Using VirtualBox/10.1

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A virtualized environment allows you to test drive an operating system without overwriting your current operating system. This is an excellent way to practice installation, determine whether all of your hardware is supported, or to try multiple versions of different operating systems. Virtualization software effectively creates windows (known as virtual machines) into which you can install and use an operating system. The only limitation to virtualization is your hardware as each virtual machine uses CPU and RAM.
Figure 2.6a: Initial VirtualBox Screen
Depending upon the amount of CPU and RAM in your computer, you may find that the operating system you install using virtualization software runs slowly. If your computer slows down greatly, try closing other applications running on your computer to free up some RAM.

PC-BSD® 10.0 automatically installs the VirtualBox[1] open source virtualization program and the VirtualBox Guest Additions[2] with the operating system. The guest additions add mouse pointer integration, shared folders between the host and guest, better video support, and a shared clipboard.

If your computer is running another operating system, download the binary for your operating system from the VirtualBox Downloads page[3]. VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh, and OpenSolaris and supports a large number of operating systems that can be installed into a virtual machine.

In order to use PC-BSD® within VirtualBox, you will need to download the PC-BSD® ISO, create your own virtual machine, and use the ISO to install PC-BSD® into the virtual machine. You will also need to first create a virtual machine that meets the following minimum requirements:

  • 1024 MB base memory size
  • a virtual disk at least 20 GB in size for a TrueOS® installation or at least 50 GB in size for a PC-BSD® installation
  • a bridged adapter

Creating a Virtual Machine

Figure 2.6b: Type in a Name and Select the Operating System for the New Virtual Machine

Once installed, start VirtualBox to see the screen shown in Figure 2.6a. To create the virtual machine, click the "New" button to start the new virtual machine wizard. Click the "Next" button to see the screen in Figure 2.6b.

Enter a name for your virtual machine, which can be anything that makes sense to you. Click the “Operating System” drop-down menu and select “BSD”. In the “Version” drop-down menu, select “FreeBSD (64 bit). Click Next to see the screen in Figure 2.6c.

Figure 2.6c: Select the Amount of Memory Reserved for the Virtual Machine

The base memory size must be changed to at least 1024 MB. If your system has a lot of RAM, use more. Any number within the green area is considered a safe value by VirtualBox, meaning it should not slow down your computer too much. When finished, click "Next" to see the screen in Figure 2.6d:

Figure 2.6d: Select Whether to Use an Existing or Create a New Virtual Hard Drive

This screen is used to create the virtual hard drive--in other words, the amount of disk space that will be available to the virtual machine. If this is your first virtual machine, keep the default of “Create a virtual hard drive now” and click “Create” to go to the screen shown in Figure 2.6e. If you have created a virtual machine in the past and wish to reuse its disk space, select “Use an existing virtual hard drive file” from the drop-down menu. You can create as many virtual machines as you wish. However, if your computer is getting low on disk space, you should consider reusing existing virtual hard drives to prevent your physical hard drive from being used up by old virtual machines.

Figure 2.6e: Select the Type of Hard Drive

Select “VDI” and click the “Next” button to see the screen in Figure 2.6f.

Figure 2.6f: Select the Storage Type

You can now choose whether you want "Dynamically allocated" or "Fixed size" storage. The first option uses disk space as needed until it reaches the maximum size that you will set in the next screen. The second option creates a disk the same size as that specified amount of disk space, whether it is used or not. Choose the first option if you are worried about disk space; otherwise, choose the second option as it allows VirtualBox to run slightly faster. Once you select "Next", you will see the screen in Figure 2.6g:

Figure 2.6g: Select the File Name and Size of the Virtual Disk

This screen is used to set the size (or upper limit) of the virtual machine. If you plan to install PC-BSD® into the virtual machine, increase the size to at least 20 GB or you will receive an error during the PC-BSD® installation. If you plan to install KDE, GNOME, multiple desktop managers, or applications within the virtual machine, you will probably want to choose at least 50 GB. Whatever size you set, make sure that your computer has enough free disk space to support it. Use the folder icon to browse to a directory on disk with sufficient space to hold your virtual machine.

Once you make your selection and press "Next", you will see a summary of your choices. You can use the "Back" button to return to a previous screen if you wish to change any values. Otherwise, click "Create" to finish using the wizard. Your virtual machine should now show up in the left box, as seen in the example in Figure 2.6h:

Figure 2.6h: The New Virtual Machine

Configuring the Network Adapter

If you wish to use your network card, you will need to configure bridging on your virtual machine. To do this, go to SettingsNetwork. In the "Attached to" drop-down menu select "Bridged Adapter" then select the name of the physical interface from the Name drop-down menu. In the example shown in Figure 2.6i, the Intel Pro/1000 Ethernet card is attached to the network and has a device name of re0.

Figure 2.6i: Configuring a Bridged Adapter in VirtualBox

Configuring the Storage Device

Before starting your virtual machine, you will want to configure it to use your installation media. Click the Storage hyperlink in the right frame to access the storage screen seen in Figure 2.6j:

Figure 2.6j: The Storage Settings of the Virtual Machine

Double-click the word Empty, which represents your DVD reader. If you wish to access the PC-BSD® installer from your DVD reader, double-check that the Slot is pointing to the correct location (e.g. IDE Secondary Master) and use the drop-down menu to change it if the location is incorrect. Click the "CD/DVD Device" drop-down menu to change it from empty to the Host Drive value.

If you prefer to use an ISO that is stored on your hard disk, click the DVD icon ➜ Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file to open a browser menu where you can navigate to the location of the ISO. Highlight the desired ISO and click Open. The name of the ISO will now appear in the Storage Tree section.

You are now ready to install PC-BSD® into your virtual machine. Simply highlight the virtual machine and click on the green "Start" icon. A window will open indicating that the virtual machine is starting. If you have a DVD inserted, you should hear it spin and it should start to boot into the installation program. If it does not or if you are using an ISO stored on the hard disk, press F12 to select the boot device when you see the message to do so, then press "c" to boot from CD-ROM. You can then proceed through the installation as described in the Installation section.


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