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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