Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

VirtualBox 2.1

VirtualBox 2.1 is out, and with it comes an important change: VT-x support. This may mean nothing to you, but VT-x is a feature of Intel’s newer processors that improves the performance of virtualised operating systems, and, importantly, should bring VirtualBox’s performance up to a similar level to Parallels’.
As you know, last month I switched from Parallels to VirtualBox as I was growing tired of the lack of decent Linux support in Parallels and the cost of upgrading to version 4. I’m still using the Windows Vista image that I converted from Parallels and it works well, especially with the speed upgrades that come with enabling VT-x support. VirtualBox has also matured somewhat, so that features such as Seamless Mode (equivalent to Coherence in Parallels) now work well enough to be usable all the time. It’s not quite as polished as Coherence but it works well enough – and, crucially, it works in both Windows and Linux.
Remember – once you’ve updated the VirtualBox software, you will also need to re-install VirtualBox Guest Additions in each guest operating system, to take advantage of the new features.


  1. Interesting comments Neil. How are you getting on with VB, especially where things like USB device support, sound, and snaphots go. I am a VB user and am considering switching to Parallels as I am frustrated with VB’s poor implementations of the above.
    Host: Ubuntu 8.04 AMD64, 3GB, 1.5TB

  2. I’m getting on okay, actually. USB support is a mixed-bag, as VB sometimes can’t access devices – it says they are locked by the host OS. Only had one problem with snapshots but it solved itself after restarting the guest OS. And no problems with sound.
    This is with Ubuntu and Windows Vista guests on a Mac OS X host.
    My advice would be to look at VMWare too.

  3. VirtualBox is an incredible tool. Thanks for your great write up. I have just posted an entry on my site giving my take on why VirtualBox is so amazing if anyone is interested: