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Install Windows XP Pro In VirtualBox

Updated on August 26, 2012

Windows XP Pro In VirtualBox

Windows XP Pro running in VirtualBox
Windows XP Pro running in VirtualBox | Source

Windows XP And VirtualBox

VirtualBox makes it easy to install multiple operating systems on a single computer. While newer versions of Windows have support to run programs for older operating systems, sometimes its simply necessary to use an older OS for testing and development purposes to test backwards compatibility. Its fairly simple to install Windows XP Pro in VirtualBox on Windows Vista, 7 or Linux.

Creating A VM For Windows XP Pro

Choosing the OS Type and Version to create a new VM
Choosing the OS Type and Version to create a new VM | Source
Choosing how much RAM to allocate to Windows XP Pro in a VM
Choosing how much RAM to allocate to Windows XP Pro in a VM | Source

Create A New Virtual Machine

Assuming you already have VirtualBox installed on your computer, we just need to create a new VM along with a virtual hard drive to get started. Click the “New” button in the top-left corner of the VirtualBox Manager window. The “Create New Virtual Machine” wizard is fairly self-explanatory. Click “Next” on the first screen to proceed to create a name for your new Virtual Machine and make sure to select the appropriate OS Type and Version; however this is automatically chosen for you if you name your VM after the OS you will be installing (e.g. Windows XP Pro).


Next, you will be asked to select how much memory, or RAM, you would like to allocate to your new VM. VirtualBox will automatically select a recommended minimum amount of RAM to give to the VM and will show graphically on a number line how much RAM you can safely dedicate to the VM when it is running. Any amount along the green portion is safe to allocate, and any amount along the red portion is unsafe to allocate. Choose how much RAM you would like to allocate to Windows XP Pro when it is running and click “Next” to proceed to the next step. (Note: the VM only uses the RAM you’ve allocated it when it is actually running, when the VM is shutdown, the RAM that was allocated to it is available to other VMs or the Host OS (i.e. your computer)

Creating A Virtual Hard Disk For Windows XP Pro

Create a new virtual hard disk image for the new VM
Create a new virtual hard disk image for the new VM | Source
The different virtual disk image types that VirtualBox can use.  The default is the VirtualBox Disk Image type (VDI)
The different virtual disk image types that VirtualBox can use. The default is the VirtualBox Disk Image type (VDI) | Source
The location and size of your virtual drive, the defaults are typically fine, unless you need more space
The location and size of your virtual drive, the defaults are typically fine, unless you need more space | Source
The new VM you've created will now be listed in the VirtualBox Manager
The new VM you've created will now be listed in the VirtualBox Manager | Source

Creating A New Virtual Hard Drive

Now, we’re going to create a virtual hard disk to install Windows XP Pro to on our local hard drive. This virtual hard disk resides on our physical hard drive yet is self-contained and Windows XP Pro will only be installed on within this file, keeping it separate from your existing OS installation. For most of us, we will want to choose “Create new hard disk” and then click “Next.” Next we’ll be allowed to choose what type of virtual disk we would like to create. This is useful if you will be using your virtual disk with other types of virtualization software (e.g. Parallels). However, we can stick with the default VirtualBox Disk Image (VDI) option.

Next, we can either create a dynamically allocated or fixed size virtual disk. A dynamically allocated drive consumes more space on your physical drive as you install more programs, add documents, videos, etc...in the VM. Its size doesn’t decrease as you delete items from it though. This is why it is better to create a fixed size virtual disk with a generous amount of space for what you intend to be doing with it. On the next screen, you don’t have to worry about the location of the virtual drive, as they typically default to the folder where VirtualBox VMs are stored. VirtualBox will start you off on a slider bar (for the size of the virtual disk) with a recommended size. You can drag the slider bar around or type a custom size in the box on the right. After deciding on the size of your new virtual disk, click next, review the information and click “Create.” After the virtual disk is created, your new VM will be displayed in the VirtualBox Manager.

Booting Your Windows XP VM

The "First Run" wizard that appears when you boot the VM for the first time
The "First Run" wizard that appears when you boot the VM for the first time | Source
Choose the CD drive or the CD image file that contains the Windows XP Pro install data
Choose the CD drive or the CD image file that contains the Windows XP Pro install data | Source

Booting Your VM And Selecting Your Installation Media

Highlight the VM you have created to install Windows XP Pro on and click “Start” at the top of the VirtualBox Manager or right-click it and select start from the pop-up menu. When running a new VM for the first time, you will be prompted to select the local drive that you have inserted your install CD into or to choose a CD image file (e.g. .iso file). Once you have completed this step, click “Next” and then “Start.” Your VM will begin booting from the installation CD or image file.

Installing Windows XP In VirtualBox

Selecting the blank hard disk image to install Windows XP Pro on
Selecting the blank hard disk image to install Windows XP Pro on | Source
Format the blank hard disk image
Format the blank hard disk image | Source
Setup copying Windows installation files to the hard disk image
Setup copying Windows installation files to the hard disk image | Source
After rebooting, setup continues
After rebooting, setup continues | Source
Setup will prompt for User and Corporate/Organization names as well as date/time and timezone settings
Setup will prompt for User and Corporate/Organization names as well as date/time and timezone settings | Source
After Setup reboots a second time, you will be presented with the "Welcome to Microsoft Windows" screen
After Setup reboots a second time, you will be presented with the "Welcome to Microsoft Windows" screen | Source
After completing the "Welcome to Microsoft Windows" section, Windows will proceed to load the Desktop
After completing the "Welcome to Microsoft Windows" section, Windows will proceed to load the Desktop | Source

Installing Windows XP Pro In The Newly Created VM

Now, we’re ready to begin installing Windows XP Pro in our new VM! Once the installer has finished booting up, you will be asked to choose a partition to install Windows XP Pro on. The virtual disk we created will appear as a blank drive. Hit the enter key on your keyboard to continue. We now have to format the blank virtual disk, and we can do either quick or full format using FAT32 (if the virtual disk is 32GB or smaller) or NTFS. NTFS is the best way to go and it doesn’t really matter if you use the quick or full format, although the quick format is obviously faster.


After the installer formats the virtual disk and checks it for errors, it will begin copying the Windows files to the disk. This can take some time if you are using a CD. Typically, installations proceed somewhat faster if they are performed from a CD image located on a flash drive or hard drive as these types of drives are much faster than CDs. Once this process is complete, the VM will reboot and installation will continue.


This phase of the installation process takes the most time. At some point during this phase, you will be asked to provide your name and the name of your company/organization. On the next screen, you will be asked to provide a name for the computer (XP sees the VM as a real machine) and an administrator password. Then you will be asked to set the date/time and time zone you reside in. After completing this step, setup will continue and reboot the VM when finished


When setup continues, you will be presented with a “Welcome to Microsoft Windows” screen. Click “Next” and choose whether you would like to receive automatic updates or to leave them turned off. The next screen will test for internet connectivity. You may skip this test as VirtualBox automatically connects your VMs to whatever network connection your PC is using. The next screen will allow you to either register XP or to wait and register later. The next screen will prompt you to create your user name and any other users you might need to add. Complete this process and when you’re finished, XP will boot to the desktop for the first time.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Bobby Smith 

      2 years ago

      i love windows xp

      so much ^w^

    • jesimpki profile imageAUTHOR

      jesimpki 

      7 years ago from Radford, VA

      Its possible to install OS X in VirtualBox, but the only version legally supported is the Server edition of OS X. However, it is possible to run the classic Mac OS (System 6 through OS 9) using an emulator, assuming you have a Mac to obtain a legal copy of its ROM for that purpose.

    • PreetSaluja profile image

      PreetSaluja 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for the information. Is is popssible to install Mac like this on VirtualBox? If it is possible please tell how I can do that.

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