VirtualBox Interface Host Networking (INF)

By default VirtualBox will set the network adapter using the NAT. This will allow you to connect to the Internet easily. However you will not able to ping and connect to your host machine, simply because it is in different network. This is true in the case where you want to copy a file from the guest machine to your host machine. Unless you setup port forwarding, still the disadvantages is you will not able to set a static IP and many more limitation. The solution is to use Interface Host Networking. I have done this hundreds of time with VirtualBox 1.5 but the new VirtualBox 1.6 is a little different for WindowsXP host and WindowsXP guest.

The scenario is WindowsXP host and WindowsXP guest. The main physical network is my laptop wireless card. In VirtualBox 1.6, The default network hardware is AMD PCNet FAST III. You need to change it to Intel PRO/1000 MT. Before changing, start your guest machine with the NAT setting and download Intel PRO/1000 driver (PRO2KXP.exe) from Intel. Next shutdown the guest then

  1. Change the hardware to Intel PRO/1000 MT in the setting options.
  2. Add a new Interface Host in the setting option for network adapter 0.
  3. Attached this adapter to Interface Host
  4. Select the Interface name that you created on step2.
  5. Click Ok.

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During step2, a new network interface will be created in your host machine’s network connection. Right click on it and change the IP Protocol settings to the IP settings you wanted your guest machine to be. Make sure it is same network range as your host machine. For example, if your host machine is, the guest can be Now we will create a bridge. Pay attention to the select sequnce. Hold the the Control Key and select the wireless network interface and then select again on the newly created network interface. Then right click and select Create Bridge.

If you read the manual, it says Windows will automatically set the wireless physical Ethernet Adapter into promiscuous mode. However test carried out shows that is not true. You can check by issue this command in dos prompt : netsh bridge show adapter. You will see ForceCompatibilityMode is unknown or disabled. With the prevous show command, remembered the physical wireless adapter ID and type this command to enable the promiscuous mode (remember to change the ID ) : netsh bridge set adapter ID forcecompatmode=enable.

Finally, start your guest machine. Upon login the machine will prompt you a new device is detected. Run the downloaded Intel network driver you did in the early stage, follow the wizard step to install the driver and restart your guest machine. Now you will be able to ping your guest machine from your host machine. To transfer the file, you can either map drive or setup Remote Desktop on your guest machine.


3 Responses to “VirtualBox Interface Host Networking (INF)”

  1. Great post!!!

    This article helps to solve my VirtualBox problem of network connection between host and guess OS. I google for week and found nothing.

    But I have to use static IP address for my pc after bridging the connections. My pc network bridge seems cannot obtain the IP adress automatically from my router. Any idea to solve this problem?

  2. tongyin,

    Yes, there is a work around for your problem.

    1. Before you add both the wireless and virtualbox interface (if you have bridged them, right click on them and select remove from bridge), change both their TCPIP protocol properties to obtain ip from DHCP.

    2. Then right click on the bridge, and select properties. On the bottom right, click on the advance button. In the middle there is this default gateway setting, add your gateway into it. And make sure there is this DHCP Enabled in the IP address settings. Click OK.

    3. Now add both the wireless and virtualbox interface to the bridge like what you did previously. Now you are done and can enjoy your coffee.

  3. Thank you for the clear directions on this. However I have an unusual issue I can’t seem to find a resolution for. Host is XP 64 bit, Guest is XP Pro 32 bit. Every time I select the 2 network adapters and choose Bridge Connections, the bridge builds and within 15 seconds of the bridge icon appearing the host PC will spontaneously shutdown and then go into a reboot cycle. It boots up to the login prompt and the reboots again. The only way out is to F8 and select restore to last known working condition.

    Not sure if this is a Virtual Box issue (doesn’t seem so) or an XP 64 bit issue.

    Any help you might give on this is much appreciated.


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