Learn how you can boot your memory stick or USB disk in your VirtualBox or VMware virtual machine.
For all those who belong to the management , support or IT management area or simply for those users who want to know and experiment with new Operating Systems there is a very practical utility that is indisputably known to all who are virtual machines . Having a virtual machine gives us great advantages such as:
- Save money and resources.
- Perform testing of applications or programs before putting into production.
- Know new environments of Operating Systems.
- Have multiple systems on a single machine.
As we can see, there are many advantages that virtual machines offer us in management tasks.
There is a problem that affects many users and it is not knowing how to boot a virtual machine from a USB memory , something that is also on the rise, since these applications are not yet compatible for this type of boot. Two of the most used virtual machine software are VirtualBox and VMware.
This tutorial will analyze in detail how we can boot these two great tools from USB and thus install the necessary virtual machines.
How to configure boot from USB in VirtualBox?
For this we will make use of a hidden functionality in VirtualBox which is part of the VBoxManage command and which will allow us to start any operating system from the USB memory.
- The first necessary point will be to know which disk number Windows has assigned to the USB drive where we have the operating system installed, to know this we have two options:The first option is using the disk manager and for this we will use the Windows + R key combination and in the displayed window we enter the command:
In the window that we will see, we will locate our USB drive and there we will determine its number.
- The second option is using the command prompt and for this we open a cmd console and enter the diskpart command . A new console will open where we will enter the list disk line and there we verify the disk number.
How to run command to boot from USB in VirtualBox?
For this process it will be necessary to access the command prompt as administrators (Right click / Run as administrator).
- Once there we will enter the following command:cd % programfiles% \ Oracle \ VirtualBox
This command places us in the default directory where VirtualBox was installed, if we install it in a different path it will be necessary to indicate it there.
- Being in this directory we proceed to execute the following command where we will replace the # symbol with the number of the disk assigned to memory. In the usb.vmdk field we can assign the desired name for the disk.
VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename C: \ usb.vmdk -rawdisk \\. \ PhysicalDrive #
- With this command we have created the USB memory as a disk type vmdk (Virtual Machine Format Disk) compatible with VirtualBox. We can see the disk created in the indicated path.
How to run VirtualBox from USB stick?
- With this process completed, we proceed to open VirtualBox as administrators and create the first steps of the virtual machine with the desired name. The aspect to take into account is in the Hard disk field, there we must select the Use an existing virtual hard disk file box and select the disk that we have created with the previous command.
- Click on Create and we will see that our machine starts correctly from the USB memory.
- It is important to validate that in the machine configuration in the Storage tab, the virtual hard disk created from memory is the first disk in the list.
This process is identical on Linux and Mac OS operating systems.
We see how it is a practical and interesting alternative that we can put into practice.
How to configure boot from USB in VMWare?
In VMWare the process differs a bit, but it is just as practical and useful for booting the installation of an operating system from a USB memory.
For the process to be correct we must download a free tool called Plop Boot Manager from the following link:
Plop Boot Manager features
- This tool allows us to execute multiple tasks within Windows environments. Linux or Mac OS like: USB boot without BIOS support
- Boot CD or DVD without the respective support in BIOS
- Hide partitions
- Possibility of defining up to 16 partitions
- Boot count
- Create different profiles for operating systems
- Create password protection among many other tasks
Configuring USB boot in VMware
- When we download Plop Boot Manager and extract it, we can see the plbpt.iso file which will be responsible for allowing us to start VMWare from the USB memory.
How to configure VMeare Plop Boot Manager?
- Open VMWare to proceed with the creation of our virtual machine and in the Install fromwindow we must select the ISO image of Plop Boot Manager.
- Click on Next and in the system description we select Linux / Ubuntu.
- Assign a name to the machine.
- Configure the parameters of the hard disk.
- Finally you will see the summary of the virtual machine to create. Click on Finish to close the wizard.
- As an important point, it is necessary to confirm that the USB port is enabled, for this we go to the Edit virtual machine settings option and select the USB Controller field. The Automatically connect new USB devices box must be active.
How to run Plop Boot Manager?
- As soon as the system boots, the following window will be displayed where we select the USB option using the keyboard scroll arrows.
- Once we select this option, the virtual machine will boot from the bootable USB.
In this way we can start VirtualBox and VMware from a USB memory and with the certainty that the operating system will be installed correctly according to the needs that are in force at the time.