Oracle VM VirtualBox is an industrial-strength open source virtualisation tool that makes it easy to create virtual machines (VMs), simulated computers that run on your PC but act as though they were separate systems. It's a powerful capability that has many different applications.
If you'd like a closer look at Windows 10 before you upgrade, for instance, then you could install Microsoft's latest in a VM, then access it in a window on your XP or Vista desktop.
Or maybe you've upgraded to Windows 10 and find a favourite old app doesn't work any more? Create a Windows XP VM and you might be able to run it again.
VirtualBox can also be a useful security tool: if you download and test apps in a VM, then any malware you might encounter will be isolated from your main system.
And it's the perfect choice if you want to try out another operating system with the minimum of hassle. Right now you can install Google Chrome OS, all the mainstream Linux variants (2.4 and 2.6), OpenBSD, OS/2, ReactOS, SkyOS, DOS, and just about every version of Windows there's ever been. (Of course you'll need to have the system discs to hand.)
VirtualBox 6 included an interface redesign, making it easier to view and manage your virtual machines. VM displays can now be scaled, so you can reduce a window size by half (for instance) and still see everything that's going on. The ability to limit a VM's CPU and IO time means the program will be less of a drain on your system's resources, and there are a host of other performance optimisations and bug fixes available.
This professional quality virtualization package must be one of the most powerful open source tools around
What's new in VirtualBox 6.1.34 (see changelog for more)?
- VMM: Fix instruction emulation for "cmpxchg16b"
- GUI: Improved GUI behavior on macOS Big Sur and later when kernel extensions are not loadedEHCI: Addressed an issue with handling short packets (bug #20726)
- Storage: Fixed a potential hang during disk I/O when the host I/O cache is disabled (bug #20875)
- NVMe: Fixed loading saved state when nothing is attached to it (bug #20791)
- DevPcBios: Addressed an issue which resulted in rejecting the detected LCHS geometry when the head count was above 16
- E1000: Improve descriptor handling
- VBoxManage: Fixed handling of command line arguments with incomplete quotes (bug #20740)
- VBoxManage: Improved 'natnetwork list' output
- VBoxManage: NATNetwork: Provide an option (--ipv6-prefix) to set IPv6 prefix
- VBoxManage: NATNetwork: Provide an option (--ipv6-default) to advertise default IPv6 route (bug #20714)
- VBoxManage: Fix documentation of "usbdevsource add" (bug #20849)
- Networking: General improvements in IPv4 and IPv6 area (bug #20714)
- OVF Import: Allow users to specify a different storage controller and/or controller port for hard disks when importing a VM
- Unattended install: Improvements
- Shared Clipboard: Improved HTML clipboard handling for Windows host
- MacOS host: Fix handling of non-ASCII characters in the guest control functionality (bug #20792)
- Linux host and guest: Introduced initial support for kernel 5.17
- Solaris package: Fixes for API access from Python
- Solaris IPS package: Suppress dependency on libpython2.7.so.*
- Linux host and guest: Fixes for Linux kernel 5.14
- Linux Guest Additions: Fixed guest screen resize for older guests which are running libXrandr older than version 1.4
- Linux Guest Additions: Introduced initial support for RHEL 8.6 kernels (bug #20877)
- Windows guest: Make driver install smarter
- Solaris guest: Addressed an issue which prevented VBox GAs 6.1.30 or 6.1.32 from being removed in Solaris 10 guests (bug #20780)
- EFI: Fixed booting from FreeBSD ISO images (bug #19910)