Run Windows XP in a Virtual Machine using VirtualBox

What do you do when you install your new copy of Windows 7 and realize your CPU isn’t capable of running the new XP Mode virtual machine? You run Sun’s VirtualBox, or course. VirtualBox is probably the simplest way to run other Operating Systems within your current OS. A prime example of needing to do this is that some software you own might only run in Windows XP. It really isn’t an option normal users will opt for as it does consume resources, such as RAM and hard drive space. But if your computer is beefy enough to handle another Operating System piggy-backing on it, then you’ll have no issues with VirtualBox.

Installing VirtualBox

You will fist need to visit the VirtualBox website and download the client for Windows. When you first start setup, you will be asked if you want to create an account if you are a new user. You will then be able to install your virtual operating system. When you see the welcome screen, select New to begin.

You can click through the menus as most of the options are fine they way they are. You will need to create a name for your virtual machine, such as Windows XP and you will also be asked how to allocate your main computer’s resources so the virtual machine can run. For XP, it suggests 192 MB, but you will want to give it 512 or 1024 MB to ensure a good computing experience.

It will then ask how much hard drive space you want to allocate. Unless you plan on installing a lot of applications 10GB should be plenty of space. Once you are done, you will be prompted to insert a bootable Operating System disk. Once you have done this, it will boot up within the virtual environment just as a regular computer would boot. You will see the usual Windows setup screen and walk through the prompts to install the OS. Once you are done, the VirtualBox will launch from your computer and boot into your virtual machine and load Windows. You can switch back and forth between the main computer and the virtual computer easily. Just remember, you will take a performance hit as you are sharing RAM.  Once you close VirtualBox, your main installation gets all the RAM back.