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tl;dr: How to access folder shared in host system from within Yosemite run in VirtualBox (guest)?

I have added a shared folder in my VirtualBox (went to virtual machine's settings, then to Shared Folder and added a new shared folder path there). But since I'm a complete newbiew to MacOS (this is actually one of the first times, I see this system) I'm completely lost, where I can access this shared folder or how can I mount it in Finder.

I have tried everything, I could come with. Tried to browse all the folders (including Shared) in Finder or is some other open dialog, tried to browse my home (root) folder etc. No effect so far.

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    Please add the host operating system and the network connection of the Yosemite guest (right-click VM > Settings > Network > Adapter 1 (and/or 2, 3 etc)
    – klanomath
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 21:48
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    What OS is the guest OS in VirtualBox?<br> Do you have VirtualBox guest additions installed? Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 22:39
  • @klanomath I'll provide you with details evening (my time) as don't have access to that computer right now; all I can tell now, is that I'm using VM's default settings, because I didn't change anything in Network section.
    – trejder
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 6:48
  • @Snacking_IT It seems, that I mentioned "Yosemite" in the first line of my question. Isn't that to vague specification? What more details (version etc.) you expect me to provide. Plus: yes, VM's are installed. As document linked by you says, I wouldn't be able to use shared folders in my VM without these additions installed, because "bare" VM does not provide this functionality.
    – trejder
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 6:50
  • @all Any explanation of the downvote? Something is wrong with this question? Off-topic?
    – trejder
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 6:50

3 Answers 3

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AFAIK the shared folder feature of VirtualBox only works with the VirtualBox guest additions. The additions can't be installed in a OS X/macOS guest. Thus you can't use this feature.

Instead share a folder in the OS X/macOS guest system by enabling "File Sharing" in System Preferences > Sharing > File Sharing.

If the default public user folder is not sufficient, add another folder and determine user permissions. The protocol can be chosen by hitting the "Options" button.


Depending on your host system you can also configure a shared folder there.


Visibility of the guest's shared folder:

Let's assume the host system's only physical network interface (e.g. an Ethernet adapter) has an IP in the network 192.168.0.0/24.

If you attach the guest's network adapter to the Bridged network > (Host's) Ethernet adapter and configure the guest's Ethernet adapter with a (unique) IP of the 192.168.0.0/24 network, the shared folder of the guest is visible for all hosts and virtual hosts in the 192.168.0.0/24 network. To access the folder your hosts have to talk afp, smb (or nfs - which has to be set up seperately) of course.

If you attach the guest's network adapter to the Host-only network > vboxnet0, the shared folder of the guest is visible for all guest hosts attached to the vboxnet0 network on the same machine and the host machine itself.

If you attach the guest's network adapter to a NAT network > vboxnatnet01, the shared folder of the guest is visible for all guest hosts attached to the vboxnatnet01 network on the same machine and the host machine itself. If you enable port forwarding properly the shared folder is also visible for other hosts or virtual hosts in the 192.168.0.0/24 network.

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  • I think I missing something from your answer. If I share a folder in my guest system, as you wrote, will I be able to access it from host system (from outside VirtualBox)? I think, not. It will be shared only among my macOS users, entirely inside my guest system, right? Correct me, if I'm wrong.
    – trejder
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 18:37
  • Any chance I can mount VB's file system using my guest macOS just as they did this in guest Debian / Ubuntu (here and here)? I'm total macOS newbie, but I heard that it is based on Unix/Linux. Would that be possible?
    – trejder
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 18:40
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    @trejder Depending on your VB network settings you can share the folder on the guest machine to the whole network. I will add an addendum to my answer.
    – klanomath
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 0:10
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    If you are still having trouble with the above answer, then just try this: switch your VirtualBox config Networking to Bridged. Then the VM showed up on my host network. (Thanks klanomath)
    – Ross R
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 23:09
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    @hensti The Guest Additions package is installed on the host. But: the Guest Additions are designed to be installed inside a virtual machine after the guest operating system has been installed. Guest Additions only exist for Windows, Linux and OS2. Guest Addition packages exist for all supported host OSs.
    – klanomath
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 23:37
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I've found a "half-solution" for the same problem. I made ".iso" image and connect it to the guest OS as CD. The disadvantage is a one way direction from Host to Guest but for me it was ok because I needed to pass some files for testing.

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I installed "Guest Additions" on macOS High Sierra to solve this problem:

  1. (Menu VB) Devices -> Insert Guest Additions CD image ...
  2. It appears in the VM "Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Addition" icon
  3. Open it and start the installation

To use a shared Folder:

  1. (Menu VB) Devices -> Shared Folders
  2. In the folder list, select andconfirm a directory on the host machine
  3. Restart VM
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    Okay, I have followed these steps. From here, where do I find the shared folder in High Sierra?
    – Lance
    Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 15:44
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    This answer is heartbreaking. It looked so good, and then, just left out the last step. </3
    – MacInnis
    Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 18:10

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