How to share files & folders on VirtualBox (Mac/Windows)

To share files & folders on VirtualBox we will use a shared folder. In this article I am using a Mac as my host machine and a Windows computer as my virtual machine. The VirtualBox Guest Additions will need to be installed on the virtual machine in order to share files & folders.

If you do not know how to install Windows on Mac, here is my detailed post explaining how to do it.

Use a shared folder

First, you need to either create a folder or use an existing folder to share files & folders on VirtualBox. In this example, I will create a folder called “Folder to share” to do this.


Set up VirtualBox to use the shared folder

1) Then, set up the shared folder on VirtualBox so that the Windows virtual machine can see it. To do this, click on the virtual machine and click on top on Settings -> Shared Folders. Then click on the plus sign on the folder toward the right. For the Folder Path select the folder you want to share (from the dropdown click Other and select the folder). Also select Auto-mount and click OK (do not select Read-only unless you do not want to be able to edit the files & folders on the virtual machine side).


2) Click OK one more time to save the settings.


Install VirtualBox Guest Additions

1) Once you have set up your shared folder, the next step is to install the VirtualBox Guest Additions on the Windows virtual machine so that the virtual machine is able to see the shared folder that is set up on the Mac. To do this, first select the virtual machine in VirtualBox and either double click on it or click on Start at the top to start the virtual machine.

2) Once the Windows virtual machine has been started, move your mouse to the top of the screen to display the menu. Then click on Devices -> Insert Guest Additions CD image. This will load the drivers on the CD drive of your virtual machine.


3) Then it will display a popup on the right at the bottom. Click on the popup.


4) If the popup does not display, click on the file explorer (folder at the bottom) and click on This PC or search for This PC in the search bar at the bottom (you will see the CD Drive VirtualBox Guest Additions there under Devices and drives. Double click on it).


5) Then follow the instructions on the screen (click Yes, Next, Install…). This will install all the drivers needed to use the shared folder on your Windows virtual machine. Then select Reboot now to finalize the installation of the VirtualBox Guest Additions.


Share files & folders

1) Once the Windows virtual machine has been restarted, go back to the file explorer (folder at the bottom) and click on This PC. You should see under Network locations the shared folder (note that it might take a few seconds to appear). Double click on it and you will see the content of it.



2) You can open the files & folders inside and edit them and save. If you go back to your Mac you will see your changes there. Enjoy!



If you have any questions about how to share files & folders on VirtualBox or anything else, you can contact me here.

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