Sunday, October 21, 2012

VirtualBox on Wheezy

I recently bought an InnoTab children's tablet computer. Despite the fact that it runs Linux, and I run Linux, I couldn't get the free games and eBooks that the manufacturer offers because their software only runs on... Windows.

I managed to install the software in Wine, but it couldn't access the USB connection.

Something recently (hey, I'm old and I can't remember what it was) reminded me of VirtualBox, and I decided to give it a go.

I found VirtualBox in the Wheezy repository, and it brought along some dependencies called qt (the GUI) and dkms (kernel modules- something technical: I'm a Debian user- better not admit that I haven't got a clue what they do!).

The Debian Wiki page is aimed at Squeeze (the current stable), so not very useful for Wheezy. Of course if you're reading this after Wheezy becomes stable, the Wiki may be more useful, so use your judgement.

However, I found a helpful guide here, and found it was quite easy to get a virtual machine running Windows XP running on Debian Wheezy.

(Guest Machine > Settings > Storage > Empty: Add your installation CD (or ISO) here.)

The only tricky part was getting USB connections working. I needed to download the Extension Pack for the version of VirtualBox in the Wheezy repository (which is not the latest version- at the time of writing, 4.1 compared to 4.2).

After that, this guide helped me get USB connections working.

(I sometimes find that a year or so later, these guides have disappeared. As a permanent record, the steps are:

  • Configure USB support in virtual machine settings
  • Add USB filter
  • Install Virtual Guest Additions from the Virtual Machine Devices tab
  • Add your user to the VirtualBox group in Users and Groups)

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