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Revision as of 00:51, 29 May 2010 by Vicmarcal (talk | contribs) (Redirect to virtual serial port (com0com, Windows host): Changing accordingly to the com0com tutorial)
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VirtualBox is a virtual machine for x86 architecture developed by Innotek and maintained by Sun Microsystems. There are two versions: the full VirtualBox package with a proprietary license and the VirtualBox Open Source Edition (GPL).

It's easier to configure than QEMU and slightly slower than VMware.

The best results tend to be obtained by configuring the ReactOS virtual machine using the "Windows/Windows NT4" or "Other/Other" template.

Getting debug output

Redirect to virtual serial port (com0com, Windows host)

This is the recommended method on Windows host, due to problems with pipes.

  1. Download and install com0com virtual comport redirector. See com0com tutorial for more info.
  2. Setup a serial port in VirtualBox. Choose Port Mode = "Host Device", Port Path: "\\.\CNCA0" if you use the default or maybe something like "\\.\COM4" if you have renamed your ports.
  3. Start your favorite serial terminal (e.g. HyperTerminal, PuTTY), set it to the other serial port, set speed to 115200 and connect at any time.
  4. Start ReactOS in VirtualBox and watch the log.

Redirect to named pipe (Windows host)

VirtualBox, like any other application that needs to access named pipes in Windows Vista, must be elevated to Administrator. Sadly, the VirtualBox serial-to-pipe implementation seems to be a little buggy resulting in missing characters in the debug log. To avoid this problem, use the virtual COM ports.

Using PuTTY

On VirtualBox serial menu set up the following: Port mode to Host Pipe, tick the Create Pipe option, and type the named pipe path, for example:


Run PuTTY. On Windows Vista it must be elevated to Admin, as anything that is to use named pipes. Select the serial as connection type, set speed to 115200 baud and put the named pipe path as serial line. Instead of "ros_pipe", you can use any unique name, only mind to follow the \\.\pipe\[pipe_name] scheme.

Start virtual machine first, then open the PuTTY session. When you shut down the virtual machine, PuTTY will change to inactive state and display error message, but when you restart the virtual machine, you can easily reconnect that session by pressing right mouse button on window top bar and selecting Restart session.

Using VMwareGateway

You need to download the VMwareGateway application (VMwareGateway x64 Edition). Start it with /r option to make it run as a service (in Windows Vista you have to use an elevated CMD for this). Next you need to start the service, using SC command:

sc start vmwaregateway

Sort out any firewall pop-up if applicable. Finally, use your favorite telnet client to connect to localhost on port 567.

To configure your virtual machine, set it to Host Pipe with the following pipe address:


Make sure you do not mark the Create Pipe box. VMwareGateway has already created it. Debug output should appear in your telnet client (PuttyTel (x86), PuttyTel (x64)).

Redirect to console (Linux host)

Using socat

If you just simply want a display of the debug output in a terminal window, socat works nicely.

The usage is very simple:

socat unix-client:pipe_path stdout

You could also do this:

socat unix-client:pipe_path stdio

Substitute "pipe_path" with the path of the pipe you created using VirtualBox.

If ReactOS crashes, you should still be able to type in the VirtualBox window - e.g. within a debug session. You'll see the input and output on the console window which socat is running in.

Using minicom

This guide is based on the terminal application minicom. First install it by typing:

sudo apt-get install minicom

Then you will have to configure a pipe. Type Ctrl+A, then O. Select Configure serial ports, and name the device unix#pipe_path where "pipe_path" is a file like /tmp/vboxlog which will be used as pipe between the virtual machine and minicom.

Create the new Virtual Machine in VirtualBox, then go to the Serial Ports configuration. Select Host pipe, type the "pipe_path" and select Create Pipe.

Make sure that pipe_path is exactly the same on both minicom and VirtualBox.

Redirect to file (Linux host)

When running minicom, type Ctrl-A then L. Type the name of the capture file.

Serial port output using com0com

Install and configure com0com according to the com0com guide.

Enable the first serial port for your ReactOS machine. Use port number "COM1", mode "host device" and port path "COM4" or whatever virtual port you created first with com0com.

Connect your terminal application to your second virtual port and start up VirtualBox.

Installing Guest Additions

Mount the CD in the CD-Drive and open the file VBoxWindowsAdditions.exe and follow the setup instructions.

Setting up audio

ReactOS has had limited support for sound since the 0.3.9 release, but it is recommended to test sound with a trunk build.

In VirtualBox Machine Settings, enable audio and set the following:

  • Host Audio Driver: Windows DirectSound
  • Audio Controller: ICH AC97

After installing ReactOS:

  1. Download the Intel AC 97 driver from ReactOS Application Manager
  2. Extract the files to C:\ReactOS\
  3. Restart the virtual machine
  4. Install and start your favorite audio playback or multimedia application (e.g. Winamp, VLC, MPlayer)
  5. Open an audio file and play

Known Issues

  • The AC97 Driver only supports PCM Wave Audio in the range 8000-44.100Khz, 16Bit Samples and 2 Channels
  • Sample rate conversion is not yet supported
  • The driver has issues when changing the sample rate of the audio stream