Here we pick up on step 2…Steps 1 is located here.
Creating the Virtual Machine
The next few steps are assuming you have a desktop running and can use the VirtualBox GUI. If you don’t, there is really good documentation available for the commands you will need.
1. Run VirtualBox by locating it in the main menu or type virtualbox from a command line. The virtualbox wizard is really very straight forward and easy to understand.
2. Choose a name for the VM. I suggest choosing a name without spaces since this will be a directory that you may want to move later on or refer to in backup scripts. Avoiding spaces just makes those tasks easier. Choose Windows 2012 (64 bit) as the Version.
3. Select memory allocation. Virtualbox will indicate how much is needed by the host system by displaying a red bar below the memory allocation scale. Try to stay out of the red since the host system may need those resources.
4. Choose hard drive space allocation. VirtualBox will give you a suggestion here as well. Try to give yourself extra space to grow since it is not quite straight forward growing this later on.
5. Choose what type of hard drive file VirtualBox creates. I used the default (VDI or Virtual Disk Image).
6. Choose whether to grow the VM’s disk usage up to the allocated amount as it is used or use a fixed size. VirtualBox says there is a speed savings by using a fixed size but I haven’t noticed any problems using the dynamically allocated hard drive.
7. Select file location and size limit. By default, a folder will be created in your home directory named “VirtualBox VMs”. There will then be another folder created within that folder named the same as the VM name created in step 1. If you need to move this to another disk or directory with more space, you can move the VM directory and then do a symbolic link to that directory from the the default location.
8. VM is created! On the main VirtualBox page, a summary will be displayed for your new VM.
Managing the Settings
1. On the Systems Sub-Menu, you can adjust memory allocation on the “Motherboard” tab and CPU settings on the “Processor” tab.
2. On the Display Sub-Menu you will find RDP settings on the “Remote Display” tab. Check the box to enable RDP. Change authentication method to “External”. Port 3389 is the default and can be safely left at that value. You may also want to check the box to allow multiple connections.
3. On the Network Sub-Menu you will find options for virtual network adapters. NAT works as if the VM is in a private network “within” the host machine. You can access the outside world but the rest of your network will not be able to see you since you are on a different network altogether.
Since we are wanting to be able to run services and connect to the VM directly, we will need to select the Bridged Adapter option. This will allow us to choose an IP address that matches the rest of our network. For example, if the host adapter (eth2 in this case) is 192.168.0.100 and we want our VM to be 192.168.0.200. All traffic sent to 192.168.0.200 will be automatically routed through 192.168.0.100 to our VM. The IP address is determined within the Windows VM and can be changed through Windows network configuration.
At this point, the VM environment should be set up and ready to go! The next step is to install Windows and set up a fixed IP address. This will be covered in the next article in this series.