DirectX in VirtualBox 3.0.0 - Pure joy is here

Updated: July 13, 2009

Do you remember, not so long ago, when we talked about 3D acceleration support in VMware Server and VirtualBox? We had DirectX for VMware Server and OpenGL for VirtualBox.

Well, you can forget those two articles. The virtualization technology is undergoing a revolution. The newly released VirtualBox 3 is sending tidal waves of wow across the Internet, with its superb new network stack and more importantly, excellent 3D support.

Just a few days ago, I demonstrated the icy coolness of Compiz Fusion in a Linux virtual machine on top of a Windows host! OpenGL in its full glory! Today, I'm going to show you how to enjoy DirectX support in Windows guests. After me!

Compiz teaser

Enable 3D acceleration for your Windows guests

The first steps is to configure the virtual machine settings, under Display.

Enable 3D

Install Guest Additions in safe mode

To get DirectX support on Windows guests, you will have to install them in safe mode. It's the same procedure like you would normally do, except that you do it in safe mode. Once your Windows guest is booting, tap F8 and select Safe Mode. After Windows comes up, start the Guest Additions installation:

Begin install

Select Direct3D Support component:

Select option

Approve the VirtualBox drivers - they have not been signed by Microsoft:


Reboot your machine. After the system comes up normally, check if the 3D acceleration is enabled by running dxdiag (Start > Run > dxdiag). If you get a screenshot like mine, you're all set.


Start enjoying DirectX!

That's it. You can now do 3D stuff. Like games, for example! Here's a little demo with Max Payne. Notice that VirtualBox detects my Nvidia 6600GT as FX 5200. Not bad, considering I've given only half the video RAM to VirtualBox.

Start game

And there we go, playing.

Game on


The performance is quite acceptable! And remember, I'm doing this on a four year old machine, with just 512MB dedicated to the Windows guest. Imagine what you can do with a 64-bit guest, with four cores and 2-4GB RAM and a much more powerful graphic card. Ah, pure bliss!


For a turbo geek like me, this technological achievement is a proverbial ecstasy. VirtualBox is probably the killer application for 2009 on all systems, Windows, Linux or Mac. VirtualBox is your digital mother, father and lover. It provides you with a complete, ultimate solution to running multiple operating systems in parallel, without any compromise in performance or 3D shenanigans.

VirtualBox is a must. I'd say, we need a law that forces everyone to use it. I may be babbling now, but I'm excited beyond words. Try VirtualBox, today, now, this very moment.


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