Following on from last time today we shall cover networking and in particular sharing folders. Lets take networking first.
Virtualbox covers networking by using different network adapter settings for different circumstances. These are NAT, Bridged Adapter, Internal Network and Host-Only Adapter. All of these settings can be found under Settings – Network on the default Virtualbox page.
So what does each setting do? NAT allows your virtual network to use only one outgoing IP address which would be visible on the internet but multiple internal IP addresses. You would use this, for example, in a home network where all the computers are connected to a switch and a single router. NAT is the default setting.
Bridged Adapter allows your virtual machine to talk to any computer on your physical network just like if you attached a new computer. So for example if you had Windows Server 2008 R2 in a virtual machine you would use this setting to allow it to talk to all the computers on your network.
Internal Network allows all your virtual machines to talk to each other but not the outside network. This is useful when you set up an network specifically for testing purposes.
Finally Host Only Adapter allows the host to communicate with a set of virtual machines. This would be useful if you wanted to set up a network but did not have the physical hardware to do so.
So looking at the options above you would network up your virtual machines and share your folders exactly the same as if you had networked up two physical computers. There is another way though. If you just want the host computer to talk to one virtual machine at a time and are not interested in networking the virtual machines then use the Virtualbox shared folders setting. For example you might have a Linux host with two virtual machines, Windows 7 and Windows XP. You use the virtual machines to test software but don’t require them to communicate with each other, however you do need access to folders on the host system. To set up shared folders go to Settings – Shared Folders and attach the folders you want to share. It is that simple!!
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