I have a PC with Windows 7 Ultimate (A) running on it. From within that OS I have VirtualBox running another Windows 7 instance (B).

Is there any way for the Windows 7 (B) to access files from Windows 7 (A)? Ideally I'd like to be able to access them without having to copy them into the VM instance running because I don't have a big enough hard drive to do so... The hard drive has a folder with 1.5 TB of data (on a 2 TB hard drive), so copying it to a VM instance just wouldn't work.

  • Note also a troubleshooting step: make sure that the files are accessible from the host operating system with the correct access-control settings for read-write-execute.
    – dreftymac
    Nov 4, 2015 at 11:13

4 Answers 4


There are several ways to accomplish this.

You can use VBox's own Shared folders feature.

For this: Go to Settings of the Virtual Machine and then select: Shared Folders.

Click on Add Shared Folder button. Specify folder path and folder name.

In Virtual Machine you go to \\vboxsrv\

you would see your folders.

You can also Create a network share and access that share from within B to A.

  • Will either of these need to do a copy of the file (even if into a temporary folder) to utilize it? I know network shares across different machines work like this... I never did a network share on the same machine. Also, same goes for the shared folder (is that a situation where the file gets copied to be used)?
    – myermian
    Jan 24, 2012 at 2:16
  • No. It will not copy your files. That's why it's called Shared Folder
    – bakytn
    Jan 24, 2012 at 2:18
  • Once this works you'll get the checkmark :)
    – myermian
    Jan 24, 2012 at 2:21
  • Using the second approach is more harder though. You would need to play with Networking (like change network attachment to Bridged) etc. The first and most obvious way must solve your problem perfectly.
    – bakytn
    Jan 24, 2012 at 2:21
  • 1
    myermian, just in case it will not work. Probably you would need to install Extenstion Pack from official downloads page: virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads download it. And then just double click on it.
    – bakytn
    Jan 24, 2012 at 2:23

I assume you have your VM up and running. Follow these steps:

  1. On the VM window, Go to Tools -> Insert Guest additions CD Image. enter image description here

  2. You'll see a new CD drive in My computer. open it and start "VBoxWindowsAdditions"enter image description here

  3. Follow setup to install guest addition on the Guest machine. Reboot the guest.
  4. Next, open VM settings:enter image description here
  5. Go to Shared Folders -> right click -> add shared folder -> add the folder you want to share: enter image description here
  6. Your shared folder will appear under My Computer in the guest machine.

You can follow similar method for other operating systems too.

  • this is brilliant! I hadn't realised that I needed to restart the VM which is why I was having so many problems, thanks Mar 18, 2017 at 7:27
  • This works, the other answers do not (or not readily).
    – metsburg
    Mar 10, 2020 at 23:24

Another option is just to copy files:

Select Virtual Machine and go to Settings - General - Advanced, there you can configure Shared clipboard and Drag'n'Drop support. I selected Bidirectional option for both.

Now you can drag-drop files between Host and Guest, also you can copy text in Host machine and Paste it on Guest VM (and vice-versa)

  • 1
    This technique doesn't work with really large files. But works fine for smaller ones.
    – burns
    Feb 6, 2016 at 18:44

The most simple way is to use USB Flash Memory:

1- Connect your USB Flash Memory to your computer.

2- Your flash memory should get recognized to your virtual machine in:

Setting > USB > Add new USB

3- Run your VB machine and go to removable drive as usual and explore your files.


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