Upgrading Virtual Box On Windows


I have been using Virtual Box as a virtualisation environment ever since I moved to Windows 7 and found that Microsoft seems to have forgotten about 64 bit support for its Windows Virtual PC environment (hopefully it is coming but I can’t find that commitment anywhere).

It is a great product and a new release (3.2.xx) has just come out so I thought I should get upgraded. This seems to be the first release since Oracle took over Sun and I was pretty keen to see if the Sun approach of offering a good free product was being maintained by the new owners.

It appears that I didn’t need to worry as it seems that the approach is still part of the Oracle strategy, although time will tell if we will end up with a hamstrung free product and have to pay for the good stuff.

So I downloaded version 3.2 from the Oracle site and as I was about to use the standard Microsoft approach to installing upgrades, where the installer actually takes care of removing the old product. Given I wasn’t 100% sure if this would be the right approach I thought I’d have a quick look at the installation instructions. Looked everywhere and couldn’t find a single reference to whether or not the product would auto-upgrade on install.

I did find a number of references to installing on Unix/Linux variants and they invariably outlined an uninstall then install approach. While that is a pretty common scenario in those operating systems, it is not the typical scenario in Windows.

Looking into it a bit further (I started the install to see if it would indicate what it would do) I discovered that it now installs to a new path (Oracle instead of Sun in the path). I reasonably (I think) concluded from this that I would end up with a duplicate install (somebody please ping me to let me know if this is incorrect).

I was concerned that an uninstall would remove virtual hard disks and VM configurations. Fortunately, the uninstall doesn’t touch that stuff and after uninstalling and installing the new version, everything was still there.

So if you need to upgrade Virtual Box, I recommend an uninstall then install approach.

Happy virtualisation!

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