Copy Paste Sharing in Virtual Box!

November 15, 2012

If you go back through some of my posts, it is no secret that there is a lot of things about Oracle I don’t like, including what happened to many of Sun’s products after they bought them out. While ultimately, it worked out for the better in some cases, like with the fork of Open Office -> Libre Office, I don’t think that is always the case.

Having said that, I do use VirtualBox a good bit, primarily for checking websites in various forms of Internet Explorer. It is really convenient to be able to fire up a VM for IE7, IE8, IE9, Windows XP, Windows 7, ect all from the same machine. Overall, it works fairly well too. However, I have been really slow to upgrade it since Oracle took over.

Recently though, after upgrading Fedora, my older 4.1.0 version of Virtual Box wouldn’t rebuild with the new Kernel. Rather than debugging it, I decided to give the new version a shot and was pleasantly surprised with some of the updates between my rather old version and the current build.

One of the biggest ones for me is the ability to share the copy/paste clipboard between my host machine and my virtual machine. That is so insanely useful and one of the features I have been really wanting for some time. It looks like you can drag and drop items between virtual machines too.

The only downside is it looks like you have to install the Virtual Box Guest Extensions, which I have held off in the past due to performance issues. I suppose there may also be a security risk to it as well, with the remote machine potentially being able to write to the host. However, that looks like it was disabled by default and can be set to only go one way, IE only copy from the host machine to the VM.

In anycase, just being able to copy-paste between my linux desktop and the VM is really cool, such a timesaver especially when trying to type out a url or something!

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