VirtualBox is a free alternative to visualization software such as Parallels and VMWare. Although it may not be as polished, its generally an excellent free solution to what can be an expensive problem.
VirtualBox allows you to install an alternative operating system on your Mac such as Windows, Linux, Solaris and just about any other OS you can think of. VirtualBox is considerably lighter than more well known packages such as
Integration with your native environment is straightforward although not as slick as Parallels. VirtualBox allows you to define 'shared folders', which can then be accessed from within the operating system you're running in VirtualBox. However, you have to install a "Guest" add-on first (which only takes a few seconds) and it's not made very clear how you actually access the shared folders once you've set them up. There is no drag-and-drop function from your native desktop into VirtualBox but considering it's free, you really can't complain.
When it comes to USB devices, VirtualBox automatically detects new ones and asks you if you wish to use them. Internet connections should work instantly after installation as VirtualBox automatically configures it for net access.
If you don't want to pay for Parallels or VMWare, and only need a virtual environment for ocassional use, VirtualBox is an excellent solution.
- VMM: more work on improving the emulation of certain MSR registers (e.g. bugs #12224, #12544) VMM: fixed a VERR_INVALID_RPL Guru Meditation when booting certain guests (bug #11350) VMM: experimental support for SSE 4.1 / SSE 4.2 passthrough, see the manual for more information how to enable it (bug #8651) VMM: fix for recent Linux kernels with software virtualization GUI: experimental HID LEDs synchronization for Windows hosts, see the manual for more information GUI: warn the user if the Oracle Extension Pack is not installed and the user tries to activate the remote display feature (bug #9104) GUI: make sure that a minimized guest (using mini toolbar in fullscreen/seamless mode) keeps the minimized state (bug #12199) GUI: popup banner's "do not show this message again" check-box replaced with corresponding button GUI: network adapter cables can now be connected/disconnected directly through the running virtual machine Devices / Network menu a Network status-bar indicator GUI: the new VM wizard now proposes 64-bit guests on 64-bit hosts by default; better distinction between 32-bit OS types 64-bit OS types (bug #12533) GUI: better error message if appliance import fails (bug #12657) GUI: allow to set host-combination to 'None' using the Global settings / Input page (bug #12730) GUI: don't switch the guest to a black screen during online snapshot merge (4.3 regression) VBoxManage: when exporting an appliance, support the suppression of MAC addresses, which means they will be always recreated on import, avoiding duplicate MAC addresses for VMs which are imported several times AHCI: fixed a VM hang during suspend under certain circumstances AHCI: fixed a VM hang during online snapshot merge under certain circumstances AHCI: fixed a bug which resulted in Windows XP guest hangs if a SATA CDROM is attached (bug #12417) AHCI: fixed a Guru Meditation under certain conditions AHCI: ejecting a CD/DVD medium failed under certain conditions AHCI: disk hotplugging fixes NAT: transparent handling of host sleep/resume and network configuration changes if the dnsproxy is enabled or if the hostresolver is used (bug #12441) NAT: fixed crash and misbehaviour under some circumstances with ICMP packets having TTL=1 NAT Network: fixed IPv6 reassembly NAT Network: ping proxy implemented OVF: fixed reading of the OVF 0.9 section element (4.3 regression; bug #12345) OVF: several fixes 3D: several fixes, multiscreen fixes (e.g. bug #9124) 3D: include 3D content in captured videos (bug #12666) 3D: include 3D content in captured screenshot (bug #11758) VGA: proper handling of legacy graphics modes if the Guest Additions are active (bug #6649) USB: fixed crash during isochronous transfer under rare circumstances BIOS: better disk geometry handling of SCSI drives API: fix crashes in Java API clients using the XPCOM binding, happened with output parameters only (bug #11232) VBoxSVC: documented the handling of host power management events (see the manual for more information) and added an extradata item for configuring the handling of the battery-low event (bug #9925) VBoxSVC: fixed a bug which could trigger a crash if a VM snapshot was restored the second time and the VM has associated bandwidth groups (bug #12569) VBoxSVC: properly detect ifconfig if located in /bin (bug #12713) Shared Folders: fixed a failure to restore transient shared folders when starting a VM from a saved state (bug #12578) Mac OS X hosts: fixed issue when the application icon was frozen in the dock if the bridging interface was not connected to a network (bug #12241) Linux hosts: also consider the physical package ID when determining the number of physical CPU cores Linux hosts / guests: don't warn in kernel log if memory allocation fails (bug #11171) Solaris hosts: fixed the autostart SMF script (bug #11720) Windows hosts: fixes for non-ANSI code page user names and similar environment contents (bug #12596) Windows hosts / guests: fixed setting and using a guest user's process environment variables (relevant for Guest Control) Windows Additions: fixed handle leaks in VBoxTray (bug #12563) Windows Additions: fixed a crash while detecting active guest users Windows Additions: fixed restoring backed up D3D files on XPDM -> WDDM upgrade Guest Control: fixed setting and using a guest user's process environment variables Linux Additions: support Enterprise Linux 6.5 kernels (bug #12505) Linux Additions: fixed CPU hot-remove on newer Linux kernels Linux / Solaris Additions: don't automount a shared folder which is already mounted X11 Additions: support X.Org Server 1.15 (bug #12623)