Sunday, February 22, 2009

Concise -- How to Access Shared Folders from a Windows 7 Beta Guest Install in VirtualBox


This brief tutorial just overtly explains some simple steps that I overlooked when trying to access shared folders using my Windows 7 VirtualBox Guest Install.


  • Virtual Box (the newest version) should be installed <-- tested on 2.1.4

  • The 'Guest Additions' have been installed (using Vista or XP compatibility mode)


  1. Share a folder from your host system by clicking Devices >> Shared Folders... and picking a folder to share. Name it something you will remember. I shared c:\Media and named it Media.

  2. Right-click on your desktop (or location of your choice) and make a 'New Shortcut'
    (alternately, open 'My Computer' and click 'Map Network Drive' to have the share listed as a drive)

  3. Type \\vboxsvr\Media (where 'Media' is the memorable name you choose two steps ago)

  4. Name the shortcut something descriptive. (or assign the share a drive if you are mapping)

  5. Enjoy the shared folder/mapped network drive.

(helps with the installation of VirtualBox, the creation of a new Virtual Machine, and the installation of Windows 7)
(this guide is better than mine + with's for a ubuntu host, but the good thing about VirtualBox is that it practically makes the host irrelevant! -- so it's still useful)

How to Access Shared Files from a Ubuntu Linux Guest Install in VirtualBox


This walkthrough describes how to access host-machine shared files from a guest installation of Ubuntu

This should work with other Linux distributions, but was designed for use with Ubuntu, specifically v6.10


  • Virtualbox (newest version) is installed <--tested on 2.1.0

  • guest OS is a linux distribution, already installed <-- tested on ubuntu 6.10


The ubuntu guest OS should not be running
  1. In the VirtualBox interface, click on the Ubuntu installation and click Settings

  2. Under the Shared Folders option, ensure that the folders you want to share from the host computer are selected and named appropriately (the names will be referenced later)

  3. Start the virtual Ubuntu installation and log in

  4. While running the Ubuntu guest OS, click Devices >> Install Guest Additions
    note: if you haven't already downloaded and mounted the guest additions .iso, you should be directed to the download location in your browser and when the download completes, you should be prompted to 'mount' the iso in the ubuntu guest installation

  5. Open a terminal window by clicking applications >> accessories >> terminal

  6. Type the following commands (emphasized in bold), pressing enter between each line
    cd /media/cdrom

    sudo bash ./
    note: for a 64 bit virtual OS, replace 86 with 64
    enter password when prompted -- this may take a few minutes...wait until you see a 'success' message
    exit hopefully, you saw the message 'Successfully Installed the VirtualBox Guest Additions' // Restart your guest system in order to complete the installation

    Now restart Ubuntu

  7. Verify that you are sharing folders on the host system by going to Devices >> Shared Folders and make note of the 'name' you are sharing the folder as -- you will need to reference this in the next step. Mine is located at C:\Media and I named it 'Media'...that will be used for this example and should be modified to fit your situation.

  8. Open a terminal again and type each of the following lines:
    mkdir windows-share
    note: this can be called anything you like as you are creating a folder which will point to your shared folders
    sudo mount -t vboxsf Media /home/nick/windows-share
    note: If your shared folder isn't called 'Media', then modify this name to reference the 'name' you called your share. Also change 'home/nick/windows-share' to 'home/[your user name]/[the directory you made]'
    Hopefully you didn't get an error message. next close the terminal window (type exit[enter])

  9. note: reference the tutorial text over the screenshot text, as I've tried to simplify it further after taking the screenshot

  10. Now enjoy the fruits...I simply went to places >> home then double-clicked my 'windows-share' folder to access the files

  11. Repeat process to share any further'll be faster this time!

You are finished, but...

It seems that these steps work to give you access to your files, but when you restart Ubuntu, the mounted folder is gone. To make it persistant (last through system restarts), do the following:

  1. Open the trusty terminal and type the following:
    sudo gedit /etc/rc.local [enter]

  2. Add the following line between the last line with a # before it and the exit 0 line:
    mount -t vboxsf Media /home/nick/windows-share
    where 'Media' is the name of your shared folder and '/home/nick/windows-share' is the directory you created to house the shared folders

  3. Be sure to save the changes, then exit the text editor and restart your computer to ensure it works. Add as many mount -t vboxsf ... lines to that file as necessary if you have multiple shared folders.


The following pages greatly helped when writing this:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

How to perform an effective Internet search

Skill-Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Overview: (if you don't have much time, read this)

Search Tips:
Be informed: Research (briefly) your search topic before you start to develop key words and a basic understanding.

Use quotation marks:
"cheese and grits" will return different results than cheese and grits. Most search engines throw out common words like the, and, if, in, us, etc.

Add key-words for ambiguous searches:
Search for "best buy" store instead of best buy. Store helps a search engine know what type of results you are looking for.

Detail: (more explanation and reasoning here)

I can't really profess to be an expert on how to locate things on the internet, but I've been doing it for a while and feel I am generally successful. While at the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNCA), I was given a seminar on effective search techniques. The following are mostly things I've learned on my own added to some other things I've been taught in the past.

The most important thing is to know what you are looking for, and it helps to be somewhat informed before you start. Some things are easy to search for. For instance, molecular pretty straight forward. Go to Google and type in molecular biology and the results should pretty relevant. Searching gets a little more complex when you want to find something that has multiple associations. For instance...I like the band Discover America. One thing that helps with searches is using quotation marks around a set of terms to specify that you want to find those terms located by one another. "Discover America" will return more relevant results than Discover America. With bands, often having names consisting of generally used words in various combinations (Any the band [the killers], common word named band [Narcissus], etc.), adding the term band to the search will often help a search engine specify that you are looking for a band. Seems obvious, but more obscure bands will benefit from such practical searching.

In turn, anything with a more distinct name such as brand names with irregular spelling (The Beatles, Google) or non-common words (Lenovo, iPod) is less difficult to locate on the internet and requres less specification. I once designed a website for the domain After a basic submission to Yahoo and Google, it showed up as number 1 in the search results when PostNBeam was searched for...but much lower on the list (under some large Post And Beam companies) when Post and Beam was searched for. To find it using more standard terms, something like Post and Beam Asheville or Post and Beam "Golden Valley" had to be used. Locations help for local businesses.

The last bit of advice is a little more subjective, hence more difficult to describe. Sometimes I search for free software to find more quality programs to the list of free software shown on this website. Free Software, in general, translates to "free for personal, non commercial, use." This is fine for most people and great for this bit of search advice. Another term is often associated, but not exactly synonymous with, free software...this is open source. In short, open source software is software which offers its 'source code,' something which is guarded carefully by many software providers (*cough* microsoft, apple). This is convenient because, given you know the language the software is coded in, you can download the source code and modify the software to better suite your (and potentially other people's) needs. That said, I often search for something like free open source antivirus or something like that. While open source doesn't necessarily mean free, the vast majority of open source software is free.

I know the last paragraph was supposed to be the "last" part, but I decided to include a little something else. This was hinted at in previous paragraphs, but not explicitly stated. I can't get enough information, usually. I'll often do a skimming of an encyclopedia article (or something general like that) before doing any further research. This helps me identify relevant vocabulary and make note of any keywords I may need to use when searching if standard means fail(provide excessive or non relevant results).

Thanks for reading. I hope this was beneficial to anyone who took the time to read it.