While I was writing this, the solution to my problem struck me unexpectedly. Click here to skip the drama and jump right ot the solution.
Originally, this article started out as a complete rant and cry for help. I started to write about the failure and frustration of the installation and network configuration of a virtual machine in VirtualBox 3.0.4.Â It just would not work. The problem, as it turned out, was that I was over thinking the process. BUT, that is not completely my own fault.
See, here’s the problem. Before starting anything new, I read, research, and read some more to get as much of an understanding as I can on the subject. In this case, the official documentation of VirtualBox 3.0.4 in my opinion is incomplete and did not include some of the specific details that would have made this setup much less painful. Combine that with the piles of information regarding networking configuration in previous versions, and it’s easy to get some wires crossed. Networking in version 3.0.4 was largely improved and simplified, meaning a lot of the information available online, in forums, on blogs, etc, is irrelevant to the new version and the current documentation does not do a great job of explaining the changes and how to set up networking, specifically bridging, in the new version.
In my research and troubleshooting I’ve seen many others who describe the same problems I had while trying to set this up under version 3.0.4, so in the spirit of passing on my experience and what I learned from it, I am going to keep my original writing here so you can see what I was doing and why it was wrong. If you want to skip to the solution, please click here.
(that’s my best screatching to a stop text effect).
It’s amazing how when you step away from a problem and look at it from another angle, how easy the solution comes to you. By writing out my thoughts here and stepping through all the little details, something hit me and it is THE key piece of information that is missing between setting up older versions of VirtualBox and Version 3.0.4.
There were a number of references that said networking and bridging in the new version was completely refigured and the process was very simple. Basically, just create a bridge – But no details were ever provided on what that meant exactly. Based on all the “old” information and lack of new detailed explainations, I figured it meant to create bridged connections on the host and use that as the Guest bridged adapter. What if the solution is even simplerÂ than that. It’s worth a try…Soooo
I went back to my Host settings (Windows XP Network settings) and tore down the bridge and restored my original adapters and IP information. Now I only have Local Area Connection (2) and VirtualBox Host-Only Network shown. From here I went back to the VirtualMachine Network settings and listed in the “Name” menu instead ofÂ “MAC Bridge Miniport” I now had the two Host adapters listed. (Local Area Connection (2)Â and VirtualBox Host-Only Network).
I selected the physical Host Adapter (Local Area Connection (2)), restarted the VM and to my amazement.. It all worked.
In the end, this is how you set up bridged networking between Virtual Machines and the LAN with VirtualBox 3.0.4
Windows XP Hosted VirtualBox – using the GUI:
Host Network Settings:
This part is easy. Do nothing. That’s right, nothing! No changes are necessary for the host’s interfaces or network settings (as long as you already have a working interface).
DO NOT create or bridge any interfaces on the host system. Leave the network interfaces on your host OS (physical) alone.
Guest Network Settings:
Start VirtualBox and highlight the Virtual Machine you want to modify from the list on the left. Once highlighted, select “network” under the “details” tab on the right.
You should now see a window displaying the Network settings for your VM.Â From here, the Adapter 1 tab and make sure the “Enable Network adapter” checkbox is selected.
Next to “Adapter Type” select “Intel Pro/1000 MT Desktop” or “Intel Pro/1000 MT Server” from the menu. These have a higher rate of success when used in this way. I had some trouble with the PCnet II and PCnet III adapter Types.
Next to “Attached to” select “Bridged Adapter” from the menu.
Finally, next to “Name” select your Host system’s network interface from the menu. In this case, my host system interface is the on-board “NVIDIA nForce Networking Controller”. Your options will likely be different based on the interface installed of in use.
That is all there is to it. Just hit the “OK” button in the main settings window and start your VM. As long as the Guest OS on your VM hs been configured with the correct IP/network information for your LAN, you should now be able to ping and access it from any PC on your network.
Conclusion: So simple, even a Caveman can do it!
Initial frustration aside, in the end, I really have to give props to Sun/VirtualBox for actually making this incredibly simple to set up. On the other hand, they lose points for failing to make this clear in the documentation.
Since posting this, VirtualBox 3.0.6 has been released. Considering how easy this is to set up in 3.0.4, I can only guess that it is just as simple in 3.0.6. After all, it would not make much sense to make any changes that would make the process more difficult.
I hope you find this information helpful or useful and hopefully can use it to avoid the mistakes I made. Have a question, suggestion, better way of doing this or just want to leave some feedback? Please leave a comment.
VirtualBox 3.0.6 – Confirmed / Working
VirtualBox 3.1.8 – Confirmed / Working