In the computing world, a virtual machine (VM) allows you to run a separate operating system or multiple operating systems simultaneously on a single computer. It runs on your desktop in an app window and creates a virtualized environment that behaves like an actual computer, complete with virtual hardware devices, including CPUs, hard drives, network interfaces, and memory. Think of it as a computer within a computer.
A virtual machine runs as a process in a window, much like other programs on your current operating system. The end-user has the same experience on a virtual machine as they would on a real physical machine. The actual operating system running on your computer is known as the host. Any other operating systems running inside VMs are termed as guests.
The VM operates in a sandbox, meaning the software running inside a virtual machine is separate from the actual operating system and won't mess around with your current operating system or make any changes.
A VM makes it possible to run programs that are not designed to operate on your primary OS. For example, if you have a Windows 10 machine, you can run Linux distros and experience what it is like to use a Linux machine without actually having to install the Linux operating system on your computer.
Virtual machines eliminate the need to purchase multiple physical computers or servers to run each operating system you need. In turn, this saves money and space required to install multiple computers.
To effectively create and run virtual machines, you will need a solution called a hypervisor, which can be firmware, software, or hardware. The hypervisor separates the computer’s resources from the hardware and allocates the necessary hardware resources to ensure the VM runs smoothly.
The entire process of running a VM is achieved by installing virtualization software like VirtualBox (open-source), VMWare (pricing varies), and Parallels Desktop for Mac, among others.
How to Transfer a Virtual Machine Online Safely
So, you have created your virtual machine, and it is working as you expected. What if you want to send it to a different host or move it to a different directory on the same host? The process is simple, and you can move your virtual machine from a Linux host to a Windows host – or vice versa.
The thing is, all files necessary to run a virtual machine are stored in a single folder, making it easy to move it to a different location. Before we get into the steps, here are a few things worth noting when it comes to transferring virtual machines from one host to another:
- It is possible to move a virtual machine from a 32-bit host to a 64-bit host but not the other way round. That is, you cannot move a virtual machine from a 64-bit host to a 32-bit host. The only time this option is possible is if the 32-bit host has a supported 64-bit processor.
- The virtual machine might not function as expected if the hardware on the new host differs significantly from the hardware on the original host.
- If you use VMWare Player, a new MAC address is generated for the virtual network adapter.
- Always create a backup of all the files in your virtual machine’s folder before you start moving or transferring the files.
In this post, we share three simple methods to share a virtual machine on VMware Workstation Player and Oracle VirtualBox.
Option 1: Use a USB Drive
USB drives have been used to transfer data between two machines for a long time, making it a simple and straightforward process. However, this option only works when you want to physically transfer files from one host to another.
Share Files in VirtualBox
- You need to enable USB access by downloading the VirtualBox Extension Pack.
- Next, insert your USB device into the computer where the VM you want to share is located and open VirtualBox.
- Open File > Preferences, select Extensions, and click the “+” sign.
- Locate the downloaded Extension Pack, open it, and click “Install”.
- Follow the instructions to complete the installation.
- To check if the USB device is enabled, go to Settings > USB.
- Next, right-click the VM you intend to share, open Settings > USB, click the “+” sign, and browse for the USB device.
When you connect a USB device in VMware, as long as your virtual machine is active, it will automatically be detected. However, you may not know which operating system the USB drive is connected to. To avoid this, unplug the USB drive, minimize the VM and reconnect it again.
This option allows you to share large files, but the maximum file size will be limited by the device’s storage capacity.
Option 2: Create a Shared Drive in VirtualBox
A shared drive allows users to access files on both the host and guest computers simultaneously. It's an easier way to manage files since a portion of your HDD will be accessible over your local network.
To proceed with this option, follow these steps:
- Download and install VirtualBox Guest Additions. Follow the prompts to complete the installation process.
- Once you're done, run VirtualBox and select Devices > Shared Folders > Shared Folders Settings.
- Select the “+” sign, and choose “Other” in the “Folder Path:” input field.
- Locate the folder that you wish to share in the host operating system, highlight it, and click “Select Folder”.
- On the “Add Share” window that appears, assign the folder a name and check the “Auto-mount” and “Make permanent” options.
- Select “OK”.
Share a Network Drive in VMWare
The option to share data via a drive is enabled by default in VMware. It works for Windows, Linux, and BSD. While this might seem a complicated process, it also allows the sharing of large files. However, the free version of VMware Player does not support the sharing of data.
Option 3: Transfer Large Files and Folders with Ease Using FileWhopper
If you would like to send large files and folders easily to anyone wherever they are located, we suggest using FileWhopper. This application is easy to use and doesn't limit you on the size of the folder or file that you wish to send online. Plus, there are no monthly subscriptions involved. You pay as you go, and your payment depends on the size of the file or folder that you're transferring.
That’s not all. The FileWhopper app is designed to delete itself the moment you're done uploading your files. The process has been simplified even for someone who is not tech-savvy – and you can send a file or folder of any size, whether it is 10 GB, 100 GB, or 10 TB.
What puts FileWhopper ahead of the competition is military-grade encryption technology that guarantees the safety of your data for as long as it is in the servers. To use FileWhopper, follow the simple guide below:
- Go to the official FileWhopper website, select the Choose File or Choose Folder option, and you’ll immediately get a quotation based on the size of the data you want to share.
- To proceed with the transfer, you will be requested to download the FileWhopper app, which is designed to make the process faster and more secure.
- Upload the file or folder that you selected earlier and create a strong password.
- As soon as the upload begins, a link is created. Copy the link along with the password and send them to the person you want to access the data.
FileWhopper allows the recipient to start to download the data as soon as the upload begins, saving you both precious time. What's more, the upload resumes automatically if your computer shuts down unexpectedly or network issues occur.