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Fix Slow Windows Networking Problems When VirtualBox is Installed

December 31st, 2010

If you’ve ever installed multiple operating systems on your computer, you know what a severe pain it can be when something goes wrong. Even removing one of your multiple OSes can be a hassle when bootloaders get all screwed up.

For me, the answer to these problems  is VirtualBox. VirtualBox is a simple, cross-platform virtualization solution that lets you set aside a chunk of hard disk space, give it a name, and then you just tell it, “I want to install linux here”, pop in your install disc (or whatever), and VirtualBox takes care of the rest. Voila, linux running in a window – inside Windows itself. It’s really handy!

Only one problem: Sometimes when VirtualBox is installed (but not even running), your Windows networking may get REEEEALLY slow. You may not even be able to see other machines on your local network.

Fortunately, there is a very quick and easy way to fix it!

Without further ado:

  1. Open the Network and Sharing Center
  2. Click Change adapter settings on the left.
  3. You’ll see your Local Area Connection or WiFi connection listed, along with another adapter called VirtualBox Host-Only Network. Right click this VirtualBox adapter, and choose Disable

You’re done.

It turns out that on every computer I’ve installed VirtualBox on, the “virtual ethernet adapter” is NOT required for VirtualBox to establish network connectivity in my virtual OS installs.

Disabling VirtualBox’s virtual adapter has no effect whatsoever… except that networking in my Windows 7 host OS starts working normally again.

I spent about a week trying to figure out what was wrong with my LAN settings. Hopefully now you won’t have to!

Note that VirtualBox is totally free, and it’s available for Windows, OS X, Linux, and Solaris. Best of all, the performance of a virtual OS install is almost as fast as a native install. It really is zippy! So, give it a try. Don’t worry, there is an online VirtualBox user manual. It’s a piece of cake to set up.

Oh, and Happy New Year!

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  1. Shaun
    May 26th, 2011 at 04:26 | #1

    Yeah that works, but that is not the proper fix (at least on Windows 7). The host only is needed for shared folders, and it is not the primary reason for the slow networking. The reason for the slow networking is a bad autodetection of the network settings. You DO NOT want Windows to automatically detect settings when Virtualbox is installed. Go to Control Panel => Internet Properties => Connections tab => LAN settings, and make sure all of the checkboxes are UNchecked. After I did this and rebooted, the difference was night and day!

  2. antonello
    January 4th, 2014 at 14:41 | #2

    Thank you, that works
    Happy new year for you

  3. April 8th, 2014 at 21:38 | #3

    oh wow! this actually WORKED!! 🙂 thank you, it feels faster already! also, the first comment here is valid as well, no downside so far 🙂

    thanks guys!

  4. Whoever
    January 20th, 2015 at 02:56 | #4

    A little late thank you. I was about to uninstall Virtualbox, that’s how bad it was! Disabling host-only does NOT seem affect shared folder.

  5. January 3rd, 2016 at 01:55 | #5

    Most of the case issues are coming due to Adapter setting only

    Setting > Network > Adapter :
    Best way :

    Adapter 1(Setting) – Nat and connect via cable.
    Adapter 2(Setting) – Bridge and “Virtual Host box Ethernet..”
    IE – Options : Customize Security.

    Just restart Virtual box or without restart also internet will come 100%.

  6. sunil
    September 20th, 2016 at 09:10 | #6

    It did not work for me.

    1) VirtualBox adapter, and choose Disable

    Still it is taking close to one minute for connection.

    Do we have other workaround?

  7. December 26th, 2016 at 14:09 | #7

    I did the same because internet connection starts infinitely long after Virtual Box installation 🙂
    Disabling Virtual Box network card solved this issue! 🙂

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