Virtualbox: Creating and controlling Virtual Maschines from command line

Hi,

VirtualBox offers a very powerful command inferface: vboxmanage. With vboxmanage you can create new virtual machine, add and modify harddisk and much more. All the things you could do in the GUI, and a lot more are also possible at command line. In this post I will create, modify, control and delete a complete virtual machine.

At the bottom of the post the whole script can be downloaded.
I used a debian linux system for my tests. To install the latest VirtualBox version use the following commands:

echo "deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian wheezy contrib non-free" >> /etc/apt/sources.list
# Add Oracle Keyring
wget -q http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/oracle_vbox.asc -O- | apt-key add -
# Update repositories
apt-get update
# Install latest virtualbox version
apt-get -y install virtualbox-4.3
# Installing the Extentionpack for USB2 and RDP support
wget http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/4.3.6/Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack-4.3.6-91406.vbox-extpack
VBoxManage extpack install Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack-4.3.6-91406.vbox-extpack


I define some variables so you can adapt the following VBoxManage commands easy for your needs.

export VMFOLDER=/vm
if [ ! -d "$VMFOLDER" ]; then mkdir VMFOLDER; fi
export VIRTUALDSDA_OS=$VMFOLDER/hda.vdi
export VIRTUALDSDB=$VMFOLDER/hdc.vdi
export VIRTUALMACHINE_CONFIG_DIR=/etc/vbox
export VIRTUALMACHINE_CERT_DIR=$VIRTUALMACHINE_CONFIG_DIR/tls
if [ ! -d "$VIRTUALMACHINE_CERT_DIR" ]; then mkdir $VIRTUALMACHINE_CERT_DIR; fi
export VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME="TestMachine"
export VIRTUALMACHINE_MAC="0050563a2d1c"
export VIRTUALMACHINE_RAM=1024
export VIRTUALMACHINE_MASSSTORAGE_CONTROLLER_NAME="SATA Controller"
export VIRTUALMACHINE_MASSSTORAGE_CONTROLLER_DVD_NAME="IDE Controller"
export VIRTUALMACHINE_SDA_OS_SIZE=512
export VIRTUALMACHINE_SDB_SIZE=1024
export VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_PORT=3389
export VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_USER=Admin
export VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_PASSWORD=AdminsPassword
export VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_ENCRYPT_CA_KEY=$VIRTUALMACHINE_CERT_DIR/cakey.pem
export VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_ENCRYPT_CA_CERT=$VIRTUALMACHINE_CERT_DIR/ca.cert
export VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_ENCRYPT_CA_PASSWORD=YourCAPassword
export VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_SERVER_KEY=$VIRTUALMACHINE_CERT_DIR/srvkey.pem
export VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_SERVER_CERT=$VIRTUALMACHINE_CERT_DIR/srv.cert
export VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_SERVER_SIGN_REQUEST=$VIRTUALMACHINE_CERT_DIR/srvreq.pem
export VIRTUAL_FLOPPY_FILE_FREEDOS=/tmp/fdos1440.img

Create a new virtual machine for OS type linux

VBoxManage createvm --name "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" --ostype Linux --register

Some modifications 🙂

  • BIOS RTC uses UTC
  • enable ACPI
  • Memory 1024MB
  • NIC 1 -> Network Bride mode on host interface eth0
  • 2 Serial Interfaces, ttyS0 connected to host ttyS0, ttyS1 disconnected
VBoxManage modifyvm "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" --memory $VIRTUALMACHINE_RAM --rtcuseutc on --acpi on --nic1 bridged --bridgeadapter1 eth0 --macaddress1 $VIRTUALMACHINE_MAC --uart1 0x3f8 4 --uart2 0x2f8 3 --uartmode2 disconnected  --uartmode1 /dev/ttyS0

Or if you want to use NAT. Changing network parameters. MAC Address and Network to which the virtual machine should connect

VBoxManage modifyvm "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" --macaddress1 $VIRTUALMACHINE_MAC --nic1 nat

Some DMI Information
Board Serial

VBoxManage setextradata "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcbios/0/Config/DmiSystemSerial" "string:YE123456"

The “virtual” BIOS Vendor

VBoxManage setextradata "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcbios/0/Config/DmiBIOSVendor"   "BIOS Vendor"

BIOS Version String

VBoxManage setextradata "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcbios/0/Config/DmiBIOSVersion"       "5.0.1.2"

BIOS Date

VBoxManage setextradata "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcbios/0/Config/DmiBIOSReleaseDate"   "02/07/2014"

Bios Version

VBoxManage setextradata "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcbios/0/Config/DmiBIOSReleaseMajor"  5
VBoxManage setextradata "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcbios/0/Config/DmiBIOSReleaseMinor"  0
VBoxManage setextradata "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcbios/0/Config/DmiBIOSFirmwareMajor" 1
VBoxManage setextradata "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcbios/0/Config/DmiBIOSFirmwareMinor" 2

For more DMI settings see VirtualBox Manual, Chapter 9.12
If your virtual maschine should run in background and start if the host system starts

VBoxManage setextradata "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" autostart headless

Create a new harddisk

VBoxManage createhd --filename "$VIRTUALDSDA_OS" --size $VIRTUALMACHINE_SDA_OS_SIZE --format VDI --variant fixed

and a second one

VBoxManage createhd --filename "$VIRTUALDSDB" --size $VIRTUALMACHINE_SDB_SIZE --format VDI --variant fixed

Add a SATA Massstorge controller

VBoxManage storagectl "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" --add sata --controller IntelAHCI --name "$VIRTUALMACHINE_MASSSTORAGE_CONTROLLER_NAME"

Attach a harddisk to a controller

VBoxManage storageattach "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" --storagectl "$VIRTUALMACHINE_MASSSTORAGE_CONTROLLER_NAME" --port 0 --device 0 --type hdd --medium $VIRTUALDSDA_OS

Attach the other disk

VBoxManage storageattach "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" --storagectl "$VIRTUALMACHINE_MASSSTORAGE_CONTROLLER_NAME" --port 1 --device 0 --type hdd --medium $VIRTUALDSDB 

Add a IDE Controller for DVDs

VBoxManage storagectl "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" --add ide --controller PIIX3 --name "$VIRTUALMACHINE_MASSSTORAGE_CONTROLLER_DVD_NAME"

Add a DVD Drive, no medium

VBoxManage storageattach "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" --storagectl "$VIRTUALMACHINE_MASSSTORAGE_CONTROLLER_DVD_NAME" --port 0 --device 0 --type dvddrive --medium emptydrive

Add a floppy drive

VBoxManage storagectl "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" --add floppy --name "Floppy Controller"

Attaching a floppy image file

VBoxManage storageattach "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" --storagectl "Floppy Controller" --device 0 --port 0 --type fdd --medium "$VIRTUAL_FLOPPY_FILE_FREEDOS"

The Virtual Machine is ready to install operating system. Mount a iso image

VBoxManage storageattach "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" --storagectl "$VIRTUALMACHINE_MASSSTORAGE_CONTROLLER_DVD_NAME" --port 0 --device 0 --type dvddrive --medium /tmp/kali-linux.iso

And remove the “virtual” DVD

VBoxManage storageattach "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" --storagectl "$VIRTUALMACHINE_MASSSTORAGE_CONTROLLER_DVD_NAME" --port 0 --device 0 --type dvddrive --medium emptydrive

Time to start the VM. If you have a X11 display active start a VM in foreground

VBoxManage startvm "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME"

Or if no display available start virtual machine in background

VBoxManage startvm "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" --type headless

Enable RDP with simple authentication to view the console screen over network.
Note: RDP does only work when the extension pack is installed!

VBoxManage setproperty vrdeauthlibrary "VBoxAuthSimple"
VBoxManage modifyvm $VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME --vrdeauthtype external --vrdeauthlibrary VBoxAuthSimple
export PASSHASH=`VBoxManage internalcommands passwordhash $VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_PASSWORD|sed  -e 's/Password hash: //g'`
VBoxManage setextradata $VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME "VBoxAuthSimple/users/"$VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_USER $PASSHASH
VBoxManage modifyvm $VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME --vrde on --vrdemulticon on --vrdeextpack default --vrdeport $VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_PORT --vrdeauthtype external --vrdeauthlibrary VBoxAuthSimple

Now you can connect with the Remote Desktop Client to the console of the virtual machine.
Note: There is a strange behaviour when connecting with the Windows Remote Desktop Client. The checkbox “Allow to save my credentials” must be enabled otherwise no connection could established. Any ideas?

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In a secure environment encrypt the RDP Session
Create a simple CA only for the reason to create TLS Certificate, its recommended to set a password the CA and the RDP Key

openssl req -new -x509 -days 18250 -extensions v3_ca -keyout $VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_ENCRYPT_CA_KEY -out $VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_ENCRYPT_CA_CERT

Create RDP Key

openssl genrsa -out $VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_SERVER_KEY

Create signing request

openssl req -new -key $VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_SERVER_KEY -out $VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_SERVER_SIGN_REQUEST

Sign certifcate with the CA

openssl x509 -req -days 18250 -in $VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_SERVER_SIGN_REQUEST -CA $VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_ENCRYPT_CA_CERT -CAkey $VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_ENCRYPT_CA_KEY -set_serial 01 -out $VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_SERVER_CERT

# Add Certificate to the RDP Config and enable it

vboxmanage modifyvm $VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME --vrdeproperty "Security/CACertificate=$VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_ENCRYPT_CA_CERT"
vboxmanage modifyvm $VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME --vrdeproperty "Security/ServerCertificate=$VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_SERVER_CERT"
vboxmanage modifyvm $VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME --vrdeproperty "Security/ServerPrivateKey=$VIRTUALMACHINE_RDP_SERVER_KEY"
vboxmanage modifyvm $VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME --vrdeproperty "Security/Method=negotiate"

Some other commands. Poweroff a VM

VBoxManage controlvm "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" poweroff

Deleting a VM

VBoxManage unregistervm "$VIRTUALMACHINE_NAME" --delete

How to change the UUID of a virtual disk is descripted here.

Enjoy!
Michael

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Create and manage a VirtualBox virtual machine
Create and manage a VirtualBox virtual machine
VirtualBox-CreateVirtualMachine.sh
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