Modularity.

VirtualBox has an extremely modular design with well-defined internal programming interfaces and a client/server design. This makes it easy to control it from several interfaces at once: for example, you can start a virtual machine in a typical virtual machine GUI and then control that machine from the command line, or possibly remotely. VirtualBox also comes with a full Software Development Kit: even though it is Open Source Software, you don't have to hack the source to write a new interface for VirtualBox.

Virtual machine descriptions in XML.

The configuration settings of virtual machines are stored entirely in XML and are independent of the local machines. Virtual machine definitions can therefore easily be ported to other computers.

Guest Additions for Windows, Linux and Solaris.

VirtualBox has special software that can be installed inside Windows, Linux and Solaris virtual machines to improve performance and make integration much more seamless. Among the features provided by these Guest Additions are mouse pointer integration and arbitrary screen solutions (e.g. by resizing the guest window). There are also guest additions for OS/2 with somewhat reduced functionality.

Shared folders.

Like many other virtualization solutions, for easy data exchange between hosts and guests, VirtualBox allows for declaring certain host directories as "shared folders", which can then be accessed from within virtual machines.

What's New:

This is a maintenance release. The following items were fixed and/or added:

  • Storage: fixed a regression causing write requests from the BIOS to cause a Guru Meditation with the LsiLogic SCSI controller (5.0.18 regression; bug #15317)
  • Storage: several emulation fixes in the BusLogic SCSI controller emulation
  • NAT Network: support TCP in DNS proxy (same problem as in bug #14736 for NAT)
  • NAT: rework handling of port-forwarding rules (bug #13570)
  • NAT: rewrite host resolver to handle more query types and make it asynchronous so that a stalled lookup doesn't block all NAT traffic
  • Snapshots: don't crash when restoring a snapshot which has more network adapters than the current state (ie when the snapshot uses ICH9 and the current state uses PIIX3)
  • Guest Control: various bugfixes for the copyfrom and copyto commands / API (bug #14336)
  • VBoxManage: list processor features on list hostinfo (bug #15334)
  • Linux hosts: fix for Linux 4.5 if CONFIG_NET_CLS_ACT is enabled (bug #15327)
  • Windows hosts: another fix for recent Windows 10 insider builds (bug #15337)
  • Windows hosts: make it work on Windows XP again (5.0.18 regression)
  • Windows Additions: fixed performance issues with PowerPoint 2010 and the WDDM graphics drivers if Aero is disabled