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Installing Windows XP in Oracle VM VirtualBox

Here is a step by step instructions on how to install an Operating System  inside Oracle VM VirtualBox.  We are using a Windows 7 PC where Oracle VM VirtualBox is installed ( for instructions on how to install VirtualBox read this post ).  The operating system (called the Guest OS) can be any supported Operating System by VirtualBox, but for the purpose of demonstration we will be installing Windows XP inside a VirtualBox VM.

 So, lets get started:

 First Things First :

You need to have Windows XP CD or an ISO Image of the CD

You need to have the Serial Number of the Product

For a better performance of your system while running the VirtualBox and OS inside, you need to have 1GB RAM


Part 1: Creating a Virtual Machine

Virtual Machine will act as computer system inside VirtualBox, on this machine we will have hard disks, memory (RAM), CD ROM etc. But everything is virtual :-) don’t get confused, go ahead with below instructions

 From start menu, start Oracle VM VirtualBox

 From the Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager window click on New, a new wizard will be started

 Click Next

Give a name for our Virtual Machine in the Name field, here we call it MyWindowsXP.  From Operating System menu select “Microsoft Windows” and under Version select “Windows XP” and then click on Next


 Now select how much Memory (RAM) should be given to the Virtual Machine, this is the amount of RAM shared from the Physical Machine (our Windows 7 PC) to the Virtual Machine (our MyWindowsXP Machine), if you have 1GB RAM then allocate at least 512MB to the virtual machine. If you have more RAM you can allocate more memory to Virtual Machine

 We got RAM for our Virtual Machine, as any other physical machine required, now we also need a Disk to install Operating System and store Data, leave the default check boxes to create a new Start-up Disk and click Next

 Select “VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image)” and click Next.

                    You can also select “VHD (Virtual Hard Disk)” which will give you some added usage, such as mounting it on your Windows 7 just as a normal Disk in Disk Manager. That’s for an Advanced User, you can go ahead with the VDI option now.

Select Dynamically Allocated, and select Next

 Note:-   You need to have free space on your Windows 7 to store your Virtual Disk File (yes its stored on your Windows 7 PC as a File of extension VDI

                             a) Dynamically allocated: Starts with a new file and grows when ever new data is stored inside Virtual Machine

                             b) Fixed size: in this wizard itself, the file is created to its maximum size (such as if we select 20 GB then a file of 20 GB is created now itself)

 You can leave the default name and location of the Virtual Disk, and Select the amount of GB to be used for the Virtual Disk, for Windows XP you can keep 8 or 10GB, which will suffice most of the basic usage.

 You can review the settings provided for the Virtual Disk and click on Create to continue

 Final chance to continue or cancel the process of creating our new Virtual Machine, Click on Create to create the Virtual Machine

 This is how it looks on the Virtual Box:

 Have a look at the files behind this Virtual Machine, understand by default where the Virtual Machine files are stored, and what are the basic important files

Right Click on the virtual machine and select “Show in Explorer”


Changing Network Adapter Settings:

Note:- This is only required if your Windows 7 is your official laptop/desktop.

By default the virtual machine uses NAT (masking physical network) hence this Virtual Machine (MyWindowsXP) will be directly visible on the Network where the Physical Machine (Windows 7 PC) will be visible.

If its your home PC, below step is not required.

 Right Click on the MyWindowsXP and select “Settings”

 Go to Network option on the left, and then select “Host-only Adapter” from the “Attached to:” drop down list, by default it will be NAT.



Part 2: Installing the Operating System (Windows XP)

Now that we have the machine (virtual machine) with required Memory, Disk, and CPU we need to install the Operating System now.

 Insert the Windows XP (or which ever operating system you are installing) CD or Attach a CD Image (ISO File)

Right click on MyWindowsXP and select Settings

              Using a CD:

              From Settings, Select Storage, then click on the CD Icon “Empty” on the right side -

               Click on the small CD menu and select “Host Drive …” (in my machine its D:”

               Then click on OK


              Using a CD Image (ISO File):

              From Settings, Select Storage, then click on the CD Icon “Empty” on the right side -

              Click on the small CD menu and select “Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file….”


            Select the CD iso file and select Open


             Click on OK to Finish:



Power on the Virtual Machine (MyWindowsXP)

      Select the virtual machine and then click on Start


       Select to not show the message again and click on OK


       The system loads


       The virtual machine load from the CD/ISO attached and Windows Setup Begins


       Since this is for a practice purpose, we will just create one Disk Partition, so Just Press Enter from the Virtual Machine to use complete disk space allocated (here 10GB)


      Select the Third option for NTFS (use down arrow) and hit Enter to continue


       Setup will format the disk now, it will take less than one minute


       Once formatting is done, setup start file copy process, takes around 2 minutes


       Once file copy is done, setup restarts the virtual machine automatically

      DO NOT Press any key, let the setup continue


       Setup starts to install the operating system


       Installing Windows Starts, this will take a couple of minutes so be with patience


      Provide a Name and Organization Name and click on Next, you can see it will take around 30 minutes to complete


       Give a name to our virtual machine something like MYXP and a password for administrator account, I gave 123 as a simple password, you can make is blank also – click on Next to continue


       Now the Installation continues to next steps


       Setup now does finalizing steps, we are almost there


      Once done, machine restarts, leave it to continue


       Click OK to the Display Adjustment prompt


      Please read the message, and click OK or Cancel



               On some Windows XP installations, Before getting onto below Logon screen you might get few other screens for configuring network or user settings, for all the steps if there is “Skip” button, click on Skip otherwise just click on Next, and for user account name, provide a user name.

       Click on the User Account to login and if there was a password assigned, enter it


      System Logs you in and loads a windows profile for you and then presents you the Desktop


      This completes our Windows XP base Installation.  Now we will run through basic configurations to be done to make our XP machine a working platform.  Follow below instructions to complete these.

      Installation of Guest Additions (this will make working on Virtual Machine smooth and easy

      From Devices menu, select “Install Guest Additions…”


       A wizard for the Guest Tools Installation gets started, click Next to continue  


      Click Next


       Click on Install


      Setup progress


      During the Additions installation you might get multiple prompts like below, always click “Continue Anyway”


       Once completed, select “Reboot now” and click on “Finish” or Hit Enter

      After Reboot, Login to the Virtual Machine


       Disabling Security Feature:

      Once on the desktop, double click on the Security Center


      Scroll down and click on “Windows Firewall”


      Select “Off (not recommended)” and then click OK


       Click on “Automatic Updates” now


       Select “Turn Off Automatic Updates.” and then click on Apply and OK

       Close the Security Center window


       This completes our basic configuration of the XP machine.


Working with Virtual Machine in Oracle VM VirtualBox

      How to start a Virtual Machine?

           Select the Virtual Machine to start and click on Start Button


           If you get a prompt like below, select “Do not show this message again” and click on OK 


      How to login to your Virtual Machine?

          Once started, click on the User Account to logon, if asked for password provide your password



     How to make the screen Full Screen?

          On the view menu, select “Switch to Full Screen”


          Click on Switch to switch to full scree, and the key to switch back to window mode is “Right Ctrl” + F  (Right Ctrl – it’s the Control Button on the right side of the keyboard)

          If you are sure to remember the Key Combination for future use, then you can select the check box “Do not show this message again” so that this dialogue is not shown again.


     How to perform a Ctrl + Atl + Del  to the Virtual Machine?

           On the Machine menu select  “Insert Ctrl-Alt-Del” or you can press “Host+Del”

           Host is by default Ctrl Key so its Ctrl+Del



     What are the options to Shutdown or Stop running virtual machine?

             When you are done with working on the Virtual Machine, click on the close button on the window


      Below options appear, see explanation below and select the correct option and click on OK

  1. Save the machine state
    • If you select this option, what ever is kept open inside virtual machine or any running program are kept running and the state of the Virtual Machine is saved,
    • The Next time you start the virtual machine, it will be having all the open files and programs as it is while running.
    • Its always good to close all open applications and files before closing the virtual machine
  1. Send the shutdown signal
    • This option is similar to selecting Shutdown option from Start Menu
    • The system is shutdown properly and virtual machine is closed
  1. Power Off the machine
    • This is same as, pressing the power button on the Physical Machine CPU
    • All open files and programs are not saved and will be closed



     How to start a Saved Virtual Machine?

              If you have Saved virtual machine, you can start it like below by clicking on Start, just as starting a virtual machine which is powered off


 Note:- if you are getting any error while starting the saved virtual machine, you can Discard the saved state, what this does is something like switching power off without closing all open files and applications.

     How to discard the Saved State of a Virtual Machine?



     How to insert a CD onto the Virtual Machine?

           Using the physical CD/DVD Drive and accessing it inside Virtual Machine:

           Use the Devices Menu, and then CD/DVD Devices and select “Host Drive X:” (X will be any letter corresponding to your Physical System (Windows 7) CD Drive


                Mounting an ISO image as CD/DVD:

                   From CD/DVD Devices option select “Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file…”


                  Select the CD iso file and select Open


                  Now you can see the CD mounted as a drive inside the Virtual Machine


     How to share and access a file from my Windows 7 (Physical PC) to the Virtual Machine?

               Shared Folders, makes you access data which is on your base (physical) machine from within Virtual Machine, this is helpful in scenarios such as when you want to install an application in virtual machine and the source file is in a folder on your base machine.

                    Click on Devices Menu and select Shared Folders


                   Click on the Add Shared Folder button


                    Click on Other from the drop down list


                     Browse for the folder you want to share and click on OK


                    Select the options “Auto-mount” and “Make Permanent”

                    These options will make it available as a Drive in virtual machine and keep the settings always on this virtual machine


                      Click on OK to complete the settings


                       Now log off the virtual machine and login back, and you can see the shared folder as a drive in my computer, you can copy the data from this drive to the virtual machine or can just directly open it from this drive

                          In my virtual machine, the shared folder named “myfiles” where showing as E Drive



This complete this article on installing Windows XP (for that matter any other operating system including Windows 8 Beta if you have) in a Oracle VM VirtualBox, Virtual Machine.

 I hope this is of help to someone.


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  1. Sayedur
    December 1st, 2012 at 14:23 | #1

    It was a great help. Thank you!! However, (1) I don’t see a shared folder from host OS as a drive in the Windows XP Guest OS, and (2) Cannot install any software, it says insufficient RAM no matter how much physical RAM I allocate for the VM… any clue?


  2. December 1st, 2012 at 19:27 | #2

    @Sayedur for shared folder to appear as drive, the auto-mount and make permenant should be selected. about RAM – i am not sure, how much RAM your physical machine has?

  3. Udin
    May 4th, 2013 at 18:03 | #3

    wow very useful for me, Can I share on my blog, by changing into my language?

  4. May 15th, 2013 at 09:54 | #4

    @Udin Sure, for learning and sharing you can use this post.