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How to install Windows 7 on VirtualBox

Published on 08 September 2014
VirtualBox Windows 7

What is this VirtualBox?

VirtualBox is a virtualization software that allows you to run other operating systems like Windows, Linux and others as guest operating systems. There are mainly two operating systems involved.

This article will focus on installing Windows 7 as the guest operating system under Mac OS X or Windows.

Wait a minute. Why would I need to run Windows under my current copy of Windows (or Mac OS X)?

To get started, you'll need the following:

1. Installing VirtualBox

1.1 Download the installer

The download link is at

If you're running Windows, download the exe file beside VirtualBox 4.3.14 for Windows hosts

If you're running Mac OS X, download the dmg file beside VirtualBox 4.3.14 for OS X hosts

As of August 28, 2014, the version of VirtualBox is 4.3.14.

1.2 Start the installation

Double-click on the installer and start the installation. If you're on Windows and it shows a security warning, click on "Run". You may temporarily lose Internet connectivity during the installation.

2. Installing Windows 7 under Virtualbox

Hopefully you have a Windows CD lying around somewhere. If you can get hold of an ISO file, that would be great too.

2.1 Start up VirtualBox

This is what the VirtualBox Manager should look like at this point.

Let's point this virtual machine (VM) to the Windows ISO. We have our ISO at C:ISO/win7.iso

This means that whenever you switch from host OS to guest OS, anything you type will be sent to the guest Windows 7 which you are about to install. Make a note of the host key because you'll have to be able to switch from the guest Windows 7 back to the host OS.

For Mac OS X, the default host key is the left command ⌘ key. For Windows, the host key is the right Ctrl key. If you get stuck anywhere, just click on the host key+I, and the cursor control will be back to the host OS.

Changing Host Key (Mac OS X)

I usually like to change the host key in the Mac to the right command key because I use the left command key with tab to switch applications and it interferes with my shortcuts.

For that, go to VirtualBox Manager, and in the top menu, click on VirtualBox → Preferences → Input tab.

Change the host key by clicking on the right command key. Then say "Close", and you'd have set the right command key as the hot key.

Start the Windows installation

Network settings

By default, the network is set to NAT, which lets you access the Internet from within the guest Windows. But you can't access the guest from the host. If you want to be able to share data back and forth, start by changing the Network to Bridged.

Created on 08 September 2014

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