I have a computer with Ubuntu 14.04, with several user accounts. In one of those accounts, I have a virtual machine in VirtualBox. I would like to share that virtual machine with the other users of the computer. How can I do it?
To make a VM available from different user accounts on one computer (not having it running at the same time), you need to set up a few things:
- Locate the virtual hard drive of the shared machine in a directory where different users have appropriate permissions.
- Create virtual machines on the different accounts, using that same virtual hard drive.
How it can be done
Create a shared folder, in your personal home folder, for you and other user(s):
Make other users member of the group
yourusername(the easiest way is to install gnome-system-tools and use the
users and groups-section.
Manage groups > choose_yourusername > properties > add_other_users(detailed instructions here to mange users, and here to create a shared folder)
Change the permissions of the folder; right-click on in nautilus. In the permissions tab, change the group permissions for group
read & write.
Change the permissions for the files in the folder similarly (the button down in the nautilus properties window).
Create a virtual machine in VirtualBox. Do not use the default directory for a disk, but browse to the shared folder and save the disk image there. If you have an existing VM, delete it, delete its folder in
~/VirtualBox VMsas well, but keep its disk image, and move it to the shared folder first, then create a new VM, using the existing image as a harddisk. (if you try to relink the disk image in your existing VM, VirtualBox will complain the UUID already exists).
- On the other user's account(s), create similar machines, but use the hard disk image in the shared directory:
/home/yourusername/shared_folder/machine_name.vdi(depending on the diskimage you created)
it's easier to just set file permissions for particular VM for user group.
I doesn't matter where it is, you don't have to delete and redo anything.
In my case it was in my \home\ folder and I just set file permissions to read/write for user group where the other user was.
Then log in as this other user, enter Virtualbox > Machine > Add and navigate to vmdk (or other format) file of this particular VM.
No issues. No idea why you need to create new VM.
to share the VM to other users the idea is simply to create a new virtual machine on every user login and give it a different name. so When you get to the part about a new or existing hard drive select the existing VM from my login and finished the new set-up. This causes a new .xml file to be created in ~/.VirtualBox/Machines/YourVMname folder. This .xml file holds the config settings for the VM you are running.