How to install VirtualBox on Windows 11, 10

You can use VirtualBox to run different OSes alongside Windows 11 (or 10), and in this guide, you'll learn the steps to install and configure the virtualization software.

VirtualBox installation
VirtualBox installation

Oracle’s VirtualBox is a free virtualization application you can install on Windows 11 (or 10), Mac, and Linux 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 virtualization technology to test pre-releases of Windows 11 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 your current setup.

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 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, and older versions, 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 the steps to install and configure the basic settings to get started with VirtualBox on Windows 11 and Windows 10.

Install VirtualBox on Windows 11, 10

To install VirtualBox on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Oracle download page.

  2. Under the “VirtualBox binaries” section, click the “Windows hosts” option and save the installers on the computer.

    VirtualBox download

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

  4. Click the Next button.

  5. Click the Next button again.

    VirtualBox default install settings

    Quick note: You don’t have to change the default setup settings unless you have specific requirements to install VirtualBox.
  6. (Optional) Clear the options you do not want to use.

  7. Click the Next button to continue with the VirtualBox installation.

  8. Click the Yes button to confirm the virtual network adapter install warning on Windows 11.

    VirtualBox network adapter warning

  9. Click the Yes button to install any missing dependencies (if applicable).

  10. Click the Install button.

  11. Click the Finish button.

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

Installation with winget command

Alternatively, you can 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, searching the application to execute the correct install command is a good practice.
  4. Type the following command to install VirtualBox on Windows 11 (or 10) with winget and press Enter:

    winget install Oracle.VirtualBox

    winget install VirtualBox

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

Configure VirtualBox on Windows 11

Although the default settings will suit more users, VirtualBox has 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.

To configure VirtualBox settings, use these steps:

  1. Open VirtualBox.

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

    VirtualBox preferences

  3. Click on General.

  4. In the Default Machine Folder option, specify the folder location to store the virtual machines on Windows 11. Usually, you want to use an external hard drive since using the primary drive can slow down the system.

    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

  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

    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, select 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 and bridges, internal networks, and more.

Install VirtualBox extension pack on Windows 11

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

To install the extension pack for VirtualBox, use these steps:

  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

  3. Open VirtualBox.

  4. Click the File menu, select the Tools submenu, and choose the “Extension Pack Manager” option.

    Extension Pack Manager

  5. Click the Install button.

  6. Select the “.vbox-extpack” file containing the extensions.

  7. Click the Open button.

  8. Click the Install button.

    Install extension pack

  9. Scroll down the page.

  10. Click the “I agree button to confirm the terms” option.

  11. Click the OK button.

  12. Click the OK button again.

Once you complete the steps, the Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack will install on the device. Then you can proceed with the virtual machine creation and 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.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].