VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware, targeted at server, desktop and embedded use. For a thorough introduction to virtualization and VirtualBox, please refer to the online version of the VirtualBox User Manual’s first chapter.
VirtualBox is open-source software for virtualizing the x86 computing architecture. It acts as a hypervisor, creating a VM (virtual machine) in which the user can run another OS (operating system).
The operating system in which VirtualBox runs is called the “host” OS. The operating system running in the VM is called the “guest” OS. VirtualBox supports Windows, Linux, or MacOS as its host OS.
When configuring a virtual machine, the user can specify how many CPU cores, and how much RAM and disk space should be devoted to the VM. When the VM is running, it can be “paused.” System execution is frozen at that moment in time, and the user can resume using it later.
VirtualBox was originally developed by Innotek GmbH, and released on January 17, 2007 as an open-source software package. The company was later purchased by Sun Microsystems. On January 27, 2010, Oracle Corporation purchased Sun, and took over development of VirtualBox.
Supported guest operating systems
Guest operating systems supported by VirtualBox include:
- Windows 10, 8, 7, XP, Vista, 2000, NT, and 98.
- Linux distributions based on Linux kernel 2.4 and newer, including Ubuntu, Debian, OpenSUSE, Mandriva/Mandrake, Fedora, RHEL, and Arch Linux.
- Solaris and OpenSolaris.
- macOS X Server Leopard and Snow Leopard.
- OpenBSD and FreeBSD.
- BeOS R5.