How to locate virtual HD when creating first V Machine

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How to locate virtual HD when creating first V Machine

Postby trakkal » 24. Mar 2010, 13:54

Yesterday I installed VirtualBox (for the first time) on a computer running Win7 Pro 64bit. No problem there, but when I tried to create my first Virtual Machine I could see no way to position the Virtual Disk where I wanted. The window "Virtual Disk Location and Size" has the following statement: "Press the Select button to select the location of a file to store the hard disk data or type a file name in the entry field". This field already had the name I'd given the Virtual Machine, but there was no button labelled "Select". Pressing the un-named button at the end of the field showed a path to somewhere in the User data in C Drive, but I could see no easy way to change it.

This computer has two SATA HDDs. The main (180GB) has three partitions - C for the OS and programs, D for data and E for 'extras'. The other (320GB) has two partitions - F for multimedia and G for backups. I use Acronis True Image to make backup images of C Drive every couple of weeks, so I keep it as small as practicable (about 30GB with 50% free). Therefore, I do not want a virtual drive/machine on C Drive.

I downloaded the PDF User Manual - it seems that the virtual drive/machine is a file which can be located in any active drive/partition with enough room, including external drives. Apparently it can also be installed on it's own drive/partition. However, it was not clear to me how to do this.

I would like to my virtual drives/machines on Drive G (about 170GB). How do I do this, please?
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Re: How to locate virtual HD when creating first V Machine

Postby tb2571989 » 24. Mar 2010, 14:19

I expect you want to shange the settings shown here. You will need to create the VirtualBox folder, as well as the two I have called Hard Disks and Machine Settings. This will default store all Virtual Disk and machine settings here.

This will work, but bear in mind that there is a .virtualbox folder in your documents which may have to be moved.
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Re: How to locate virtual HD when creating first V Machine

Postby mpack » 24. Mar 2010, 14:55

tb2571989 wrote:This will work, but bear in mind that there is a .virtualbox folder in your documents which may have to be moved.

If you've relocated the "hard disks" and "machines" folders then the only thing store in <userdata>/.VirtualBox is the "VirtualBox.xml" file, and I can't think of many reasons why that would have to be moved - it's tiny.
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Re: How to locate virtual HD when creating first V Machine

Postby tb2571989 » 24. Mar 2010, 15:02

I know it's tiny but I'd though I'd mention it, you know, just in case.
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Re: How to locate virtual HD when creating first V Machine

Postby trakkal » 25. Mar 2010, 07:16

Thanks guys. I have now set up a virtual drive (fixed size 20GB) and virtual XP machine on my Drive G. As you have said, there is a ".VirtualBox" folder containing both "VirtualBox.xml" and a "Machines" folder in C:\Users\Mike\, but the total size is less than 100kB. However, there is nothing extra visible in Drive G (even with System and Hidden files/folders enabled) - but there is about 20GB more on G than is contained in the visible folders. Is this normal?

Presumably, loading an OS on the virtual drive is the same as loading it on a stand-alone computer - it needs a valid product key, and Microsoft systems need to be activated. Is this correct?

Also, I notice that many of you run multiple VMs on an XP host. How do you get around the XP RAM limit if you allocate a reasonable amount to each VM?
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Re: How to locate virtual HD when creating first V Machine

Postby mpack » 25. Mar 2010, 10:41

trakkal wrote:However, there is nothing extra visible in Drive G (even with System and Hidden files/folders enabled) - but there is about 20GB more on G than is contained in the visible folders.

Nope, sounds like something was messed up. It's best to designate an existing folder (you create it if necessary) to store the VDI files. I suspect that your VDI went into the G root folder. It will work fine from there, but this isn't very tidy.

trakkal wrote:Presumably, loading an OS on the virtual drive is the same as loading it on a stand-alone computer - it needs a valid product key, and Microsoft systems need to be activated. Is this correct?

A VM is a real PC in all respects, except that the hardware is simulated. If in doubt, apply your question as if you had a second PC. So, if you install Windows on a second PC, does it need to be activated? - well of course.

trakkal wrote:Also, I notice that many of you run multiple VMs on an XP host. How do you get around the XP RAM limit if you allocate a reasonable amount to each VM?

We don't run many at once. OTOH, XP guests do fine with 512MB RAM, so a 4GB XP host could run several of those if we wanted to. If you are talking about the 1.5GB limit, that applies to each VM individually, not all together.
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Re: How to locate virtual HD when creating first V Machine

Postby tb2571989 » 25. Mar 2010, 11:11

Just to echo what MPACK said above, as you may have seen in my screenshot I had 4 visiable VMs. As the computer I was running them on only had 2gb of RAM i could could run two togther without a performace hit so it's the RAM you have assigned to the computers while they are switched on that matters.
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Re: How to locate virtual HD when creating first V Machine

Postby trakkal » 25. Mar 2010, 12:54

trakkal wrote:However, there is nothing extra visible in Drive G (even with System and Hidden files/folders enabled) - but there is about 20GB more on G than is contained in the visible folders.
mpack wrote:Nope, sounds like something was messed up. It's best to designate an existing folder (you create it if necessary) to store the VDI files. I suspect that your VDI went into the G root folder. It will work fine from there, but this isn't very tidy.


Thanks again. The .VDI was in the G root folder - for some reason I was expecting it to appear as a folder. Presumably, it will screw things up if I just drag and drop it into a folder. Probably better to delete drive and machine, and start again. Would that be right?
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Re: How to locate virtual HD when creating first V Machine

Postby mpack » 25. Mar 2010, 13:26

trakkal wrote:Presumably, it will screw things up if I just drag and drop it into a folder. Probably better to delete drive and machine, and start again. Would that be right?

No need to go that far. Just go into VBox's Virtual Media Manager, highlight the VDI, then release it, and then remove it but make sure you say NO when it asks if you want to physically delete the VDI file. Then use the host OS to move the VDI into the correct folder. Now back into Media Manager to reregister the VDI in its new location, then remount it in the VM that needs it.

You should also go back into VBox preferences and designate the new folder as the default folder for future new hard disk images.
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Re: How to locate virtual HD when creating first V Machine

Postby trakkal » 26. Mar 2010, 09:09

mpack wrote:No need to go that far. Just go into VBox's Virtual Media Manager, highlight the VDI, then release it, and then remove it but make sure you say NO when it asks if you want to physically delete the VDI file. Then use the host OS to move the VDI into the correct folder. Now back into Media Manager to reregister the VDI in its new location, then remount it in the VM that needs it.


Been there, done that (well, most of it), and all seems to be well. Wasn't too sure how to remount the VDI in the VM, so I deleted the VM and created a new one. This was no big deal because I had loaded nothing into the VM.

mpack wrote:You should also go back into VBox preferences and designate the new folder as the default folder for future new hard disk images.


Thanks again for your help - I'm sure I'll be back for more advice :roll:
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Re: How to locate virtual HD when creating first V Machine

Postby mpack » 26. Mar 2010, 10:50

trakkal wrote:Wasn't too sure how to remount the VDI in the VM, so I deleted the VM and created a new one. This was no big deal because I had loaded nothing into the VM.

For future refererence (and it's worth knowing this since CD images can be mounted/unmounted in a similar way): you go into the VM settings, Storage section, find the button which adds a drive (or click an existing drive to change to a different image file), then use the panel on the right to select an image file to override the default/current selection.
Last edited by mpack on 27. Mar 2010, 11:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to locate virtual HD when creating first V Machine

Postby trakkal » 27. Mar 2010, 09:51

trakkal wrote:Wasn't too sure how to remount the VDI in the VM, so I deleted the VM and created a new one. This was no big deal because I had loaded nothing into the VM.

mpack wrote:For future refererence (and it's worth knowing this since CD images can be mounted/unmounted in a similar way): you go into the VM settings, Storage section, find the button which adds a drive (or click an existing drive to change to a different image file), then use the panel on the drive to select an image file to override the default/current selection.


Thanks again. I'll print this out and keep it with some other VBox stuff :)
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Re: How to locate virtual HD when creating first V Machine

Postby mpack » 27. Mar 2010, 11:22

trakkal wrote:Thanks again. I'll print this out

Well, I just noticed there was a typo in my instructions. Near the end I mentioned a "panel on the drive", I meant to say "panel on the right". I've just edited my previous message to fix it. Hopefully this wouldn't have caused problems.
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