Virtualbox is a dream freeware solution for anyone - novice to geek - who wants to run different computers inside their computer - virtual so to speak. Today I’ve been tinkering with getting Virtualbox working on a Mac laptop running WinXP.

this is a very old post whats contained below has not been checked since 2012

Virtualbox from Oracle Sun is a freeware, open source virtualisation application .. it comes in a number of flavours - I’ve previously used it to run WinXP guests inside WinXP hosts for testing and at work it was the only way to install things without having to go to the IT helpdesk.

So today I was trying to setup Mac OSx with a Windows XP guest - something new this time - I knew I needed some patience, a copy of WinXP, and Virtualbox.

To speed up today’s install process I thought I’d give TinyXP rev 09 a go - hmmm - I do have my personal copy of WinXP, but I’m afraid Microsoft don’t like you using the same serial number more than 20? times.

For Newbs & Opening Comments

I’m making assumptions here that you have used Virtualbox or virtual software before on your Mac.

A comment on jargon -

Host - in this example is Mac OSX, ie you are hosting the virtual operating system on your mac

Guest -  WinXP or what ever the virtual operating system you are going to  install

Seamless windows - once you have installed the guest OS you want to be able to copy & paste between Host and Guest or maybe seamlessly move and use your mouse between Host and Guest - right?

TinyXP can be found all over the net - Google it to get the Torrent -

The TinyXP rev 09 will save on your Mac computer as TinyXP-rev09.iso - remember where this is saved too.

For Mac buffs an .ISO is almost the same as a .DMG and can be mounted the same way.

##Revisions to this post

  • 14 Apr 09 - For now, I’ll assume you have used Virtualbox before and I have made lots of shortcuts in these notes which I hope to correct in the future
  • 02 Aug 09 - Virtualbox 3 is out and fixes a few issues like internet connectivity. See my other post on Windows 7 RC and Virtualbox if you’re interested.
  • 01 Mar 10 - Added instructions on how to find the .iso with TinyXP network drivers

Create a New Virtual Machine for Windows XP in Virtualbox

  1. Run Virtualbox, create a new Guest (winxp of course)
  2. Then click Settings in the toolbar
  3. Click on Storage then CD/DVD - Mount and then check the Radio button for ISO Image File
  4. Click the funny Folder Up Icon mount the disc image for TinyXP
  5. Open a new Mac Finder window and go to the saved location for the TinyXP.iso
  6. Click and drag the TinyXP.iso back into the Virtualbox Window
  7. Press Select and then OK

Start the install of TinyXP in Virtualbox Virtual machine

Press Start -if you mounted the TinyXP image, then the WinXP guest will boot the image file and run the TinyXP Win installer.

  • Please note: there is no seemless integration between Mac OSx, Virtualbox and the Winxp Guest window yet .. so that means you need to click on the guest window to bring control focus to the WinXP installer. BEFORE you can select the installation options

Choose the option with IE and OE - that’s with internet explorer and outlook express

and so in about 15mins I was logged into WinXP - thats about half the time it normally takes.

BUT .. TinyXP and Virtualbox don’t like each other as

  • TinyXP doesnt come with NIC drivers for the Virtualbox AMD network card so there was no network or no internet
  • TinyXP disables many services needed for Shared Folders

How to enable shared folders in Virtualbox with TinyXP

In the WinXP guest - go to Control Panel .. Admin Tools - Services

I just sorted the column for status (running, manual, disabled) - and enabled the ones I need -

Routing and Remote Access Network DDE Network DDE DSDM

Reboot the Winxp guest

Now mount the disc image for the Guest Additions and run those

Reboot -

How to get Virtualbox and TinyXP network card working

Launch your favourite Torrent Search engine and look for this exact phrase networkdriverstinyxp.iso

BTW - thanks to another reader for find this for me.

Start up your WinXP guest

a - go to your VMWare shared folders and copy that file you just downloaded to your desktop and run the installer.

b - the longer part

Now go to Control Panel > System or right-click My Computer and choose Properties

Choose the Hardware Tab then Drivers

You’ll see a little Yellow Question mark next to the VMWare NIC Card

Right Click this and choose update Drivers

Select c:/winxp/drivers/inf

Woo hoo .. 99% done - 1 more reboot

Shutdown this time


How to configure Virtualbox Network Settings to work with Mac osX Airport

Goto the Network settings section - change it from NAT .. to Bridged .. then click the funny yellow screwdriver -. and select en1: Airport

Leave it set as PCnet-FAST III

Save your settings - cross your fingers

Start the WinXP guest - once you logged in your Virtualbox Network Status lights will start flashing .. now just open Internet Explorer

Oh you did choose to install TinyXP with IE & OE didn’t you ??

_What else is missing from this HOW TO guide? _

Tags: mac, osx, tinyxp, virtualisation, Windows, winxp

Read more from my blog for an introduction and quick tips on developing in Hugo or UCTD.

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Damien Saunders
An experienced management consultant and business leader interested in digital transformation, product centred design and scaled agile. If I'm not writing about living with UCTD (an autoimmune disease), I'm probably listening to music, reading a book or learning more about wine.