Boot a USB Flash Drive in VirtualBox

Here, we show you how we booted from a USB Flash Drive in VirtualBox. This process will allow you to run your Portable Linux from the USB Flash Drive or external hard drive while still running from Windows. By default VirtualBox does not support USB Boot. However this is easily attainable by mapping a virtual machine to the USB Drive.

VirtualBox Website: http://www.virtualbox.org

How to Boot from a USB Flash Drive in VirtualBox

  1. Download and Install VirtualBox (Install to the default path)
  2. Click Start > Run Type diskmgmt.msc and click OK (In Vista/Win7 use the Start > Search Box)
    (1) Locate your USB Disk #
    Diskmgmt.msc
  3. Open a command prompt cmd.exe (run as admin in Vista/Win7)
  4. Type cd %programfiles%\oracle\virtualbox
  5. Type the following (replace # with your USB Disk number from step 2)
    VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename "%USERPROFILE%"\.VirtualBox\usb.vmdk -rawdisk \\.\PhysicalDrive#
  6. Start VirtualBox (run as admin in Vista/Win7) and create a New Virtual Machine Create a New Virtual Machine
  7. When prompted for a Virtual Hard Disk, tick use existing hard disk and select usb.vmdk Select Existing Virtual Disk usb.vmdk
  8. Once you have finished creating your New Virtual Machine, click StartStart VirtualBox

If all goes well, VirtualBox should now be running the Linux version installed on your USB device emulated from within Windows.

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