VirtualBox from Oracle is an amazing and free application if you like testing different operating systems without messing up your original operating system or Master Boot Record (MBR). VirtualBox allows you to virtually install operating systems and do all kinds of risky experiments, because if you mess up, you won’t hurt your computer.
VirtualBox is also useful if you like to test operating systems before their final release. For example, Windows 8 beta was released recently. If you want to try it out without making any change to your MBR, you can simply download the iso file and install it inside your current operating system. It’s just another window on your desktop that starts up a whole new operating system of your choice.
However, most people want to connect their host hard disk drives to the guest operating system. For your information, the host OS is the operating system you’re actually using, while the Guest OS refers to the OS virtually installed inside VirtualBox. When you install an operating system in VirtualBox, you can’t connect to your hard disk drives right off the bat.
That’s why we wrote up this tutorial. For the purpose of this tutorial, we’ve used Windows 7 as the host operating system and Windows XP as the guest OS. Let’s begin.
Step 1 : Install Guest Additions
First off, you need to start up the operating system you want to connect your hard disk drives to. Choose your OS and click the start button. When the OS is ready, click Devices > Install Guest Additions.
Clicking this will prompt the Guest Addition setup menu on Windows XP (Guest OS). Install the guest addition and reboot your guest OS as required.
Step 2 : Share Folder
When installed and rebooted, click Devices again and choose Shared Folders.
A box will open. Simply click the add icon (+ sign) on the right. From the Folder Path pull down menu, click Other.
A folder browser (similar to Windows Explorer) will open up. From here, you can select any hard drive or any folder inside a hard drive. Upon selecting click OK.
Step 3 : Connect to Shared Folder
Now, VirtualBox has shared the selected hard drive/folder (in our case, E drive) with the guest OS. You now need to access it. To do so, go to My Computer and in Other Places, right click on My Network Places and choose Map Network Drive.
Here in the Drive box, you have to select a Drive letter for the folder/hard disk drive you’re connecting to. You can choose randomly or select as your choice from the pull down menu. From the Folder box, click the browse button and click the plus sign on the left of ‘VirtualBox Shared Folders’ and then ‘\\vboxsvr’.
This will show you a list of folders or hard drives shared with the guest OS. Click the one you want to connect to and click OK. On the Map Network Drive, make sure the Reconnect at logon checkbox is checked if you want to automatically connect to this drive each time your guest OS starts up.
Step 4 : Access Shared Folder
You’re done! Now, go to My Computer and you’ll be able to access the hard disk drive of your computer right from the guest operating system installed inside VirtualBox.
I hope it was easy for you to follow this tutorial and now you are able to access your hard disk and install any software from your local hard disk drive.
Image by Teo