How To Enable 3D Acceleration In VirtualBox

VirtualBox’s experimental 3D acceleration allows you to use Windows 7’s Aero interface in a virtual machine. You can also run older 3D games in a virtual machine though newer ones probably won’t run very well.

If you installed Windows 7 in VirtualBox, you would see the Windows 7 Basic interface instead of Aero; however, you can enable Aero with a few quick tweaks.



Adjust Virtual Machine Settings

(1) Power your Windows 7 virtual machine off. ( you won’t be able to change its settings if the virtual machine is running or if it’s suspended or saved).
(2) Right-click the virtual machine and select Settings to access its settings.
(3) Click over to the Display category and activate the Enable 3D Acceleration checkbox.
(4) You must also increase the video memory slider to at least 128 MB. (You’ll need the full 256 MB if you’re using multiple monitors with your virtual machine).
(5) The Enable 2D Video Acceleration option here is not required, but it accelerates video-playing applications that use 2D overlays.

Install 3D Drivers

(1) After you’ve changed these settings, click OK and boot the virtual machine by double-clicking it.
(2) Once the virtual machine is running, click the Devices menu and select Install Guest Additions.
(3) Click the Run option in the AutoPlay window to launch the installer.
(4) Proceed through the installer until you reach the Choose Components window and then, click the Direct3D Support (Experimental) check box.
(5) You’ll be asked if you want to install basic Direct3D support instead – click No to install the WDDM driver, which includes support for Windows Aero.
(6) VirtualBox warns that you should have at least 128 MB of video memory, which you should have configured above. If you haven’t done this yet, you can adjust your virtual machine’s settings after installing the drivers.
(7) Click Install and VirtualBox will install the guest additions and experimental 3D driver in your virtual machine.
(8) You’ll be prompted to restart your virtual machine after installing the drivers.

Enable Windows Aero

Your virtual machine now has 3D support, so you can try playing older 3D games and using other applications that require 3D acceleration.

However, Windows Aero is not enabled by default. If you want to enable Windows Aero, right-click your virtual machine’s desktop and select Personalize.

The default theme is Windows 7 Basic, which doesn’t use Aero. Scroll up in the Personalization window and select one of the Aero themes, such as Windows 7. Aero will be enabled.

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