Shared Folders in VirtualBox

Users of Virtualization software like Microsoft’s Virtual PC and VMWare must be aware of the drag & drop functionality, available for files and folders. However, in VirtualBox, this feature is not available.

So, to make file sharing between the Host Operating system and the Guest Operating system easier, VirtualBox has a feature called Shared Folders.

The process involves making a folder of the Host Operating system available to the Guest operating system. When I first used VirtualBox, I tried the Shared Folders option, and met with little success.

Guides available in the Internet were not so comprehensive. So, I’ve decided to put up a step-by-step illustrated guide to enable the Shared Folders option in VirtualBox.

Just follow the instructions given below, and you can have the Shared Folders option, up and working in now time. 🙂

Note: For this guide, I’ve used Windows XP SP2 as the Host Operating system and Windows Vista Ultimate ( 32 – bit) as the Guest Operating System.

1. Start the Virtual Machine (in this case, Vista) and log in. Once the desktop is visible, click on Devices -> Install Guest Additions. ( Alternatively, you can press the Host Key+P )

Click Devices -> Install Guest Additions

Click Devices -> Install Guest Additions

2. The Sun VirtualBox Guest Additions 3.0.2 Setup dialog box appears. Click on the Next button.

Guest Additions 3.0.2 Setup Wizard

Guest Additions 3.0.2 Setup Wizard

3. The License Agreement page appears. Click on the I Agree button.

License Agreement

License Agreement Page

4. In this page, select where you’d like to install the VirtualBox Guest Additions, and click on the Next button.

Choose your Installation Location

Choose your Installation Location

5. In this page, choose the components you’d like to install. By default, the Direct3D Support checkbox will be unchecked. Enable it and press the Install button.

Select Components to be installed

Select Components to be installed

6.  Wait while the Guest Additions are being installed.

Installation in Progress

Installation in Progress

7. After the components have been installed, it is necessary to restart your computer to complete the installation process. Click on the Reboot Now radio button, and press the Finish button.

Restart your computer

Restart your computer

8. Now for the folder sharing part. In your Virtual Machine, at the bottom-right, you have a folder-like icon. Right click on it. The Shared Folders dialog box appears.

Shared Folders Dialog box

Shared Folders Dialog box

9. Click on the Add Share button on the right side of the Shared Folders dialog box.

Click on "Add Share" icon

Click on "Add Share" icon

10. The Add Share dialog box appears. In the Folder Path drop-down list, select Other.

Select "Other" in Folder Path

Select "Other" in Folder Path

11. The Browse for Folder dialog box appears. Choose the folder that you’d like to share between the Host and the Guest operating system and press the OK button. In this example, I’ve chosen a folder named Access in the D drive. For your information, the folder to be shared should be selected from the Host operating system. (Windows XP in this case)

Select the folder to be shared

Select the folder to be shared

12. Now the path of the folder to be shared appears in the Add Share dialog box. Click on the OK button.

Folder added

Folder added

13. The folder is finally added under Transient Folders. Now press the OK button.

Added folder is being displayed

Added folder is being displayed

14. Now that the folder sharing configurations have been completed, the next step is to access the folder from within the Guest operating system and also from the Host operating system.

To do this, open up a Windows Explorer window in the Guest operating system, and choose Tools -> Map Network Drive…

Choose Tools -> Map Network Drive

Choose Tools -> Map Network Drive

15. The Map Network Drive dialog box appears. Choose any drive letter and in the Folder text box, type

\\vboxsvr\SharedFolderName

which in this case would be,

\\vboxsvr\Access

Since, Access is the name of the folder I had earlier configured to be shared. (Refer Step 11)

Click on the Finish button.

Add folder path

Add folder path

16. Now, the Shared Folder will appear in the Explorer window.

Shared Folder in Windows Explorer

Shared Folder in Windows Explorer

17. Double click on the Shared Folder to open it and access its contents.

Files can be accessed now

Files can be accessed now

So, you’ve reached the end of this guide on how to go about with the Shared Folders feature available in VirtualBox. Do post your comments and suggestions :).

Do let me know if you have any queries. Have fun 🙂

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About Manikandan Surendren

A PeopleSoft Techno-functional Consultant. An engineering graduate in Computer Science. Technology Enthusiast. Movie freak. Gadget geek.
This entry was posted in Virtualization. Bookmark the permalink.

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