VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for hardware. Targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software. VirtualBox is a powerful virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use.
VirtualBox provides are useful for several scenarios: Running multiple operating systems simultaneously. VirtualBox allows you to run more than one operating system at a time. This way, you can run software written for one operating system on another (for example, Windows software on Linux or a Mac) without having to reboot to use it.
Since you can conﬁgure what kinds of “virtual” hardware should be presented to each such operating system, you can install an old operating system such as DOS or OS/2 even if your real computer’s hardware is no longer supported by that operating system.
Software vendors can use virtual machines to ship entire software conﬁgurations. For example, installing a complete mail server solution on a real machine can be a tedious task. With VirtualBox, such a complex setup (then often called an “appliance”) can be packed into a virtual machine. Installing and running a mail server becomes as easy as importing such an appliance into VirtualBox.
Testing and disaster recovery.
Once installed, a virtual machine and its virtual hard disks can be considered a “container” that can be arbitrarily frozen, woken up, copied, backed up, and transported between hosts. On top of that, with the use of another VirtualBox feature called “snapshots”, one can save a particular state of a virtual machine and revert back to that state, if necessary. This way, one can freely experiment with a computing environment.
If something goes wrong (e.g. after installing misbehaving software or infecting the guest with a virus), one can easily switch back to a previous snapshot and avoid the need of frequent backups and restores. Any number of snapshots can be created, allowing you to travel back and forward in virtual machine time. You can delete snapshots while a VM is running to reclaim disk space.
Supported OS: Windows Server 2008, Server 2008 R2, Server 2012, Server 2012 R2, Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, Windows 10 (32-bit and 64-bit).
Mac OS X hosts (64-bits): 10.9 (Mavericks), 10.10 (Yosemite), 10.11 (El Capitan), 10.12 (Sierra).
Linux hosts (32-bit and 64-bit): Ubuntu 12.04 to 16.10, Debian GNU/Linux 7 (“Wheezy”) and 8 (“Jessie”), Oracle Enterprise Linux 5, Oracle Linux 6 and 7, Redhat Enterprise Linux 5, 6 and 7, Fedora Core / Fedora 6 to 25, Gentoo Linux, openSUSE 11.4 to 13.2.
VirtualBox 6.1.28 (released October 19 2021)
This is a maintenance release. The following items were fixed and/or added:
- VMM: Fixed guru meditation while booting nested-guests accessing debug registers under certain conditions
- UI: Bug fixes for touchpad-based scrolling
- VMSVGA: Fixed VM black screen issue on first resize after restoring from saved state (bug #20067)
- VMSVGA: Fixed display corruption on Linux Mint (bug #20513)
- Storage: Fixed a possible write error under certain circumstances when using VHD images (bug #20512)
- Network: Multiple updates in virtio-net device support
- Network: Disconnecting cable in saved VM state now is handled properly by virtio-net
- Network: More administrative control over network ranges, see user manual
- NAT: Fixed not rejecting TFTP requests with absolute pathnames (bug #20589)
- Audio: Fixed VM session aborting after PC hibernation (bug #20516)
- Audio: Fixed setting the line-in volume of the HDA emulation on modern Linux guests (bug oem2#53)
- Audio: Fixed resuming playback of the AC’97 emulation while a snapshot has been taken (bug oem2#52)
- API: Added bindings support for Python 3.9 (bug #20252)
- API: Fixed rare hang of VM when changing settings at runtime
- Linux host: Improved kernel modules installation detection which prevents unnecessary modules rebuild
- Windows Host: Sped up large page allocations on Windows 8 and later
- Windows Host: Fixed VBoxHeadless process sticking around after VM is closed (bug #20574)
- Host Services: Shared Clipboard: Prevent guest clipboard reset when clipboard sharing is disabled (bug #20487)
- Host Services: Shared Clipboard over VRDP: Fixed to continue working when guest service reconnects to host (bug #20366)
- Host Services: Shared Clipboard over VRDP: Fixed preventing remote RDP client to hang when guest has no clipboard data to report
- Linux Host and Guest: Introduced initial support for kernels 5.14 and 5.15
- Linux Host and Guest: Introduced initial support for RHEL 8.5 kernel
- Windows Guest: Introduced Windows 11 guest support, including unattended installation