VMs for beginners

How to install VirtualBox on Windows 10

You can use VirtualBox to run different OSes alongside Windows 10, and in this guide, you'll learn the steps to install and configure the virtualization software.

Install VirtualBox on Windows 10

Oracle’s VirtualBox is a free application available on Windows 10, Mac, and Linux, which allows you to create and use virtual machines to run other versions of Windows or other platforms alongside the main operating system without the need to set up dual-boot or configure another computer.

Usually, you would use this kind of virtualization technology to test pre-releases of Windows 10 available through the Windows Insider Program, run other operating systems like Ubuntu or Kali Linux, or create another virtual machine to test software without affecting the main installation.

VirtualBox has been designed to run on Intel as well as AMD hardware. While it is meant to be an enterprise product, it’s also available for home use with support for many guests operating systems, including Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, and older version, Linux (2.4, 2.6, 3.x and 4.x), Solaris and OpenSolaris, OS/2, OpenBSD, and many more.

In this guide, you will learn steps to install and configure the basic settings to get started with VirtualBox on Windows 10.

Install VirtualBox on Windows 10

Use the following steps to install VirtualBox on Windows 10:

  1. Open Oracle download page.

  2. Under the “VirtualBox binaries” section, click the Windows hosts link to download the software.

    VirtualBox download page
    VirtualBox download page
  3. Double-click the VirtualBox-x.x.x-x-Win.exe file to launch the installer.

  4. Click the Next button.

  5. Use the default settings selection, and click the Next button.

    VirtualBox default install settings
    VirtualBox default install settings
  6. (Optional) Clear the options you do not want to use.

  7. Click the Next button.

    Custom setup options
    Custom setup options
  8. Click the Yes button to confirm the virtual network adapter install warning.

    VirtualBox network adapter warning
    VirtualBox network adapter warning
  9. Click the Install button (if applicable).

  10. Click the Finish button.

Once you complete the steps, the software will finish the installation, and it will launch automatically. You can also launch VirtualBox from the Start menu like any other application.

Installation with winget command

Alternatively, you can also install VirtualBox using the Windows Package Manager (winget) in Command Prompt.

To install VirtualBox with the winget command, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

  3. (Optional) Type the following command to search for the name of the application and press Enter:

    winget search virtualbox
    Quick note: While the search command is not required, the install query must match the ID, name, or moniker of the package, which can change at any time. So, it’s a good practice to search the application to execute the correct install command.
  4. Type the following command to install VirtualBox on Windows 10 with winget and press Enter:

    winget install Oracle.VirtualBox

    winget install VirtualBox
    winget install VirtualBox

After you complete the steps, the package manager will download and install the virtualization application without the need for extra steps.

Configure VirtualBox on Windows 10

Although the default settings will suit more users, VirtualBox comes with many settings and features. In the steps below, we will outline some of the most basic ones everyone should consider changing when working with virtual machines.

Use the following steps to configure VirtualBox settings:

  1. Open VirtualBox.

  2. Click the File menu and select the Preferences option.

    VirtualBox preferences
    VirtualBox preferences
  3. Click on General.

  4. In the Default Machine Folder option, specify the folder location to store the virtual machines. Usually, you want to use an external hard drive since using the primary drive can slow down the system.

    Change vm default folder location
    Change vm default folder location
  5. Click on Update.

  6. Select the Check for updates option.

  7. Confirm the update settings and whether you want to use pre-releases of the software.

    VirtualBox update settings
    VirtualBox update settings
  8. (Optional) Click on Display.

  9. In the Maximum Guest Screen size option, specify the maximum screen resolution for virtual machines.

    Maximum guest screen size settings
    Maximum guest screen size settings
    Quick tip: You can also select the “Hint” option to create a default maximum screen resolution. Usually, you want to leave the default settings, and configure the resolution in the virtual machine settings.
  10. In the Scale Factor option, specify the scale virtual machines should use to make text and visual elements smaller or bigger.

  11. Click the OK button.

After you complete the steps, the custom configuration will apply to the virtualization software.

Since the virtualization application configures NAT (Network Address Translation) automatically on each host you create, you do not need to configure the networking settings to get started. However, VirtualBox includes networking settings to create different host-only adapters as well as bridge, internal network, and more.

Install VirtualBox extension pack on Windows 10

The extension pack is not a requirement, but it enables support for USB 2.0 and 3.0 devices, VirtualBox RDP, drive encryption, NVMe, and PXE boot for Intel Cards.

Use the following steps to install the extension pack for VirtualBox:

  1. Open Oracle download page.

  2. Under the “VirtualBox Extension Pack” section, click the All supported platforms link to download the latest pack.

    Download VirtualBox extension pack
    Download VirtualBox extension pack
  3. Open VirtualBox.

  4. Click the File menu and select the Preferences option.

  5. Click on Extensions.

  6. Click the Adds new package button in the top-right corner.

    Extension settings
    Extension settings
  7. Select the “.vbox-extpack” file containing the extensions.

    vbox-extpack file
    vbox-extpack file
  8. Click the Open button.

  9. Click the Install button.

    Install extension pack
    Install extension pack
  10. Scroll down the page.

  11. Click the I agree button to confirm the terms option.

  12. Click the OK button.

  13. Click the OK button again.

Once you complete the steps, the Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack will install on the device, and then you can proceed with the virtual machine creation, followed by the Guest Additions installation.

If you want to remove it, select the package on the “Extensions” page, and click the Remove Selected Package button in the top-right.