How to Install Windows 7 in VirtualBox on Windows 11

This article will examine how to set up and use Windows 7 on a new virtual machine using Oracle VM VirtualBox 7.0 on the Windows 11 or 10 operating system.

How to Install Windows 7 on VirtualBox 7.0

How to Set Up Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit on Windows 10/11 using Oracle VM VirtualBox 7

Following the Windows Vista system, Microsoft unveiled Windows 7 on October 22, 2009, catering to personal computers, tablets, media devices, and laptops, focusing on enhancing performance and security.

Windows 7 has Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions.

This Windows version was developed to deliver an enhanced user experience and improved convenience in the interaction between users and computers. Windows 7 supports processors with fewer cores and 32 Bit and 64 Bit architectures.

Shortly after releasing this operating system, Microsoft promptly issued the Service Pack 1 (SP1) update package to address system vulnerabilities, bugs, and performance issues.

Windows 7 is Microsoft‘s most widely used and favorite operating system today. Today, most companies and individuals still use this version of Windows.

This operating system is almost the smoothest, but Microsoft terminated support for the Windows 7 operating system on January 19, 2015. On the other hand, Extended Support ended entirely on January 14, 2020.

For this explanation, we strongly advise against installing an outdated operating system on your host computer. Instead, we recommend utilizing virtualization software like VMware or VirtualBox to run and experience more aged systems, such as Windows 7, on a virtual machine. This approach ensures a separate and isolated environment for compatibility and security purposes.

How to Create a New Virtual Machine for Windows 7 OS

First, you need to correctly create a virtual computer and configure the performance settings of the devices. Once you have successfully established the Oracle software on your host computer, click its shortcut to launch the program. From there, carefully follow the steps below to create a new virtual machine.

Step 1

After running the virtualization software on your Windows 11 or Windows 10 system, click Machine / New on the program’s main page or click New with the big icon as in the image below.

Creating a New Virtual Machine

Step 2

When you type the name of the operating system you will install on your Virtual PC in the Name area, VirtualBox will automatically set the Type and Version values. For example, suppose you type Windows 7 in the operating system name. In that case, the version is set to 64 Bit automatically, and if you are going to install 32 Bit, configure the architecture of the system manually.

To add a Windows 7 ISO file to the virtual machine, expand the drop-down menu from the ISO Image section and click Other.

Adding Windows 7 ISO File to Virtual Machine

Step 3

Choose the Windows 7 image file you downloaded to your computer from in the newly opened window. Once chosen, click the “Open” button to use the file.

Choosing the Windows 7 ISO File

Step 4

In VirtualBox’s 7.x versions, you can now use the unattended installation feature to prepare a guest machine with preconfigured settings. However, since preparing a VM with the manual method will be more stable, select the Skip Unattended Installation option and click Next.

Skipping Unattended Installation

Step 5

For the Memory Size setting, set a suitable value for the Windows 7 VM depending on the RAM capacity of your host computer. Suppose your host computer has a total of 8 GB RAM. In that case, it is advised to configure the allocated memory for the virtual machine to 4 GB, which is acceptable for smooth operation.

Configuring Number of Virtual Processors and Memory Size

Step 6

Since installing Windows 7 from scratch, you must now select Create a virtual hard disk in the Hard disk configuration window. Suppose you have a VM previously installed with Oracle virtualization software. For that topic, you need to add the virtual HDD of that system with the Use of an existing virtual hard disk file option.

In the 6.x versions of VirtualBox, select VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image) developed by Oracle for the virtual disk type and continue. VHD is used for Microsoft proprietary virtualization software. VMDK is a virtual disk file commonly used by VMware Workstation.

Also, you must select in this window how the virtual disk file will be stored on your physical HDD. Suppose you want to fill the capacity of your host disk sparingly. In that case, you should choose the Dynamically Allocated option. If you have a more aged PC, it is recommended to allocate disk space on your host’s disk equal to the capacity of the virtual disk using the Fixed Size option.

Creating a New Virtual Disk

Step 7

Review the hardware settings of the Windows 7 guest machine you have prepared and close the wizard.

Hardware Summary of Windows 7 Virtual Machine

Step 8

Click Settings to configure the settings of the virtual computer you created more professionally.

Opening the Virtual Machine's Settings

Step 9

In the Windows 7 VM settings, configure the Shared Clipboard and Drag and Drop properties as Bidirectional in the General / Advanced tab to copy files or text between the host and the VM with copy/paste and transfer files by drag/drop method.

Enabling Shared Clipboard and Drag and Drop Features

Step 10

To establish Windows or Linux operating systems on a physical computer, you must modify the boot order in the BIOS settings. Then, insert the operating system’s installation media into the optical drive and start the computer, booting from the media.

The boot order must be changed when installing a system on virtual machines. You need to set the Boot Order settings of the System / Motherboard hardware in the Windows 7 virtual computer settings. Since Floppy is legacy hardware, disable the device and configure the first boot order as Optical.

Changing the Boot Order in the Motherboard Settings of the VM

Step 11

You have the flexibility to add multiple virtual CPUs to the virtual appliance based on the performance capabilities of your host CPU. Specifically for Windows 7, you can configure the Processor set to allocate four virtual CPUs.

Also, you can enable Nested VT-x/AMD-V if you want to operate a VM inside a VM using virtualization software such as VirtualBox on your guest operating system.

Enabling Nested Virtualization

Step 12

Enable Nested Paging so the guest machine can better access your host’s RAM hardware and improve memory management.

Enabling Nested Paging

Step 13

Activate the 3D Acceleration option and configure the Video Memory value to 256 MB to improve virtual computer image quality and adequately run applications or games containing 3D graphics.

Enabling 3D Acceleration and Increasing Video Memory

Step 14

For the performance of the virtual computer, enable the Host I/O Cache feature on the SATA controller in the Storage settings.

Enabling Host I/O Cache on SATA Controller

Step 15

Configure Windows7.vdi virtual disk file as Solid-State Drive (SSD) disk type.

Configuring Windows 7.vdi Virtual Disk as SSD

Step 16

In your virtual computer, make sure that the 3.0 (xHCI) controller is enabled in the settings of the USB appliance so that you can transfer files faster using a USB 3.x supported storage or flash memory.

USB 3.0 Controller

Step 17

Click the Start button to begin your Windows 7 virtual PC.

Operating the Windows 7 Guest Machine

How to Install Windows 7

Once you have prepared your virtual computer and selected the boot media, you can install Windows 7 using VirtualBox. After launching your virtual machine, you must follow the same installation stages as installing the operating system on a physical computer.

Step 1

When the Windows 7 setup screen opens, select the display language, time settings, and keyboard layout you want to use for your OS and click the Next button.

Windows 7 Setup Screen

Step 2

After making the necessary basic settings, click the Install Now button and continue.

Starting Windows 7 Setup

Step 3

Kindly provide your consent by agreeing to the license agreement for the Windows 7 Ultimate Service Pack 1 (SP1) platform and continue by clicking the “Next” button.

Accepting the License Agreement

Step 4

Click on the Custom option at this step, as you will perform a clean system installation.

Choosing Advanced Setup

Step 5

Click Drive Options in the disk configuration window of the Windows setup wizard.

To establish a fresh partition on the virtual disk, choose the disk, select “New”, and then click the “Apply” button to validate the automatic disk space allocation. Also, when you receive an information message that additional fields will be created so that Windows can work correctly, click OK and continue.

Viewing Drive Options and Partitioning a Virtual Disk

Step 6

Select the partition you created (Disk 0 Partition 2) and click Next.

Disk 0 Partition 2

Step 7

Wait while the setup wizard expands the Windows files for installation.

Expanding Windows Files

Step 8

After the installation files are copied to the disk, wait to restart your virtual computer within the specified time or directly click the Restart Now button.

Restarting the Virtual Computer

Step 9

After your system restarts, type a new name for your user account and the computer name and click Next.

Typing User and Computer Name

Step 10

To configure a password for your virtual system, kindly complete the necessary fields depicted in the image provided and proceed accordingly. If you would instead not create a password, kindly click the “Next” button.

Setting Password for User Account

Step 11

To use a licensed operating system on your guest machine, type your product key and click Next. Suppose you select Automatically Activate Windows When I’m Online after typing your product key. In such a scenario, your system will be activated automatically upon accessing the Internet.

If you do not hold a Windows 7 product key, you can continue by clicking Skip or Next.

Windows 7 Product Key

Step 12

Click Use Recommended Settings for Windows firewall and system updates.

Recommended Windows Security Settings

Step 13

Choose your time zone according to your country and make your date settings.

Time and Date Settings

Step 14

Select the current location of your virtual computer for network and sharing settings.

Choice of Home, Work or Public Network

Step 15

Wait while the Windows 7 desktop layout is being prepared.

Preparing Your Desktop

Step 16

To examine the system properties of Windows 7, you can right-click on My Computer and subsequently select Properties.

Windows 7 System Properties

How to Install Guest Additions

After installing Windows 7 on the virtual computer, you must install Guest Additions to configure the screen resolution as full screen, use it in scale mode, and copy files to the host.

Step 1

Before installing Guest Additions on Windows 7, open Device Manager on your virtual machine and check for not installed drivers or drivers that need to be installed correctly.

When you examine the image below, you can see that the driver for the Base System Device and Standard VGA Graphics Adapter devices is not installed.

Viewing Device Manager

Step 2

Click Devices / Insert Guest Additions CD Image in the Oracle VM VirtualBox tool menu.

Installing Guest Additions

Step 3

If the image file of the guest addons is not detected automatically on the guest machine, open My Computer, and after viewing the contents of the image file, run the VBoxWindowsAdditions-amd64 file as an administrator and click the Yes button in the User Account Control window.

VBoxWindowsAdditions-amd64

Step 4

When the Guest Additions setup wizard opens, click Next directly.

Guest Additions Setup Wizard

Step 5

Leave the installation location of guest additions as default in your virtual system.

Installation Location

Step 6

Check that the Direct3D feature is enabled in the Choose Components window and click the Install button.

Selecting Components

Step 7

Check the option always to trust the software from Oracle and click the Install button again.

Always Trust the Software from Oracle Company

Step 8

Once the guest plugins are installed on the guest machine, please restart your system to confirm the changes take effect.

Restarting the Virtual PC

Step 9

When your guest machine is turned on, open Device Manager again and check that the drivers for the graphics adapter and other devices are installed correctly.

Checking All Drivers Are Installed

Step 10

Click View / Full-Screen Mode from the tool menu to adapt your Windows 7 VM to your host’s screen size. Nevertheless, you possess a 2K or 4K display. In that case, it is crucial to remember that adjusting the display scale settings to a higher value in the virtualization software’s configuration will enhance the text size of the operating system.

Controlling Full Screen Resolution

Step 11

Kindly generate a new text document on your host computer and proceed by dragging and dropping it into the desktop location of your virtual PC. Upon reviewing the image below, you will observe a smooth and error-free file transfer.

Drag and Drop File Copying Between Host and VM

How to Test Internet Connection

You can see that the network settings are configured when you want to access the Internet through the virtual machine. This is because the network services of VirtualBox are running correctly in the background of your host.

Step 1

Open the CMD command prompt on your guest machine, ping 8.8.8.8, and check that it can access Google servers.

Ping 8.8.8.8

Step 2

Once the ping is successfully executed, proceed to establish a connection with the Google search engine using Internet Explorer. Verify that your Internet settings are accurately configured.

Visiting the Google Homepage

How to Configure Shared Folder

Although the drag-and-drop file transfer between the host and the virtual PC is working, sometimes copying files to the virtual machine may take time. It is valuable to create a Shared Folder to avoid such problems.

Step 1

Click Devices / Shared Folders / Shared Folders Settings on the Win7 guest machine.

Adding Shared Folders

Step 2

When Shared Folders opens its settings, click the green + button and open the sharing settings. In the Add Share window, select a common folder between your host and your VM for the Folder Path.

Enable Auto-Mount and Make Permanent to map the shared folder as a network drive and on My Computer. After checking the location of the public folder again, click OK.

Adding the Path to the Shared Folder on the Host

Step 3

Check that you can access the shared folder via the My Computer shortcut of the virtual machine.

Also, check that the VBOXSVR device is available on the network. If VBOXSVR is not visible, you can access Shared Folder after enabling the network and sharing settings.

Viewing the Shared Folder on My Computer

Step 4

It will instantly be synchronized when you create a file or folder from your host system and a guest machine in the shared folder.

Checking Shared Folder Between Host and VM

How to Install USB Driver and Use Flash Memory in VM

To use USB devices such as Flash Memory on a Windows 7 guest machine, you must enable USB 3.0 in the VM’s settings.

Step 1

Upon launching your virtual machine, you will notice that the Universal Serial Bus (USB) Controller device driver is not automatically installed within the device manager. Download the USB 3.0 driver package for Windows 7 64 Bit from the table below the article to your host and copy the installation files to the VM.

Checking the USB Driver

Step 2

Open the USB 3.0 Driver folder and run the Setup file as an administrator.

USB 3.0 Driver Installation

Step 3

After checking the drivers to be installed on your system in the Intel USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller Driver window, click Next.

Intel USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller Driver

Step 4

Click Yes to accept the USB 3.0 Driver’s license agreement and continue.

Accepting the USB Drive's License Agreement

Step 5

Click Next in the information window, informing you not to run the USB driver from a USB storage device.

Readme File Information

Step 6

While installing USB 3.0 drivers on Windows 7, the device manager configures the devices automatically.

USB 3.0 Devices Ready to Use

Step 7

Click the Finish button when the USB setup wizard is complete.

Closing the Intel USB Driver Wizard

Step 8

Connect a USB 3.0/3.1 compatible flash stick to any ports on your host PC and create a folder named Backup as an illustrative example.

Plugging the USB Flash Drive into the Host

Step 9

Click Devices / USB / Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 (Name of Your USB Device) on the Windows 7 guest machine.

Connecting USB Flash Memory to Virtual PC

Step 10

Your USB 3.0 memory inserted in your host machine will be automatically identified to your virtual computer.

  • Intel(R) USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller
  • Intel(R) USB 3.0 Root Hub
  • USB Mass Storage Device

USB Memory Ready for Use

Step 11

Upon navigating to My Computer on your guest machine, you will observe successfully mounting your USB 3.0 or 3.1 flash memory within the virtual system.

Checking Flash Memory on My Computer

Video

Installing Old Versions

VirtualBox
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Windows 7 ISO ve USB 3.0 Driver

The USB 3.0 Driver for Windows 7 x64
Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 EN 64 Bit

 

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