virtualbox on windows host (w/ linux guest or bartpe or winxp guest)
http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads sun microsystems have always targeted universality (JAVA anyone?) so it's no surprise they've got something in the virtualization market
for the "extra features" of usb support & special networking you have to install the "closed source" version (and of course, it's only for personal use)
40 MB download, install size 128MB
- go to preferences, general and change where the machines are stored -also uncheck daily updates
Click on the New button for a shiny new gui Virtual Machine wizard choose how much RAM your vm gets
I chose to not set up a hard drive but be aware that if you want max performance it is best to have the host os on one physical drive and the guest(s) on a different physical drive.
The very easy to use GUI allows you to make some quick & important modifications: The General Tab allows you to modify boot order. The CD Tab allows you to choose the host cdrom or an iso image. The Usb Tab allows you to enable USB.
There's also a great Snapshot feature - one of the main reasons to use virtualization.
It takes a moment to understand the instructions about "capturing" the mouse but basically if you want to work with your virtual machine that's fine but when you press the Control Key on the Right of your keyboard you'll get back to your host os.
Thus the "Host Key" is the Control Key on the Right of your keyboard, pressing: Rt Ctl + Del = ctl + alt + del to your guest os Rt Ctl + F1 = ctl + alt + f1 = switch linux terminals
HOW TO USE USB STORAGE DEVICES IN VIRTUALBOX (DEVICE BUSY)
The manual is a bit long, But under "Devices" in the menu section at the top of Virtual Box there's a dropdown for USB and yup, it detected my Kingston USB stick.
Apparently this starts up a driver install, the VirtualBox usb driver.
NOTE: there can be a number of problems but logically it works like this... the virtualbox drivers can only work when the host has the right drivers for the device and THEN, with the device connected and working perfectly fine, virtualbox is started (therefore allowing the virtualbox programming & drivers to "take control" of the device).
You install some usb device onto your host machine (with drivers)
You then start up virtualbox (with the device still attached normally)
You start a virtual machine and it will detect the usb device and prompt you for drivers - it will install the VirtualBox USB Drivers automatically.
Turn off your virtual machine and then close the virtual box application
You can now detach & attach your device as normal.
IF YOU WANT TO USE YOUR DEVICE IN VIRTUALBOX, ENSURE IT IS CONNECTED AND NOT BUSY (e.g. windows autoplay!)... then start the virtualbox application, then start your virtual machine. DO NOT UNPLUG YOUR DEVICE OR ATTACH YOUR DEVICE WHILE virtualbox is running.