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Setting up a Virtual Windows XP Machine using VirtualBox

Creating the Virtual Machine
1) Install the latest version of VirtualBox (4.3 at time of writing)

2) Click the New button to start the “Create New Virtual Machine Wizard”
3) Click Next
4) Under “VM Name and OS Type” name your Virtual Machine something sensible (eg. Windows XP) but make sure you choose “Microsoft Windows” as Type and “Windows XP” as Version so VirtualBox can automatically give you the best default settings for your Virtual Machine

5) Click Next
6) Choose something appropriate for the RAM size, maybe 512 for Windows XP if you have less than 4GB of RAM, or 1024 if you have more than 4GB (If in doubt 512 should be enough, and you can always increase it later)

7) Now let VirtualBox create you a new virtual hard drive
8) Click Next to start the Create New Virtual Disk Wizard
9) Use Dynamically Expanding for most disks and set it to 80GB (you can always add more disks later if you need them)



10) Click Next and click Finish to create the disk
11) Congratulations, you have created a blank Virtual Machine ready to install Windows XP

Tweaking the Settings for Better Performance
12) Go to the Display tab, and set the Graphics Memory to 128MB and tick the boxes for 3D acceleration and 2D Video Acceleration

13) Once done you can close the settings windows

Installing Windows XP inside the Virtual Machine
14) Click Start
15) You’ll get the First Run Wizard which helps a lot, first thing it does is ask where your installation media is – click the little folder to browse for your Windows XP ISO (or insert your Windows XP CD/DVD and click Next if you’re installing from CD/DVD)
16) Click Finish on the next screen and your Virtual Windows XP Machine should start to boot & install
17) If you lose your mouse pointer during installation remember Right Ctrl brings it back
18) Follow through installing Windows XP as if you are on a real machine

Tweaking Windows XP inside the Virtual Machine
19) Once install is finished you MUST install the VirtualBox Additions – click on devices in the menu-bar at the top of the VM and choose “Install Guest Additions”
20) If you want full 3D support you have to install the guest additions again with the Virtual Windows XP Machine in safe mode (press F8 while the Virtual Machine is starting to get the boot options and choose Safe Mode)
21) Once you’ve got the additions in, you can set up a shared folder so you can share files between host & guest – click on devices in the menu-bar at the top of the VM and choose “Shared Folders”
22) Click the green plus sign on the right to add a shared folder
23) Click the down arrow in the blank next to Folder Path and choose Other to browse to your folder
24) Click Make Permanent if you want this share to be available every time you boot your Virtual Windows XP Machine
25) Click OK and you are done
26) To access the share just type \\VBOXSVR in a run window, hit enter and the shared folder will show up
27) I always map a network drive (usually Z: ) to the share for convenience
28) Now I can just browse to Z: in my VM and I can see the shared area on my host PC:

Now you can install any software you like just as you would a real PC
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