Virtually in control

As noted previously, there are a few more features (and “tricks) worthy of note with the operation of a virtual machine (VM) running under VirtualBox.  In particular, we focus here on controlling both the display screen and mouse clicks.

A very useful feature, if you find the VM’s window to be too small, is that it can be easily be resized by right-clicking on the VM’s desktop and adjusting Properties – Settings – Screen resolution, just as you would on a real Windows’ machine.

The second item of interest is that the mouse and keyboard may be assigned to the host machine and/or the virtual machine (the guest operating system), and their status is subject to somewhat confusing warning messages.

When first starting the VM, a warning message indicates that the “Auto capture keyboard” option is turned on such that the VM will automatically take control of the keyboard and all keystrokes will be directed to the VM rather than to the host machine. The message further states that the mouse and keyboard status may be toggled using the “Host key” (the Ctrl button on the right side of the keyboard).

However, a subsequent message indicates that the guest OS (Windows XP) supports “mouse pointer integration” that automatically “uncaptures” the mouse when it is used on the VM.

For Ubuntu users running a Windows XP VM, the above doesn’t seem to be much of a concern. By default, both devices are initially operative on both machines. Pressing the host key does indeed causes the host machine (Ubuntu) to take control of the keyboard such that text can no longer be entered in applications running in Windows XP. However, toggling the host key once again, or simply clicking the mouse inside the VM’s window, re-enables use of the mouse and keyboard on the VM.

So, the bottom line is – if you can’t move the mouse across the screen to the desired location, hit the Ctrl key on the right side of the keyboard, and try again.

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