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06 August 2012, 11:20

VirtualBox 4.2 enters beta testing

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VirtualBox logo Improved support for Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system and updates to VirtualBox's graphical user interface (GUI) are among the most notable changes in the first beta of version 4.2 of Oracle's open source desktop virtualisation application. A new "expert mode" has been added to wizards to make them quicker for experienced users. To make virtual machines (VMs) easier to find, users with a large number of virtual machines can now organise their VMs into groups and categories.

In VirtualBox 4.2 Beta 1, users can now modify some settings while a VM is running; previously a VM needed to be shutdown first. Experimental support for dragging and dropping files from hosts to Linux guests has been added; the developers note that support for guest-to-host drag-and-drop and additional guests is planned.

Other changes include the addition of support for up to 36 network cards in conjunction with an ICH9 chipset configuration, the ability to limit network IO bandwidth, and support for Server 1.11 and 1.12 in the Solaris Additions. First requested approximately 5 years ago, support for automatically launching VMs at startup on Linux, Mac OS X and Solaris has also been added.

A preliminary overview of changes and new features in the beta can be found in a post on the forums. VirtualBox 4.2 Beta 1 is available to download for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Solaris from the project's site. Binaries and source code for VirtualBox are distributed under the terms of the GPLv2; the Extension Pack, which adds support for USB 2.0 and remote boot, can be downloaded under a Personal Use and Evaluation (PUEL) licence.

The developers warn users that, as the beta is considered to be a "bleeding-edge release meant for early evaluation and testing purposes", it should not be used in production environments and on mission critical systems. Those testing the release are asked to use the VirtualBox Beta Feedback forums to provide feedback and report any bugs that they find. The current stable release of VirtualBox is version 4.1.18 from the end of June.

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