Sun’s free VirtualBox 2.0.6 lets you run Windows within Mac OS X on Intel Macs

“Those who need or want to run Windows (and other operating systems) on an Intel-powered Mac are probably familiar with Parallels Desktop for Mac () and VMware Fusion 2 (), the two leading OS X virtualization solutions. VirtualBox, from Sun Microsystems, is a third option that, unlike the aforementioned competitors, is completely free. So how well does a free virtualization solution stack up to the pricier alternatives? The answer to that question depends on what you’re looking for in your virtualization solution,” Rob Griffiths reports for Macworld.

“If you’re looking to use your Boot Camp partition as a Windows virtual machine (VM), or to play DirectX 3D games inside your Windows VM, then you’ll have to use Parallels or Fusion—VirtualBox doesn’t support either of these features. Also, as of version 2.0.4, VirtualBox doesn’t support 64-bit guest operating systems (on the Mac), nor the use of more than one virtual CPU,” Griffiths reports.

“If your needs don’t include any of the above requirements, VirtualBox is a very good (though somewhat feature-limited) virtualization solution, and an incredible value given that it’s freely distributed,” Griffiths reports.

Read the full review here.


  1. VirtualBox is reasonably fast, but USB support is, at best, patchy. Along with many others (according to the forums), I’ve had mixed success getting XP to recognise various USB pen drives under VirtualBox. Version 2.1.0 (just released) hasn’t solved this issue for me.

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