Run Portable VirtualBox from USB

Can you Run VirtualBox from USB? Yes, Portable VirtualBox was an unofficial Portable Wrapper for Virtual Box, created by Micha. An improved version was later offered by Tibo, the author of the (LiLi) Live Linux USB Creator. Both can be used to boot VirtualBox on USB without restarting the host computer.

VirtualBox is officially a product of Oracle. It is a virtual machine (VM) that uses x86 and AMD64/Intel64 native virtualization instead of an emulator. The VM can be used to run various Operating Systems via Disk Images, ISO files and CD or DVDs as a guest OS from within another host operating environment.

By using Micha or Tibo’s portable wrapper, VirtualBox can be stored and run entirely from a USB device. Enabling you to take your Virtual Machine with you and then boot your Linux distros from USB without restarting. This can be very useful if you need to force boot from USB without BIOS access or support. Or if you can’t shutdown the computer and are unable to disrupt the running host Operating System.

Note: You can also use Portable Virtual Box to boot YUMI within Windows.

Official VB Home Page: The Official VB Home Page
Micha’s Portable Wrapper: Micha’s Portable Wrapper
Tibo’s Portable VirtualBox: Tibo’s Portable Version of VirtualBox

Question: Can VirtualBox run on USB? Absolutely;

How to Run VirtualBox from USB

  1. First, Download Tibo’s
  2. Then, extract the contents from the zipped file to your flash drive.
  3. Navigate to the VirtualBox folder on your USB device and click VirtualBox.exe.
  4. Next, select the existing LiveLinux Entry, and then click Start.
    Portable VirtualBox - Run VirtualBox from USB

If your USB flash drive already boots fine natively, it should startup. If not, you can use the “Universal USB Installer” or “YUMI” to quickly create a bootable USB, and then re-attempt booting it from your Portable VirtualBox. Note that under settings/general, you’ll probably need to select 64bit for Linux version. By default this is set to 32bit… and nowadays, most of our ISO files are 64bit.

Portable VirtualBox on USB (Run Linux from Windows)

Sabayon Linux is shown here running from VirtualBox on USB.
Portable Virtualbox - Running Linux on Windows from USB

Being able to bring your virtual machine with you on USB is pretty nifty. Furthermore, it makes for a convenient way to launch your favorite Live Linux OS from an up and running Windows PC. Eliminating the need to reboot. If you want to quickly show a Linux distribution to a friend or colleague, this is a great alternative to rebooting. It is also very useful for those times when you don’t want to disturb the running host OS, but still need to get some Linux based work done.