Wednesday, May 25, 2011


This piece of open source software is worth trying. It is not an application; it does nothing by itself. All it does is to create a virtual computer. Instead of buying a computer, you start a virtual machine. Think at the enviromental impact. You can even start many virtual machines simultaneously.
In my case, I own a Mac but have found some interesting games that require Windows. I have already tried BootCamp, that is perfect, yet I also liked the possibility of keeping my game open while I was working. It made no sense to buy a commercial software to run a free game, but Virtual Box is different, because it is free.

  1. Is free

  2. Is backed by a big company like Oracle

  3. Easy to install

  4. Many things work without the need of configuring them, for example when I install an operating system on a virtual machine, it is already connected to the internet


  1. I have found a program (Chessmaster) that does not run on the virtual machine. Maybe you will find other programs that won't run.

  2. Though the manual says it is possible to share a folder between the host system and the guest system I have not been able of sharing anything.

If I really need to exchange files between my real computer and the virtual machine, I send emails to myself. For this reason, I use the virtual box only for playing. Using it for real work is not practical, and probably it's not even safe. Anyway, for the average Mac user, there is no reason to use Windows for work. Maybe the the contrary is true, that is Windows users might need to install Mac OS on their machines. This is impossible, or at least not permitted.
Oracle is actively working on the VirtualBox and it may become a planetary success in the future.


At 5:27 PM, Blogger Pascal said...

Hi Old Swan,

I'm sorry that you failed setting up folder sharing; sending e-mails to your virtual machine is really cumbersome. Folder sharing should actually work quite well:

I assume that you installed the Guest Additions in your virtual Windows (otherwise you would for example not be able to adjust the guest resolution just by changing the size of the virtual machine window).

Furthermore, I assume that you added the folder from your Mac OS X hard drive that you want to share in the Virtual Machine's "Settings"->"Shared Folders"-dialog. If you check the box "Auto-mount" there, the folder should automatically be mounted inside your Windows as a separate drive (with its own letter) after every boot. If this (for some reason) does not work, try the following:

On the windows command line ("Start"->"Run..."->"cmd") enter this:

net use x: \\vboxsvr\sharename

"x" represents the letter of the drive that you want to assign (don't choose an already taken one), and "sharename" is the name that you assigned to the folder in the "Shared Folders-dialog.

I hope this helps. Because VirtualBox is a really nice application and folder sharing is quite essential for a productive work flow.

Btw: It is a drawback that (the non-server version of) Mac OS X is not allowed to be installed or virtualised on non-Apple hardware, because iNMR seems to be a very extraordinary and well-coded NMR processing application (I only tested the demo version). I think there would be quite a bunch of people who would install or virtualise Mac OS X just to be able to use iNMR on their machine.

Kindest regards,


At 6:01 PM, Blogger old swan said...

Thank you for the tip. I hope it can help other readers of the blog. In my case, after a few seconds, the DOS say: "The network name cannot be found". This isn't my problem, however. It would be slightly more important, for me, to be able of running ChessMaster. I have installed into my BootCamp partition and it runs from there, so I think the program is not the culprit. Anyway, I am really fine. I use VirtualBox to run a program called Peshka. My only problem (a huge one) is to convince more people to use iNMR in registered mode on their Macs.

At 7:07 PM, Blogger Pascal said...

That network problem is strange. The communication for the shared folders should automatically be set up by the Guest Additions.

I guess Chess Master needs Direct X. Do you have 3D and 2D acceleration enabled in the machine settings (Settings->Display->Video)?

Furthermore, it is necessary to install the Guest Additions in Windows safe-mode and to manually enable the installation of the acceleration drivers. This is explained in the VirtualBox manual in chapter 4.4.1 (and partly in chapter 14).

Concerning buying the registered version of iNMR: I'm a spectroscopy student and my university has bought a site license of MestreNova, so I have a powerful NMR processor which runs on my Mac. I know, the student offer of iNMR is really low-priced and I also experienced that iNMR is in some respects better than MNova (especially for Mac users), but looking at my income as a student, it is not justified to spend money on iNMR if I already have a program which does its job. I would prefer my faculty to rather buy iNMR licenses, but convincing the responsible persons to spend the limited funds on a Mac-only program is really difficult.


Post a Comment

<< Home