Simple network configuration in Sun VirtualBox

Posted Monday, May 10, 2010 4:19 PM by CoreyRoth

As some of you know by now, I’ve really been pleased with the performance and features that are offered by Sun VirtualBox.  I get asked about it quite a bit when I give talks.  Specifically people ask me what I think about it and why I chose it.  Simply put, it allows me to run 64 bit guests on my Windows 7 machine and the price is right (free).  Other virtualization platforms simply either can’t run 64 bit guests, can’t run on Windows 7, or cost money.  You can infer which solutions I am referring to right there. :-)  Some of my friends are probably in shock right now since I am recommending a non-Microsoft product. :-)  Another nice benefit of it is that it can open both VMware and Virtual PC hard disk images.

Since I’m on a laptop, I am often switching between wired and wireless networks.  This can prove to be a pain in your Virtual Machine if you don’t either shut it down and reconfigure the network or make this one simple change.  For those familiar with virtualization, this probably already seems obvious.  For those out there that are relatively new to this, you might appreciate this simple tip I have for today.  My goal?  To have Internet access on my virtual machine regardless of which physical network adapter is used.  To do this, we make use of the Bridged Adapter setting as seen below.


Note how it is bound to a specific network adapter on my laptop.  In this case, it is the Gigabit Ethernet adapter.  I want my VM to have Internet access when I am on a wireless network too, so the way to do this is simply enable a second virtual network adapter.


Note, this one is configured to use my wireless network adapter.  The Bridged Adapter setting is not the default so you have to select it.  If you don’t have working Internet access on one of your virtual machines, try this technique using bridged adapters and it should get you going.  As a remind, the Virtual Machine has to be fully powered off before you can change any of these settings.  If you are using another virtualization platform, you can also use this same trick.  I would love to see virtualization software just default to settings like these but I am sure there is a good reason to do it the way they are. :-)


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