the right side. Then in the Mission Control System Preference, turn off "Automatically rearrange spaces based on most recent use." What this does is ensure that you can quickly three finger swipe all the way left or all the way right to get either a Mac OS desktop or your fullscreen VM.

One other quick tip. If you don't find yourself needing the items in the mini-toolbar, you can hide it by clicking on the VM in Oracle VM VirtualBox manager, and then clicking on "Settings" in the toolbar. In the General tab of that dialog box, click Advanced and then uncheck Mini ToolBar: Show In Fullscreen/Seamless. The only thing I use the Mini Toolbar for on a regular basis is suspending the VM, which you can do just as easily by press the host key (again, command on the Mac) and Q. You'll get the same dialog that you get when pressing X on the mini toolbar.


I hope that makes working in fullscreen mode with Oracle VM VirtualBox a little easier for you!

-Chris
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