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Starting up

  1. Download virtualBox and install
  2. Run virtualBox and create a new machine.
    1. Suggest you create a 25GB Dynamic drive (rather than the 10 suggested) and increase the Ram to 256.
  3. For Version 3.x
    1. Click on storage - opens up settings-storage dialog
    2. Click on CD-Rom (will probably show empty) and change CD/DVD device to Host Drive (if you have an iso image use the folder open icon on the right to open up the storage dialog, then add to choose the iso file.)
  4. For Version 2.x
    1. In the run area attach the CD-ROM Drive (to enable you to install the Operating System) or iso image if you have a Windows iso image.

Installation of Windows XP

  1. Insert the CD-ROM with Win XP and install
    >>Warning make sure you are installing inside the VirtualBox and not in your Operating system -- or you will lose your machine with all your stuff **
    1. To help with your future backups I have named my virtual Hard disks like WinXPnn, where nn is the iteration of the Hard disk (further explanation below under backups)
  2. Once all installed shut down Windows XP.
  3. In the VirtualBox Window change the CD-ROM Drive to the ISO image (VBoxGuestAdditions.iso) This will add lots of functionality - like improved graphics and USB support to your virtual machine (This image file is located in the installation directory of VirtualBox usually C:/Program Files/Sun/VirtualBox).
  4. Restart your virtual machine
  5. Navigate to the iso image and run VBoxAdditions, and install. You may have to accept software that has not passed Windows compatibility verification (e.g. Graphic Adaptor)
  6. Shut windows down and in the virtualBox window change the CD/DVD-ROM back to the drive
  7. If you want a shared folder (on your existing machine) scroll down to Shared Folders
    and click on the add folder icon (on the right). Use the drop in Folder Path and choose other. Navigate to the folder you want to share (I prefer to create a specific share folder on my normal PC drive). This will appear in My Network Places > Entire Network > VirtualBox Shared Folders.
  8. Restart your virtual machine and install an antivirus program!! (remember the virtual machine is like a real one !!). I like Avira antivir ( it is a robust and free antivirus program.
  9. Shut down the virtualMachine and make a copy of the virtualBox file. This can be used to restore to original condition should you need to restart - without having to reinstall everything again. Note that you cannot have two of the same virtualBox instance running at the same time.

.. now you are ready to go!


One of the tricky things you need to be able to do is manage your virtual Hard Disk Backups. VirtualBox only allows one instance of a created virtual Hard Disk Drive (vHDD) to be available, so if you want multiple machines (e.g. I wanted one for my ASP and a separate one for WAMP) you need to create separate virtual machines and install the OS from scratch in both. So I found that to track the vHDDs I named mine as WinXP01_ASP.vdi and WinXP02_WAMP.vdi

Now when I want to backup a full machine at a certain point (e.g. before I do anything major!!) I make a copy and add a suffix to the backup e.g. I needed to install WinXP Service Pack 3, so made a backup with SP2 called WinXP01_ASP_01SP2.vdi then after I was done another backup WinXP01_ASP_02SP3.vdi

So now I can tell which vHDD I am dealing with (WinXP01) what its purpose is (ASP/WAMP) the iteration 01 then 02, and some idea of what changed SP3.

Restoring a backup

  1. Close all virtual machines.
  2. In the Sun virtualBox manager double click on Hard Disks
  3. Click the folder icon on the right (Select Hard Disks) this will bring up the virtual Media Manager
  4. Click on the vHDD you want to detach, then Click the Release button, confirm [Release]
  5. Click on Remove button(which should have become active), conform [Remove], but in the next window click [Keep] - otherwise you will delete the vHDD image (unless this is what you want to do!)

Now add the backup vHDD

  1. Click the Add button
  2. Browse to your vHDD Drive and [Open]
  3. Click on the vHDD then [Select]

..and you're done.

Icon References.png References

VirtualBox. (2018). In virtualMV's ( Michael Verhaart ) wiki. Retrieved November 13, 2018, from    (zotero)