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.
Changes in VirtualBox 6.1.16 (2020-10-20):
- VMM: Fixed random memory corruption and XMM register state corruption inside the VM when Hyper-V is used
- VMM: Fixed VMSVGA 3D support with Linux guests when Hyper-V is used
- GUI: Fixed some Qt related crashes on macOS Big Sur
- Oracle Cloud Infrastructure integration: Fixed network integration not working behind some proxies
- USB: Mask out remote wake capability to avoid unresponsive devices
- Audio: Fixed issues with audio playback after host goes to sleep
- Serial: Keep transferring data if the status line monitoring fails
- Serial: Fixed blocking a re-connect when TCP mode is used
- HPET: Fixed inability of guests to use the last timer
- VBoxManage: Fixed detection of system locale when running ‘VBoxManage unattended install’ without –locale
- macOS host: Installer on Big Sur is now reminding user that system has to be rebooted to load the installed KEXTs
- Linux host and guest: Support kernel version 5.9
- Linux guest: Workaround to improve resizing of 32-bit VMs with VMSVGA graphics controller, and do not try to use RandR version 1.3 due to bugs causing the X server to hang
- Linux guest: Fixed VBoxService crashing in the CPU hot-plug service under certain circumstances during a CPU hot-unplug event
- Linux guest: Fixed Guest additions build for RHEL 8.3 beta