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Once upon a time I was trying to edit an end of semester group report for a class and I got a little sidetracked. I wanted to install Windows XP in VirtualBox using SATA. Why? Just because. As far as I can tell, there is no appreciable difference between a virtual hard drive attached to a virtual IDE controller versus a virtual SATA controller.

The hitch is that the Windows XP installer doesn’t come with built in SATA drivers for the controller VirtualBox uses, so the installer will tell you that it can’t see a hard drive to install on to. Work around:

  1. Download the Intel drivers and extract the executable (f6flpy32.exe) from the zip file
  2. Download UnZip (choose unz552xN.exe from the list) and run, this will extract a bunch of utilities, the one we want is unzip.exe (you don’t need to use UnZip if you have another program that can get files from within a self-extracting executable)
  3. Open a command prompt Window (preferably using “Run As Administrator”) and navigate to the directory that has both f6flpy32.exe and unzip.exe
  4. Type “unzip f6flpy32.exe” and hit Enter, this will extract the file F32.IMA
  5. Use the Virtual Media Manager in Virtual box to set up F32.IMA as a Floppy Image
  6. Start your Windows XP virtual machine and run the installation CD. When the blue screen prompts you, hit F6 to choose a third party driver.
  7. Choose Devices\Mount Floppy Image\Floppy Image in the VirtualBox windows to mount the image you just set up
  8. When the blue screen prompt you, hit S to find another driver on a floppy, and then Enter.
  9. Four driver options should appear in the list. The second one worked for me, and allowed me to continue with the setup process.

Sources: Intel drivers for SATA and LAN controllersHow to install Windows 2000/XP/2003 guests with SATA supportVista kernel – IDE to SATA conversion VB 1.6.0 & 1.6.2

UPDATE: Once I got XP installed, I also installed the Guest Additions, but the network still wasn’t working, because I had selected the “Intel PRO/1000 MT Desktop” adapter rather than the default AMD adapter. To get this working I found and downloaded the drivers from Intel, and then set up a shared folder and mounted it as a network drive to be able to copy the driver setup file from my Vista host to my XP guest system. Once I ran the Intel driver setup, everything worked great.


nce upon a time I’m writing another blog post about Virtualbox. It’s my obsession lately.

So, I finally discovered a simple way to make it so that any folders I share using Virtualbox will mount automatically when I start up the guest operating system. I am using Windows Vista as my host, and Ubuntu 8.04.1 (Hardy Heron) as my guest. I have shared my Videos folder in Windows with my virtual Ubuntu installation (using Devices/Shared Folders in VirtualBox). I used to have to type

mount -t vboxsf Videos /home/my_user_name_here/Videos

in the Terminal everytime I wanted to use the folder. But now I add

Videos /home/my_user_name_here/Videos vboxsf defaults 0 0

to the end of my fstab file (in Terminal: sudo gedit /etc/fstab) and when I restart Ubuntu, my Videos folder is populated with all of my beloved video files sitting on my Windows host machine. Hope that helps someone. And they all lived happily ever after. ZZZZZZ

UPDATE: FYI, this works on Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) as well.

UPDATE: To get this to work in Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) I used this:

videos /home/my_user_name_here/Videos vboxsf

I guess it just uses the defaults. Security concerns? Probably.

nce upon a time I fell in love with a little program called VirtualBox. It’s a free program from Sun Microsystems that lets you run another operating system within your current operating system.

Why would you want to do this? Well, companies like to do it for many reasons, such as saving power and space, and increasing managebility of servers, which I’m sure somehow boils down to good capitalism. I like it because it’s fun. It’s fun to run Linux on top of Vista (install this hotfix if you’re using Vista too). It’s fun to try out new and cool operating systems without having to rebuild a whole computer. This way if you don’t like the operating system, you just delete it and go on your way.

VirtualBox is a small and easy alternative to other virtualization products that range from expensive to crappy. One of the neat features of VirtualBox is how well it integrates into your existing desktop through Guest Additions installed on the Guest OS. Two features in particular are Mouse Pointer Integration and Better Video Support. In a normal virtualization setup, the hosting program “captures” your mouse. You click into the program, it uses your mouse, but then you have to hit a predefined escape key (Right CTRL) to get your mouse back. Also in a normal virtualization setup, you can change the size of the window by dragging, but the resolution of the screen inside will not change. Installing the Guest Additions into the guest operating system fixes both of these problems beautifully. These features are officially supported in certain guest operating systems including: Windows, Fedora Core, Red Hat Enterprise, SUSE and OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, OpenSolaris and Solaris, and OS/2.

I’ll give simple instructions for installing the Guest Additions on three of the supported Linux OS’s: Ubuntu, Fedora, and OpenSuse.

Ubuntu (Hardy Heron)

  1. In the VirtualBox file menu choose Device, then Install Guest Additions
  2. Open Terminal (Applications/Accessories/Terminal)
  3. Enter these commands:
  4. sudo su
    cd /media/cdrom0
    sh ./

  5. Reboot

openSUSE 11

  1. In the VirtualBox file menu choose Device, then Install Guest Additions
  2. Open Terminal (Computer/More Applications/System/Gnome Terminal)
  3. Enter these commands:
  4. su
    cd /media/VBOXADDITIONS_2.0.2_36486
    zypper install gcc make automake autoconf kernel-source
    sh ./

  5. Reboot

Fedora 9

  1. In the VirtualBox file menu choose Device, then Install Guest Additions
  2. Open Terminal (Applications/System Tools/Terminal)
  3. Enter these commands:
  4. su
    cd /media/VBOXADDITIONS_2.0.2_36486
    yum install gcc make kernel-devel dkms
    sh ./

  5. Reboot

When your system comes back you should be able to mouse without capture and change your screen resolution by dragging the Virtual box window border. And they all lived happily ever after. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Sources: James Selvakumar’s Blog for the openSUSE info, and the VirtualBox Manual for the Fedora info.

UPDATE: In Linux, the guest additions stop working if your kernel gets updated (automatically or manually). This is because the additions compile for a specific kernel. If this happens to you, run through the above steps again and it will fix the problem.

UPDATE: Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) doesn’t install the video driver correctly using these instruction. Please see this blog post, for a work-around.