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Once Again, No Access to Shared Folder

PostPosted: 28. Mar 2009, 23:25
by MarvF
Mac OS X 10.4.11 (Tiger) running on a Mac Pro, August 2006 edition, 4 processors, 2.6 GHz.

VirtualBox 2.1.4, the most recent, integrated Mac download.

Guest is WinXP - should be a nice, known, stable platform, no?

I created "VBShare" on the Mac host (desktop, Applications, user, various places) as the shared folder. I pointed to "VBShare" via VirtualBox. Great.

But do I see VirtualBox anything under My Network Places?? No.

There are several ways to access My Network Places on windows - they all fail equally. I tried Windows IE, Firefox, desktop icons, mapping the network drive etc and etc.

I tried the "net use x: \\vboxsvr\VBShare" command - that fails too of course. OK, maybe you need the full path and just didn't bother to say so:
%net use x: \\vboxsvr\pathstuff\VBShare

No, that fails too, nothing shows up in My Network Lack of Mac Places.

I went to Terminal and tried to figure out the cryptic reference to %VBoxManage -help, as made in one forum post, but no luck there. It is still a great mystery, and obviously the manual is no help whatsoever.

So why doesn't the VM see the network on the host machine?

Thank you for any help.

And now a rant for Sun:

<begin rant>
The continuing failure of VirtualBox to support a most basic feature like finding a shared drive, after all this time, on not-exactly-cutting-edge software editions, screams either "amateur" or "don't give a damn" labels for the fine software engineers at Sun who are providing this otherwise very interesting PC emulator platform.

The failure of whoever wrote the user manual to provide a logical, step-by-step explanation of whatever they are talking about underlines the above statement. I assume Sun employs technical editors? No?

C'mon guys - I'm no Win geek - but I am a senior level Physics Ph.D. (really) and if you are confusing me then what are you doing to everyone else. Such basic failures completely undercut the goal of producing this platform, and at the cost of what has to be a very minor part of the overall effort. It makes you look like a Keystone Cops software effort.

If you are going to go to all the effort to provide a platform then how about doing just that 3% extra effort to make basic features actually work and make the instructions understandable so people can follow them, don't scream and spend hours of frustrated useless labor, and have to clutter up the forum with the same question over and over.

Thank you.
<end rant>

Re: Once Again, No Access to Shared Folder

PostPosted: 29. Mar 2009, 14:53
by jonnix
With respect; Have you installed the Guest Additions?
Devices > Install Guest Additions...

I find the best way to 'share a folder' is to initiate the share whilst logged into the client, then from the VirtualBox VM (mac) menu
Devices > Shared Folders...
(add the Shared Folder using this dialog. Note that the Folder Name field MUST be one_word_only).

This works for me but I don't use VirtualBox under Tiger. Hope this was helpful.

Re: Once Again, No Access to Shared Folder

PostPosted: 29. Mar 2009, 17:24
by MarvF
I thought Guest Additions was automatically installed via the integrated Mac OS X download, but apparently not.

"Devices" is a menu item you see in the Mac side menu *when the VM is running and visible on the Mac desktop*.

Mac Menu->Devices->Install Guest Additions

Guest Additions installs seamlessly minus some bogus warnings that Guest Additions has not been vetted for Win XP.

Guess what, VirtualBox Shared Folders now shows up under "Entire Network" in "My Network Places" however this is accessed.

Shared Folders works great.

The mouse integration is also very nice.

Sun programmers seem to have done their job quite well. Rant retracted for them.

The manual definitely needs revision. Technically speaking in §4.1 it does sorta mention that Guest Additions is installed while the VM is running, but neglects to mention how the user can actually download Guest Additions. Worse, Paragraph 2 of §4.1 quickly descends into misleading, irrelevant and wrong geekspeak (probably outdated, referring to CD installation) that will only confuse download users. §4.6 on shared folders omits Guest Additions information entirely.
<end editorial>

Thanks, this is a simple problem to fix if the information is simply provided to the user.

Re: Once Again, No Access to Shared Folder

PostPosted: 29. Mar 2009, 18:24
by vbox4me2
Apart from ranting there is nobody stopping you from rewriting this and submitting it, but I guess it is easier to rant away then contributing.

Re: Once Again, No Access to Shared Folder

PostPosted: 29. Mar 2009, 21:12
by MarvF
I tried to contribute by writing carefully and in detail in this forum as a resource to others with the same problem, which seems to be common.

As a newbie to an open source community it did not occur to me I could make an impact beyond the forum.

I am willing to help rewrite the manual. I surfed the forum and the site but it is not clear how to do this.


seems to concern code only. It is not clear how one contributes to documentation.

Instructions welcome.

Re: Once Again, No Access to Shared Folder

PostPosted: 29. Mar 2009, 21:32
by vbox4me2
There are other ways, for example you can write it in the suggestions forum, or create a ticket, I'm sure Sun people here will pick it up, or send them a PM via the forum.

Re: Once Again, No Access to Shared Folder

PostPosted: 5. Apr 2009, 16:07
by avdezign
I know this seems to have adressed the question, but I must be missing a step somewhere cause after all that I still don't get how to access this shared folder. I'm sure this is just a lack of understanding of the PC side of the machine that I don't get.

Is there a step by step guide somewhere to setup a shared folder with VB? Something in the style of an idiot guide. :)

I have an iMac 2009 with
- I have Windows XP Pro with service pack 3 installed on the virtual machine and all is working fine
- I have installed Guess Additions
- I have selected my both my "Shared" and"Public" folder of my Mac for sharing the VM menu

Then what?

This is where I don't get it, where are these folder supposed to appear or be accessible from on the PC side of the machine?

Thanks for your help!

Re: Once Again, No Access to Shared Folder

PostPosted: 5. Apr 2009, 17:14
by MarvF
The shared folders thing is a several step process.

1. In VirtualBox *with* the Virtual Machine (VM) running and in front on the Mac dekstop (so the correct Mac menu will show), download & install Guest Additions via the menu on the Mac side, Menu->Devices->Install Guest Additions.

2. On the Mac side, create or decide on which Mac folders you want to be shared and where they will be. (Start with one until you understand the implications.)

3. Let VirtualBox know which Mac folders will be shared and where they will be. There are a couple of ways to do this. (1) On the bottom of the VB frame around your VM, click on the little blue folder icon. This brings up a pane showing status of shared folders. To add a shared (Mac) folder to the VB inventory, click on the blue folder icon with a "+" sign and browse to where the Mac folder is, then select. Or, (2) With the VM on the Mac desktop & in front, Mac Menu->Devices->Shared Folders and do the same thing. Note the Shared Folders choice is just two positions up from Install Guest Additions so you've been here before.

Now VB knows you have a shared folder, but you need to find and access the shared (Mac) folder in your virtual PC.

4. What you need to get to on the PC is "My Network Places." There are various ways of doing this.

On the PC virtually every browser (IE, Firefox, Safari) provides an independent means of file access via Browser Menu->File->Open File. On the left hand side of the Open Files pane you will find "My Network." Click on "My Network" and a new internal pane shows up displaying "Entire Network." Double Click on "Entire Network" and if life is good you will see two items come up, being Microsoft Windows Network and VirtualBox Shared Folders. Double click on VirtualBox Shared Folders. You should see the shared Mac folder you designated earlier in VirtualBox. You could make a shortcut to the shared folder with an option-click-drag to the PC desktop. But, this doesn't work (at least not in WinXP). Instead you have to map the folder to a fake drive (it's a Windows thing, welcome to Windows). Right click (option-click) on the shared folder and select "Map Network Drive". A network mapping pane comes up. Decide what letter your fake drive is going to be, make sure the shared folder is indicated in the second line, accept your fate (click on Finish).

So where is the mapped drive? Well in Windows you have to go find your drives. Click on the green "Start" button on the lower left of your VM, then "My Computer". Voila, your mapped drive is there. Note each shared folder will have to have its own mapped drive. You can create mapped drive shortcuts and put them on your desktop (or a folder) for easy access to shared folders.

While you are in "My Computer" note the "My Network Places" choice on the left hand side. This gives you the same opportunity to map a network drive to your shared folder. You can also make a shortcut to My Network Places for your desktop or wherever you wish.

Re: Once Again, No Access to Shared Folder

PostPosted: 5. Apr 2009, 17:58
by avdezign
Oh my, this was indeed nothing like I expected, and even less something I would have figured out for myself. Thanks so much for this, I now have a working folder to transfer stuff instead of having to copy stuff with my thumb drive. I kind of felt silly doing that since the windows was just right there. :)

Thanks again for your help.