As we walk in the year 2010, Operating systems are not machine specific anymore. Google chrome OS has launched which marks a new era in the beginning of cloud based Operating system. But sometimes the cloud can be a little difficult to maintain, especially when you prefer using a USB stick for doing your day to day tasks with the computer, taking backups, moving files and working in multiple computers like in Office, home or may be some other place.
Thus sometimes you may need an operating system that would be portable, so that you can run it from your removable drive and from any computer. We have covered Mojopack earlier, which lets you carry a “self made system environment” in your USB drive. But Mojopack is not any operating system and it depends upon the host computer where you would be using it.
What if we could install and carry an operating system of our choice from the USB drive?
The answer: Virtual box made portable. The idea here is to install Virtualbox in your USB drive and use it to install a guest operating system. With this portable virtual disk, you can use this system in any computer you want.
How to Make VirtualBox Portable
1. To install Virtualbox in your removable drive, go to vbox and download the package (957 Kb). Choose the version 3.0 as shown below.
2. Run the set up and it will ask you for a location to unzip the files. Extract all the files to your USB drive.
3. The setup will extract all the files required to set up virtualbox in your USB drive. Now open the “Portable-Virtualbox” folder from the removable drive and double click the set up file as shown below.
4. Now you will be shown something like this
5. Select the checkboxes “Extract the files for a 32 bit system” and “Extract the files for a 64 bit system“. You can also choose to compress the files to save some precious space in your removable drive.
6. That’s it. Click the “Download Installation file for Virtualbox” button.
7. Immediately after that, you will see that the application has started downloading the setup files required to install portable Virtualbox. Wait for the download to finish. You will see a notification right in the middle of the screen and also in the system tray.
8. It would take some time to download the Virtualbox files. After the download is over, you will see a prompt as shown below
9. Now open your removable drive again and you would see a new icon named as “Virtual Box” (not to be confused with Portable Virtualbox icon). Double click it and you will see the usual Virtualbox wizard.
Complete the wizard and you are done with the installation part of portable Virtualbox in the removable drive.
Install a Portable Operating System in your Removable Drive
Now that Virtualbox is in your removable drive, you can easily create a virtual hard disk and install any operating system such as Windows XP, Windows Vista, Linux etc. Start the virtual Box program and you can create a virtual hard disk. Save this hard disk in your removable drive as you would be using it from the USB drive only. Now here are some useful guides on how to install a new operating system with Virtualbox:
- How to Install Windows In Ubuntu Hardy with VirtualBox
- Share Your Virtualbox VM Across Different OS
- How To Run Android on Your Home PC with Virtualbox
Once you are done with the installation part you can carry the Operating system in the removable drive and use it on multiple computers. That concludes the tutorial on installing a portable operating system in your USB stick.
There are a lot of advantages of using a portable Virtualbox hard disk and running an operating system with it. The biggest advantage is that you can run the OS on any computer which does not have virtual box installed. Another major advantage is keeping your hard disk free from virtual hard disks or you may even copy the virtual hard disk from one computer to another.
Hope you would find this software useful. What’s your take on portable Virtualbox? Do let us know through a comment.