In my previous post on using Windows virtual machines on Linux, I mentioned that I switched back to VirtualBox. Well, it turns out that VirtualBox would also completely hang my machine, just less frequently than VMWare.

However, I think finally found a great solution: GNOME Boxes! I was looking for how to import a VirtualBox Windows VM into QEMU/KVM, which is what Boxes uses under the hood. Not finding anything useful, I just installed Boxes and tried to open an existing VirtualBox VM on my machine. And it just worked!

So far I'm very impressed. Closing the VM and restoring it happens almost instantly. It did have high CPU utilization initially, but was spreading the load over seven of the eight cores on my machine. I barely even noticed it apart from a high fan noise and looking in top. Compare this to VirtualBox and VMWare, that somehow only uses one or two cores, and then still manages to bring down the whole machine.

Everything is exactly where you expect it to be in Boxes. Changing the properties is easy to find, and the minimalistic interface gets out of your way. I should have done this ages ago - if I just knew how easy it would be to transfer my VirtualBox VM to Boxes. This morning I installed the guest additions on the machine, and it improved the video driver on the fly without even having to reboot anything.

I guess if I spent hours on obscure VMWare or VirtualBox settings and config files, I would've eventually been able to make it work. But with Boxes everything just works - out of the box![1]

  1. Sorry, I couldn't help it. ↩︎