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Editors' Rating:
Editors' Rating:
Outstanding
Average User Rating:
out of 47 votes out of 47 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    5.2.0
  • Total Downloads:
    326,452
  • Date Added:
    Oct. 19, 2017
  • Price:
    Free
  • File Size:
    108.79MB
  • Downloads Last Week:
    574
  • Platform:
    Windows
  • Product ranking:

Editors' Review

If you've seen The Matrix, you already know what a virtual machine (VM) is. In the movie, the Matrix is a digital world operating inside of the real world. Outside of the movie, a hypervisor is a platform that lets you operate one or more operating systems on a single computer, which comes in handy if you want to test out a new version of Windows without having to actually install it, or you need to test a suspicious app in a "sandbox" environment. VirtualBox is a popular free hypervisor app that's compatible with a wide variety of Windows, Linux, and Mac OSes. Let's see what's good and bad about it.

Pros

Free and streamlined product lineup: While VMware dominates the hypervisor industry, its constellation of products, evolving product names, price points, and license limitations can be dizzying to the uninitiated. VirtualBox, meanwhile, is always just VirtualBox, regardless of what platform it runs on or how many users you have in mind. And it's free and open source.

Easy to set up: Running one operating system inside another sounds like it would be pretty complicated, but VirtualBox has a wizard tool that will walk you right through it. If you provide the OS disc or ISO (the latter of which is the raw file that goes on an OS disc), VirtualBox can do the heavy lifting. It will detect how much system RAM and CPU threads you have available, and it makes recommendations on how much of that you should assign to the "guest" OS.

If you're switching back and forth a lot between the host and guest machines, VirtualBox can make this easier by sharing your clipboard contents between the two, and you can set up a shared folder on the guest machines to put files in. (However, VMWare makes file transfers even easier by letting you just click-and-drag them between host and guest.)

A variety of supported guest and host OSes: VirtualBox can host every version of Windows from 3.1 to 10 to Server 2016, plus MacOS and a variety of Linux and BSD distributions. Conversely, your Linux or MacOS machine can also host all of those varieties of Windows. And VirtualBox has a universal interface, so that it looks and feels the same no matter what OS it runs on. This combination of OS support and unified interface makes VirtualBox very flexible and easily recognizable.

Cons

Limited performance: A computer will frequently have two sets of memory chips: system RAM and video RAM. The latter type is found on a video card, where 1GB of memory is a common baseline. Unfortunately, VirtualBox is limited to 128MB of VRAM. Since 1,024MB equals 1GB, your VM gets a very modest amount by current standards. It's barely enough to run a modern Windows or Mac desktop. So while you can run a variety of guest machines, none of them will feel particularly snappy, no matter how capable the host machine is. This limitation is not uncommon with hypervisors, but VMware generally handles it more smoothly.

Bottom Line

For home desktops, it's hard to beat VirtualBox's price, ease of use, and OS compatibility. However, if you run a business that needs to support multiple guest machines, we'd recommend looking at VMware products instead.

 
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Full Specifications

What's new in version 5.2.0
  • VM export to Oracle Cloud (OPC)
  • Unattended guest installation
  • Overhauled VM selector GUI (improved tools VM / global tools handling, new icons)
  • Added experimental audio support for video recording
General
Publisher Oracle
Publisher web site http://www.oracle.com
Release Date October 18, 2017
Date Added October 19, 2017
Version 5.2.0
Category
Category Utilities & Operating Systems
Subcategory System Utilities
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size 108.79MB
File Name VirtualBox-5.2.0-118431-Win.exe
Popularity
Total Downloads 326,452
Downloads Last Week 574
Pricing
License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free
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