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I am trying to create a virtual machine using virtualBox and I have finished the whole process of specifying the size, the name, etc. However, when I try to power on the machine it tells me:

Please select a virtual optical disk file or a physical optical drive containing a disk to start your new virtual machine from.

The disk should be suitable for starting a computer from and should contain the operating system you wish to install on the virtual machine if you want to do that now. The disk will be ejected from the virtual drive automatically next time you switch the virtual machine off, but you can also do this yourself if needed using the Devices menu.

I am planning to run notepad++ on my new windows virtual machine but I don't know what a virtual optical disk file is or how to make one. Can someone please help me?

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By "Virtual optical disk file" it means an .iso image – a complete copy of a CD's or DVD's contents. (That is, not just the files, but also the complete structure.)

In other words, you created a blank VM, and now it's asking you to insert an installation disc so that you could install Windows (or Linux, or…) on it.

If you have an actual CD with Windows on it (or can buy one), you can use various tools to make an .iso image of it (like ImgBurn on Windows, Disk Utility on OS X, or the cp, pv, dd commands on Linux/BSD/OSX).

If you don't have a CD, download the .iso image from the net – all Linux & BSD distros come in .iso form, and for Windows there are both legal & illegal places to obtain those (e.g. MSDN).

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    VirtualBox also has the ability to access the host's physical CD/DVD drive... I think? Just as it can be configured to read the host USB ports and other devices??? So you shouldn't need to make an ISO if the physical disk is available? – Kinnectus Jul 29 '15 at 6:06
  • It does, if you don't mind the slowness. – user1686 Jul 29 '15 at 7:37
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If you are attempting to create the VM from a .vhd file, make sure that that Virtual Hard Drive has actually been connected to the VM.

I had mistakenly created a new (blank) virtual hard drive instead.

So the VM was trying to boot from either a blank hard drive or an empty optical disk drive, which obviously won't work. This error is saying that you need to supply a bootable disk for the VM to boot.

More details here:

FATAL: No bootable medium found! System Halted

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