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Here is everything you should know to work with shared folder properly

Virtual machines do not have access to your computer's file system, so accessing files on the host computer or other virtual machines is not easy. You need to set up shared folders in order to share files and access data. Special applications, such as VirtualBox or VMware, represent these shared folders as a network shared files. This way, the host operating system accesses the folder on your PC just like a shared folder on the network.

This article will look at how to create shared folders in the two most common virtual machine applications - VirtualBox and VMware Workstation Player. The process will be similar in other applications, so in any case, you can take it as an example.

Here you will find out:

  • how to configure and use VirtualBox and VMware
  • how DiskInternals can help you

Are you ready? Let's read!

Configuring and using Shared Folders in VirtualBox

The VirtualBox Shared Folders feature works with Windows and Linux guest operating systems, and first, you need to install certain VirtualBox add-ons on the guest virtual machine.

So, start the VM and select the tab "Devices", where you click on "Insert Guest Additions CD Image". That way, you can start installing the Guest Additions. After that, open the "Machine" menu and select the "Settings" option. Further, on the "Shared Folders" tab, you can see all the shared folders you have configured:

  • Computer folders are permanent folders.
  • Temporary folders are automatically deleted when the virtual machine is restarted or shut down.

To add a new shared folder, in the same window, click the Add button. You will be taken to a new "Add Share" window, where you need to specify some parameters for the new share:

  • Folder Path: This is the location of the shared folder on your real computer.
  • The name of the folder in the guest operating system.
  • Read-only mode is required so that the VM only reads files, but cannot edit them. If you do not enable this mode, the virtual machine will have full read / write access to the shared folder.
  • Activate the Auto-mount function on VM boot.
  • Make this shared folder permanent so that it is not deleted every time you reboot the virtual machine.

Then confirm all the changes by clicking Next and Finish, and the creation of the shared folder is ready.

What about Shared Folders in VMware?

To create shared folders in this case, you need to install VMware Tools on the guest virtual machine. So, open the "Player" menu and select "Control". In the new window, select the "Install VMware Tools" option. At the end of the download process for these tools, a virtual CD is inserted that can be used in the guest operating system to install VMware tools.

Once the Tools are installed on the VMware, reopen the Player menu and go to Manage. Here, select the "Virtual Machine Settings" option and go to the "Settings" tab. Now, select the Shared Folders option and try enabling them in one of two ways:

  • Select “Always On” if you want the Shared Folders feature to be permanent.
  • Select “Enabled” until the next shutdown or suspend if you want the Shared Folders feature to be temporary.

Then click the "Add" button, and you will be taken to the "Add Shared Folder Wizard" window. Next, set up the shared folder:

  • On the “Name Shared Folder” screen, use the Host Path field. You should now specify the location of the shared folder on the host operating system. In the “Name” field, enter a name for the future shared folder and click Next.
  • On the “Specify Shared Folder Attributes” screen, activate the “Include this Share” option. Enable the Read-only mode - it is required so that the VM only reads files, but cannot edit them. If you do not enable this mode, the virtual machine will have full read / write access to the shared folder.

Once you configure and create a shared folder, it will reflect the shared network file.

To locate the shared network folder in a Windows guest, open Explorer, select Network, and locate the VMware-host computer.

You find the shared network folder at / mnt / hgfs in the root directory on a Linux guest.

That's all; this completes the process of creating a shared folder in VMware. Now, the file-sharing option is available for you.

If something is wrong with your \ machine (for example, if the .vmdk files are missing or deleted), you can restore them and rebuild the virtual machine using DiskInternals VMFS Recovery.

The recovery wizard supports every step of the process, so it is unrealistic to make mistakes when recovering data. Virtual disks can be mounted as local disks and are accessible from Windows Explorer (for reading). The VMDK data recovery process bypasses all Windows limitations.

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Please read these instructions for using DiskInternals VMFS Recovery before recovering damaged or deleted VMDK files.

  • Download VMFS Recovery from the DiskInternals website, and after launching the application, connect via SSH (if not required, skip this step).
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  • If everything suits you, do not postpone the purchase of a license for this application.

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