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Solved VirtualBox interface looks ugly on Win8

Hopachi

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It's been a while since I talked about VirtualBox but as a user on Win8 I have to say that the interface looks a bit old-school to me. And that's hard to NOT notice it. :)

To begin with, here is a screenshot from what I see on x64 Win7:
vbox-win7.png
Notice the loading bar and you'll know where I'm going to next.
This looks OK.

Here is a screenshot from what I see on x64 Win8:
VBox.png
Looks like Win95 for sure.
The same version as in Win7 above (4.2.4 and/or 4.2.6).

There is no official fix to this issue but who I blame is Qt interface version 4.7.3 (marked in the picture). That version is what VBox uses for the moment, in short, to display the windows. There are 4 dll files that start with "Qt" and by right clicking you'll see the version numbers. Well if you look it this way, it's also Win8's fault since same VBox looks good in Win7.

So what's the fix?
Well I wasn't sure until I tested VBox OSE 4.2.4 (https://code.google.com/p/vbox-ose/).
The "Qt" dll's are version 4.8.2 and believe it or not, it fixes the looks.

VBox OSE x64 4.2.4:
VBoxOSE.png
That's more like it!
Again this uses Win8 Aero loader instead of classic one and the interface looks alright.

One crash seems to be fixed this way but I 'm not sure it was related to the old looks.

Using this VBox version instead of the standard one requires some "skills" in knowing what files you replace.
http://www.eightforums.com/virtualization/6793-vbox-ose-windows-xp-vista-7-8-64-bit.html
This will scare most of the users I'm sure. But keep in mind that you run OSE normally without going to Win8 test mode.

We'll have to wait and see if any newer versions of the official VBox will fix the looks but in the meantime, this is it.
 
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gazz9496

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quick one for you, can't find the option(if it even exists) but can virtual box do fullscreen? when i do it for say xp i get limited resolution options that don't really fit my screens(widescreens) options seem to be for square screens.

just wondering if i'm missing something silly.

cheers
 

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Neck Beard

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Is it weird that I can't tell the difference between them?

Edit: found it! green progress bar >>> instead of blue progress bar.
 

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Hopachi

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Is it weird that I can't tell the difference between them?

Edit: found it! green progress bar >>> instead of blue progress bar.

Yes, but that blue is like the old classic look and can become anything that your hi-contrast/classic theme uses as "hi-lighted items" or "selected text" color.

All controls, buttons and menu's are also different (sorry the screenshot doesn't have this shown).
It doesn't use Aero (or what's left of it) elements but classic ones.

So without an official VBox fix, only VBox OSE I mentioned above looks better, otherwise it's classic.

This is what I mean by classic:
classic.png
The desktop will be alright, this happens only in VirtualBox window (currently on versin 4.2).
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 x64
    Name
    Horace Lucas
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    Intel i7-3630QM
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    HP, Intel HM77 Express Chipset
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    Intel HD4000 + Nvidia Geforce 630M
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Hopachi

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Pro User
quick one for you, can't find the option(if it even exists) but can virtual box do fullscreen? when i do it for say xp i get limited resolution options that don't really fit my screens(widescreens) options seem to be for square screens.

just wondering if i'm missing something silly.

cheers

That is fixable.

Install the latest additions, restart and when you go full-screen (the shortcut is right Ctrl + F), you will get your (host) native resolution (there is no stretching). 3D acceleration (in settings menu) is not required, works with or without it.

This is what you need.

Install the additions as usual:
additions.png
After doing this it should work but if you sometimes don't see it change, resize the VM window with the mouse (dragging edges or hot corners) to initiate a resolution change, then it will work and you can switch to full-screen.

Something else:
Scale Mode (right Ctrl + C) goes almost full-screen and can take any resolution available on the guest. In this mode you stretch the screen to fill most of the place. Use this for games or programs that go full-screen in VirtualBox VM's.

All view modes and default shortcuts:
By default Host means right Ctrl.
view-controls.png
Pressing the same combination a second time will exit you from that mode going back to windowed mode.

That's it.
 
Last edited:

My Computer

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    Horace Lucas
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    Intel i7-3630QM
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    HP, Intel HM77 Express Chipset
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    Intel HD4000 + Nvidia Geforce 630M
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    That's basically it.
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Hopachi

Polyhedric Stellation
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It's been a while since I talked about VirtualBox but as a user on Win8 I have to say that the interface looks a bit old-school to me. And that's hard to NOT notice it. :)

To begin with, here is a screenshot from what I see on x64 Win7:
View attachment 13187
Notice the loading bar and you'll know where I'm going to next.
This looks OK.

Here is a screenshot from what I see on x64 Win8:
View attachment 13186
Looks like Win95 for sure.
The same version as in Win7 above (4.2.4 and/or 4.2.6).

There is no official fix to this issue but who I blame is Qt interface version 4.7.3 (marked in the picture). That version is what VBox uses for the moment, in short, to display the windows. There are 4 dll files that start with "Qt" and by right clicking you'll see the version numbers. Well if you look it this way, it's also Win8's fault since same VBox looks good in Win7.

So what's the fix?
Well I wasn't sure until I tested VBox OSE 4.2.4 (https://code.google.com/p/vbox-ose/).
The "Qt" dll's are version 4.8.2 and believe it or not, it fixes the looks.

VBox OSE x64 4.2.4:
View attachment 13188
That's more like it!
Again this uses Win8 Aero loader instead of classic one and the interface looks alright.

One crash seems to be fixed this way but I 'm not sure it was related to the old looks.

Using this VBox version instead of the standard one requires some "skills" in knowing what files you replace.
http://www.eightforums.com/virtualization/6793-vbox-ose-windows-xp-vista-7-8-64-bit.html
This will scare most of the users I'm sure. But keep in mind that you run OSE normally without going to Win8 test mode.

We'll have to wait and see if any newer versions of the official VBox will fix the looks but in the meantime, this is it.

Update:

Some extra info over the classic look of the VirtualBox interface on Win8.

I'm using VirtualBox 4.2.12 OSE x64 self-built on vs2010 and Qt 4.8.4: the UI is the same as in 4.8.2 here above, still better than the default. We'll have to wait for Qt 5 for full Windows 8 UI support in VirtualBox (and other QT programs) so it seems. Qt 4.8.4 is good enough: scroll sliders are small and no colors for recommmended and maximum (green - red), but thre rest of UI is good, I can call it Aero compatible.

Screenshot:
It's difficult to see that the CPU slider is set to 1 and there should be a limit in red color at 8 since the machine has 8 logical cores: not visible but experienced users don't really need that anyway. The classic look doesn't have this issue.
ui-look.png
This is 4.2.12 with Qt 4.8.4 (looks the same as in 4.8.2 but is not classic as in 4.7.3)

Maybe they'll switch to Qt 5 in VirtualBox 5... for better Win8 support (and Mac as well so it seems) but I read that most Linuxes have issues with the newer Qt and I'm not sure the'll switch from Qt 4.7. So far, what regards Win8, the VirtualBox interface looks classic with Qt 4.7 because the OS UI is not detected by Qt as Vista or 7 and in some way or another the generic Windows UI is set. This is a minor issue but for those who care more about the looks (as I do) should reconsider some other VirtualBox versions but those would be custom builds.

Not sure if I'll dare to take a shot at building 4.2.12 or the next one with vs2012 because the support is still experimental and Qt 4.8.4 is the latest we got (because Qt 5 is not used yet in VBox).

I'm no expert in compiling but it finally worked: Custom VBox build on Windows 8. :party:
I'm pleased with what I got right now and for the rest I'll leave it up to the VBox developers, no rush. :)

Cheers
Hopachi
 

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    Horace Lucas
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Hopachi

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Good news:

since version 4.2.16, VirtualBox uses qt interface 4.8.4 by default and ui 'looks' issue is fixed. The self-built OSE version isn't needed for this purpose anymore (see previous posts and screenshots).

Side-note:
Now we just need a fix with the networking in the Win 8.1 preview and we're good to go (although this setup can be called usable, some weird networking issues may occur: I was able to use internet in a VM though).
:)
More about this here:
http://www.eightforums.com/virtualization/27292-windows-8-1-virtualbox-2.html#post256871
 

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jimbo45

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Hi there
maybe I'm being a bit pedantic here -- but if you are running a VM who cares what the Virtual software interface looks like --surely it's the VM that's important unless I've mis understood something. You can enable all the relevant desktop effects on the GUEST that the GUEST OS supports.

Here's a screenshot of W2K3 Server VM running in Windowed mode -- can't see that the Interface is even relevant -- I'm running VMware workstation which has a very similar look anyway to VBOX.

Cheers
jimbo
 

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Hopachi

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-- but if you are running a VM who cares what the Virtual software interface looks like --

True.
Don't forget fullscreen: you don't even see the UI. :cool:

But VMWare already changed the UI a couple of times and they even mention it in the change-log/improvements section. So that means someone cares even if that's not us. :)

About older Vbox: the older QT 4.7 isn't compatible with Win8 in terms of theming and the classic UI was more like an "emergency light" solution. There were even some possible crashes involved. These things aren't the most hard ones and they do get fixed.

Cheers
Hopachi
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 x64
    Name
    Horace Lucas
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy DV6 7250
    CPU
    Intel i7-3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP, Intel HM77 Express Chipset
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD4000 + Nvidia Geforce 630M
    Sound Card
    IDT HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15.6' built-in + Samsung S22D300 + 17.3' LG Phillips
    Screen Resolution
    multiple resolutions
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 250GB + Hitachi HDD 750GB
    PSU
    120W adapter
    Occupation
    Improving Skills
    Case
    small
    Cooling
    laptop cooling pad
    Keyboard
    Backlit built-in + big one in USB
    Mouse
    SteelSeries Sensei
    Internet Speed
    slow and steady
    Browser
    Chromium, Pale Moon, Firefox Developer Edition
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    That's basically it.
    State/Region Flag
    european union

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