VirtualBox is one of my favorite desktop virtualization software. Oracle is getting ready to release the next major updated version of this product, as of today it is in beta stage but having some cool features. You want to know what’s new in VirtualBox 4.1.0?, keep reading.
The free and open source software VirtualBox 4.1.0 is more polished and well competitive to VMware’s paid version VMware workstation now. I have already published an articles about ‘Still missing features in VirtualBox’, but the things have changed now and Oracle added most of the required features to their powerful free virtualization software.
The main updates and changes in VirtualBox 4.1.0
- Support for cloning of VMs
- GUI: enhanced wizard for creating new virtual disks
- GUI: new wizard for copying virtual disks
- GUI: keep the aspect ratio in scale mode (Windows and OSX hosts only; bug #7822)
- VMM: raised the memory limit for 64-bit hosts to 1TB
- Experimental support for PCI passthrough for Linux hosts
- Windows guests: Experimental WDDM graphics driver
- Guest Additions: modules and features now are represented as facilities to have a common interface for frontends
- Networking: new network attachment mode “Generic Driver”, which offers an open plugin architecture for arbitrary and separately distributable virtual network implementations
- New Networking Mode UDP Tunnel: allows to interconnect VMs running on different hosts easily and transparently
- Experimental support for SATA hotplug added. Currently only supported for hard disks and only with VBoxManage.
I got time to check some of the new features in VirtualBox 4.1.0 and decided to share with my readers.
Support for cloning of VMs
This was one of the missing feature VirtualBox had earlier. Creating a new virtual machine by using cloning an existing virtual machine was a difficult and not straight forward job in earlier versions.
I published an article on cloning VirtualBox virtual machine by using Clone VDI tool, but again it had some difficulties.
Now the latest version of VirtualBox 4.1.0 is having built-in GUI tool to clone the existing virtual machine. Like VMware, you can clone and make new virtual machines from current machine state or earlier states in Snapshot area.
OR from snapshot area to clone from earlier snapshot points.
Yes, cloning works now in VirtualBox 4.1.0
GUI: enhanced wizard for creating new virtual disks
Slightly changed and enhanced wizard to create new virtual hard disks where you can select the virtual hard disk formats.
GUI: new wizard for copying virtual disks
This is another good feature I like from latest release. Not only copying your existing virtual disks but also to convert these disks to different formats such as VMDK, VHD and VDI. In earlier versions this could be done by vboxmange command, but the latest GUI makes the life easy.
Check my other guides on converting,
Copying VDI files can be done in VirtualBox media manager.
So, in the next screen you can select the format of output virtual hard disk file.
Now, we do not need to depend on third party tools or command lines to copy VDI files or convert them to different formats.
Windows guests: Experimental WDDM graphics driver
Finally this new feature is going to support Windows Aero inside guest machines in VirtualBox. I have not tested this yet but I’m sure it should work without any issues even though its an experimental. Earlier VirtualBox versions missed the support of WDDM graphics driver which is required for Windows aero experience. VMware already had this graphics driver support in Workstation and Player.
Two additional networking features are added into VirtualBox 4.1.0, which are;
1) New network attachment mode “Generic Driver”.
2) New Networking Mode UDP Tunnel
To be honest, I do not understand the purpose or what can be done by first point. The second point on UDP tunnel should be a excellent feature for connecting other VirtualBox virtual machines which are running in different host computers. This helps in not mixing the virtual network between different guests in different hosts with your physical network (of course we have to use the physical network, but it will be working through separate tunneling). Earlier this was possible only by mixing the virtual machines’ network with physical network by using ‘Bridged Mode’.
Anyhow, I have not tested this feature yet, but I will be doing it very soon and update here.
SATA Hotplug support
This is another feature I missed lot compared to VMware. VMware allowed to add virtual hard disks while guest Operating System is working, but in earlier VirtualBox versions we need to shutdown the virtual machine to add virtual hard disks, this was major problem if you are testing some Server or Storage Operating Systems. Anyhow, after 4.1.0 release SATA hotplug became possible. I think there are some limitations in this feature and its not supported as VMware supports SATA hotplug now, but I must say its a good feature of VirtualBox 4.1.0.
Ultimately, VirtualBox 4.1.0 is coming with pack of new and useful stuff. Its a wonderful and powerful free product with most of the important features for home and testing desktop virtualization software users.
Let me know your thoughts on What’s new in VirtualBox 4.1.0? how its going to change the working experience with this product?