Sharing Files Between Ubuntu Host and Virtual Machines

After installing Windows Vista on Ubuntu using VMware, one of the problems that you’re likely to face is that your virtual machine has completely no access to your host folder. This means you cannot view/edit your favorite photos (or any other files) in your Vista VM. Come to think of it, what is the use of installing a VM if you can’t access your local hard disk where all your documents are kept?

Luckily, there are several solutions to this.

1) Transfer files using a USB drive.

Open up your VMware Server Console. Make sure that your VM is powered off (not in suspend mode). Click “Edit Virtual Machine Setting”. Under the Hardware tab, click Add -> USB Controller. This will install the USB driver and allow you to connect up to two USB devices to your VM.

Insert in your USB disk and power on your VM. Once the VM has finished loading. On the menu bar, Click VM -> Removable device -> USB Device -> your USB drive name.

Done. You have now access to your USB disk from your VM. A point to note is that you can’t access your USB disk from the host desktop and the VM at the same time. If you are adding USB disk in your VM, the host will automatically dismount your USB disk. Thus, if you want to transfer files between host and VM, you will need to transfer files from host to USB disk, then dismount USB disk from host and add removable device in VM.

2) Setting up networking via Samba

All virtual machines use shared networking to gain network access from the host. Thus, if configured properly, you can create a shared network to share files between the host and the VM. Here is a detailed instruction to configure file sharing via samba.

3) Buying license software
If you rely heavily on your VM for work, then you want want to consider buying a licensed VMware. This paid software enables you to access your virtual machine from the host desktop and you can even drag and drop your files from your VM to anywhere in the host without any further configuration. Parallels (another paid VM solution) also offers this service.

One comment

  1. An even better solution would be to use another free program, VirtualBox (available at ), which allows you to set up shared folders between the host and guest. I currently have a Fedora 8 VM inside Ubuntu Gutsy, and I can share files from Gutsy to 8. Sharing files from the guest to the host is also possible, but it’s more difficult when the guest is Linux, as is Fedora. If it were Windows, it’d be easier. I’ve previously successfully set up shared folders that allow data to go to and from a Windows host and a Windows guest system, but I have not yet tried a Linux host and Windows guest.

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