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Windows 7 hints and tips

Enable 3D graphics and DirectX

VirtualBox (open source, Sun version) is a really useful program that enables you to run another operating system in a window. For example, you can run Windows 7 beta in a window in XP or Vista, and you can run XP, Vista or 7 in a window on the Linux or Mac OS X desktop.

It's not perfect and there are some limitations. For example, you might have trouble getting programs to work that rely on 3D, OpenGL and DirectX. There are some tweaks to the configuration that might help though. Select the virtual machine in the VirtualBox window and click the Settings button. Select Display and then tick the box labelled Enable 3D Acceleration. Set the video memory to the maximum too.

Now start Windows in the virtual machine. When you get to the desktop select Start, Run (only XP needs this), and enter dxdiag. Go to the Display tab and see if Direct3D acceleration is enabled. It probably won't be. That's because you need to install the VirtualBox Guest Additions in safe mode.

VirtualBox guest additionsRestart Windows and press F8 just as it starts to load. Select Safe Mode on the text menu that is displayed and when you get to the desktop, select Devices, Install Guest Additions in the VirtualBox menu (not in Windows).

Now click Start, open My Computer, and double click the CD-Rom drive. This will install the guest additions. You will see an option to enable Direct3D and you should tick it. Continue with the installation of the Guest Additions, then restart Windows.

Dxdiag will now report that DirectDraw and Direct3D are enabled. This might enable software to run that didn't work before.

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