VirtualBox has been a popular virtualization application for years, allowing you to run most PC operating systems on top of any Windows, Mac, or Linux computer. Oracle has now released VirtualBox 7.0, and it’s the most significant update in years.
VirtalBox 7.0 has a laundry list of new features, but the most important ones might be support for Secure Boot and virtual TPM 1.2 and 2.0 devices. That should make installing Windows 11 in a virtual machine a breeze, which previously required modifying the registry during installation to bypass the checks in Windows. There’s also updated 3D support, using DirectX 11 on Windows hosts and DXVK on other platforms. Screen resizing on Linux guests has also been improved, and there are many tweaks to the interface.
Mac owners have a lot to be excited about with VirtualBox 7.0. The app no longer uses depreciated kernel extensions, and now uses the same hypervisor frameworks built into macOS as other virtualization apps, which should mean faster performance and fewer problems. However, VirtualBox’s internal networking support is not available yet with the new implementation, so that’s one reason for Mac owners to hold off on upgrading right now.
VirtualBox 7.0 also has an experimental build for Mac computers with Apple Silicon (M1 and M2) chips. However, VirtualBox is going in a different direction than Parallels and VMWare when the first M1 Macs arrived. Instead of switching to ARM-on-ARM virtualization, VirtualBox emulates a normal x86 PC, so you can still run guest operating systems that don’t support ARM (like old Windows releases).
Apple Silicon support is still a Developer Preview, and performance is an issue right now — installing Windows XP SP3 on my M1 Mac Mini took over an hour, while the same process with regular x86 virtualization is finished in 5-10 minutes on modern PCs. If Oracle can speed up performance, VirtualBox could be an invaluable tool for running older operating systems on the latest Mac computers.
You can download VirtualBox from the project’s official website. It’s available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and Solaris.
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