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Virtual Machine USB Boot 1.51

Boot virtual machines from a USB key

by Mike Williams

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License: Open Source
Operating Systems: Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows 8, Windows Server, Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
Requirements:
Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 05 February 2016
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 4093
Developer: DavidB
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Virtual Machine USB Boot
Boot virtual machines from a USB key

Virtual Machine USB Boot is a portable tool which makes it easy to boot a virtual machine - VirtualBox or QEMU - from a USB key.

Setup is simple. We clicked "Add", entered a name for our project, chose the VirtualBox VM to be launched (these were automatically detected and presented in a list), and the USB drive to boot from. That's all you need to do, although there are other tweaks available - alternative load methods, run minimized/ full screen options, CPU priority choices - for anyone interested.

Every boot item you create is added to a list. Double-click one and it dismounts the USB key from your PC, adjusts the VM's settings to include it, then launches the VM for you.

This worked perfectly for us. We double-clicked our test entry, the VM appeared and booted from our USB key. The key wasn't then available to our host operating system - you can access it from one system, or the other, not both at the same time - but once we closed the VM, Virtual Machine USB Boot mounted the key and we were able to use it again.

Running Virtual Machine USB Boot doesn't affect your regular VirtualBox installation, either, because it restores the original VM settings when it's done.

There are a few VM configuration issues which might cause problems. Virtual Machine USB Boot tries to add your key to the first available port in the VirtualBox storage controller, for example, but this will fail if there's no port available. Fortunately pop-up alerts warn you of the issues, and if you do run into problems then they'll probably be simple to fix.

Verdict:

There are ways to manually set up a VM so that it boots from USB, but they're awkward, to put it politely. Virtual Machine USB Boot is much more straightforward, so simple that beginners will have it working in seconds, yet also super-configurable for anyone who needs some fine-tuning.

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

Windows 10 May 2019 Update ISO (build 1903)

Free Full Commercial Software

This is the latest version of Windows May 2019 Update. it's a media creation tool that can be used to upgrade an existing installation of Windows or create installation media for another PC. Just make your choice after launching the tool and it'll do the rest.

What was new in Windows 10, when it was released? The OS brought back the Start Menu, though with a twist: live tiles keep you up-to-date with the latest news while also providing an easy way to launch apps. (Don't worry if you prefer the Start Screen, it's still there and you can boot into it if you prefer.)

Apps now work much more like regular desktop programs. They have minimise, maximise, restore and close buttons, and can be resized (to a degree) and organised however you like.

If you've still lost track of a program in the mass of open windows, a new Task Spaces feature can help. Click its taskbar button and you'll see thumbnails for everything running now, a little like OS X's Mission Control - just click something to switch to it.

Better still, Task Spaces also supports virtual desktops. Add extra desktops as required and it'll display thumbnails of each one, making it easy to identify whatever you're after and switch to it.

There's also smarter snapping, new customisation options, and even a bunch of experimental additions to the command prompt.

May 2019 Update brings a whole host of new features for Windows 10. See the Microsoft Blog for more information.

The Windows 10 ISO will give you build 1903 which is the May 2019 Update.

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