How to Easily Share Files Between your Host OS and Virtual Machine in VirtualBox

After installing an operating system in VirtualBox, one of the biggest questions that come to mind is how to share files between the host OS and the virtual machine. Fortunately, there is a simple method in VirtualBox that allows you to create a shared folder. In this guide, we will show you how to create and use a Shared Folder in VirtualBox to seamlessly transfer files between the host operating system and VM.

Create Shared Folder in VirtualBox

To create a shared folder, follow these steps:

  1. Open VirtualBox on your computer.
  2. Select the guest operating system and click the Settings button.
  3. Go to the Shared Folders section and click on the Folder with the Plus icon.
  4. Select the folder that you want to share with both the host and guest OS.
  5. Choose the Other option from the drop-down menu next to the Folder Path.
  6. Create a new folder or choose a folder from your Windows PC and click Select Folder.
  7. Check the box next to the Auto-mount option and click OK.

To add more folders to the Shared Folders list, you can repeat the same steps. Finally, click OK and you will be brought back to your VirtualBox home screen.

Access Shared Folder in VirtualBox

Now that you have created the shared folder in VirtualBox, it won't magically appear in your guest operating system. To make it accessible, you need to install VirtualBox Guest Additions on your guest OS. Here's a step-by-step process:

  1. Start your virtual machine.
  2. Once logged in, click on the Devices tab and select the Insert Guest Additions CD image option.
  3. Open File Explorer (Windows Key + E) and go to This PC. You will see a new drive named VirtualBox Guest Additions.
  4. Click on it to initiate the installation process on your Windows OS. Once the installation is completed, reboot your guest OS.

That's it. Now all your Shared Folders will easily be accessible from File Explorer. In case the shared folder is not showing, add the Mount Point while creating a shared folder.

Remove Shared Folder From VirtualBox

To remove the Shared Folders from VirtualBox, simply click on Devices > Shared Folders > Shared Folders Settings. Then select the folder that you want to remove and click the Folder with the Cross icon. After that, click OK.

Limitations of Using Shared Folders in VirtualBox

While the Shared Folders method provides a seamless file transfer experience, they do come with some limitations:

  • In order to access shared folders, you need to install VirtualBox Guest Additions in the guest VM.
  • If you mistakenly delete any file from the guest OS, it will also get deleted from the host OS.
  • While the shared folders feature is widely supported across most modern operating systems, it may not be fully compatible with some less-known or older OSes.
  • If the guest VM is infected with malware, it could potentially transmit the malware to the host system through the shared folders.

Alternative Method to Transfer Files Between VM and Host

Shared Folder is a great way to transfer files between the host system and VM. However, if you're looking for an alternative, the Drag and Drop feature is the solution you can go with.

Simply navigate to Devices > Drag and Drop and then choose the Bidirectional option. Now you can easily drag-n-drop files between VirtualBox and the host machine.

Discover the Magic of Shared Folders in VirtualBox

Shared Folders in VirtualBox is undoubtedly one of the handiest tools which makes sharing files between the host OS and virtual machine seamless. We hope the above guide helped you set up a shared VirtualBox folder on your Windows VM.