How to Make Multiple Users of a Windows Computer Use the Same Virtual Machine

You use the administrator account of your computer and have friends who make use of other accounts on the same computer. You have installed VirtualBox on the PC. Problem is when your friends’ logon to their respective accounts to use VirtualBox they cannot see the virtual machine profiles that you created in the administrator account. Instead they have to create their own virtual machines and hard disks which can be a giant eater of disk space. What do you do? How do you make your own machine visible to their user accounts so they can use the same machine that you use and conserve disk space? Buckle up for the stepwise procedure.



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For XP, go to system properties (i.e.

right click on my computer icon and click properties).

Select the advanced tab.

Just at the bottom you’d see it smiling at your face. Yes, ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES. Click on it.

Under the system variables section create new variable and name it “VBOX_USER_HOME” then the set the location to C:

Users.VirtualBox (or any other preferable central location; it’s important to write the last “”). Click OK and exit.

For Windows Vista and Windows 7, right click my computer icon and select properties.

At the top left section of the window, looking down the list, you’d see advanced system settings.

Click on it and follow step “3”.

Click on it and follow step “4”.

That’s it, seriously!!! Now anytime you create a virtual machine other authenticated users automatically get access to it.


  • In step “4” check the user variables section and delete any VBOX entry you find there before creating a new one under the system variables section.
  • Remember to set security settings for the new .VirtualBox folder to include the VBOXUSERS group!! If you don’t know how, right click on the .VirtualBox folder, click properties and select the security tab. From there click edit. You’ll now see an “add” and “delete” tab. Just add the group VBOXUSERS and set the users that you want to grant access to the machine. (You may need to change Object type to only what you are looking for ie: ONLY select groups) To add the group, enter the group name in the text box.
  • Make sure you use individual hard disks for each installation to avoid boot conflicts. For example, having Linux, XP, and Server2003 on a single virtual hard disk is a huge no no


  • Don’t try to use a single virtual disk to house more than one OS. The drawback of this is that you cannot start more than one machine at a time as opposed to using one virtual disk per OS. In other words, there will be no networking with other VMs.

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