Sun xVM VirtualBox is a powerful x86 virtualization product for home and enterprise use which supports a large number of guest operating systems such as Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, 7), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4 and 2.6), Solaris and OpenSolaris, and OpenBSD. VirtualBox also has Shared Folders feature, which is common among virtualization solutions to provide easy data exchange between hosts and gusts.

In Sun xVM Virtual Box, VirtualBox allows user to select and declare folders and directories on host machine as “shared folders”. After setting the shared folders, user can then access these shared folders from within the guest operating system of the virtual machines. In Windows XP and Vista guest, user can see the VirtualBox Shared Folders from within its entire network neighborhood.

In order to access the host machine operating system shared folders from VirtualBox virtual machine running Windows 7, be it Windows, Mac OS X, Linux (Ubuntu) or others, just start with normal standard step to set up shared folders in the Windows 7 virtual machine. In most cases, there is no need to worry about file and printer sharing for Microsoft Network protocol or Samba requirements. No Guest Additions is required to install too.

  1. In VirtualBox virtual machine window, go to Devices pull down menu and click on Shared Folders.
  2. Click on Add New Shared Folder (Ins) icon on the right. Then browse and select a folder located on host computer that want to be shared with guest computer. Optionally, enter a custom folder name to be known in guest virtual machine. Finish off with OK button.

    Create New Shared Folder in VirtualBox Virtual Machine

    Note: In Folder Path, click and select “Other” to view complete directory tree on the host machine.

  3. Run Windows Explorer in Windows 7 virtual box machine.
  4. Type the following into the address bar to access the shared folder:

    \\vboxsvr\<Shared Folder Name>

    Replace <Shared Folder Name> with the actual folder name used to define the share. For example, \\vboxsvr\Desktop, or \\vboxsrv\media in Linux to access USB, CD-DVD and other media. The shared folders must be explicitly declared in VirtualBox to work.

    Access Host Shared Folder from Virtual Box Machine

  5. The folder’s content on the host computer should be shown inside the guest virtual machine, allowing files and fodlers to be transferred and copied.
  6. Optionally, map a network drive to the shared folder (which should be made permanent) by going to Computer folder, and click on Map Network Driver. Then enter the similar path into Folder text box.