Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Manually Set System Time in VirtualBox

Ubuntu 8

In this guide, we will walk you through the process of manually setting the system time in VirtualBox. This can be useful in various scenarios, such as testing software that relies on specific timestamps or simulating different time zones for application testing.

Quick Answer

To manually set the system time in VirtualBox, you need to disable NTP synchronization, stop the VirtualBox Guest Additions service (for Windows guest), use the "date" command (for Ubuntu guest) or the time and date settings applet (for Windows guest) to set the desired time, and disable time synchronization with the host.

Understanding Time Synchronization in VirtualBox

By default, VirtualBox synchronizes the system time of the guest operating system with the host operating system using the Network Time Protocol (NTP). While this feature helps keep the system time consistent across your virtual machines, there may be instances where you need to manually set the system time.

Disabling NTP Synchronization

Before you can manually set the system time, you need to disable NTP synchronization to prevent the system from automatically updating the time.

In Ubuntu Guest:

Open a terminal and run the following command:

sudo update-rc.d -f ntp remove

This command disables the NTP service in Ubuntu. The -f option forces the removal of the NTP script, and ntp remove specifies the service to be removed.

In Windows Guest:

Open a command prompt as an administrator and execute the following command:

sudo service vboxadd-service stop

or

sudo /etc/init.d/vboxadd-service stop

These commands stop the VirtualBox Guest Additions service, which is responsible for time synchronization in Windows guests.

Setting the System Time

Now that you’ve disabled time synchronization, you can manually set the system time.

In Ubuntu Guest:

Use the date command to set the system time. For example, to set the time to 12:34:56 on April 17, 2011, you would use the following command:

date -s "17 April 2011 12:34:56"

The -s option is used to set the time, and the string following it specifies the desired date and time.

In Windows Guest:

Open the time and date settings applet by clicking on the time & date section of the panel. Then, click on the padlock icon, enter your password, and choose “Set The Time” to manually set the time.

Preventing Time Synchronization with the Host

To ensure that the guest system time remains as you’ve set it, you need to disable time synchronization with the host.

In Ubuntu Guest:

Run the following command:

VBoxManage setextradata "your_VM_name" "VBoxInternal/Devices/VMMDev/0/Config/GetHostTimeDisabled" 1

This command disables time synchronization with the host. Replace "your_VM_name" with the name of your virtual machine.

In Windows Guest:

You can disable or uninstall Guest Additions to prevent time synchronization. To do this, go to the VirtualBox guest window, select “Devices” from the menu, and then “Insert Guest Additions CD image…”. Follow the prompts to uninstall Guest Additions.

Conclusion

Manually setting the system time in VirtualBox can be a useful tool for software testing and development. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can easily change the system time in your virtual machine and ensure that it stays consistent with your needs. Remember to re-enable time synchronization when you’re done to keep your system time accurate.

Why would I need to manually set the system time in VirtualBox?

You may need to manually set the system time in VirtualBox for various reasons, such as testing software that relies on specific timestamps or simulating different time zones for application testing.

How does VirtualBox normally synchronize the system time?

VirtualBox synchronizes the system time of the guest operating system with the host operating system using the Network Time Protocol (NTP).

How do I disable NTP synchronization in an Ubuntu guest?

To disable NTP synchronization in an Ubuntu guest, open a terminal and run the command sudo update-rc.d -f ntp remove.

How do I disable time synchronization in a Windows guest?

To disable time synchronization in a Windows guest, open a command prompt as an administrator and execute the command sudo service vboxadd-service stop or sudo /etc/init.d/vboxadd-service stop.

How do I manually set the system time in an Ubuntu guest?

To manually set the system time in an Ubuntu guest, use the date command. For example, to set the time to 12:34:56 on April 17, 2011, use the command date -s "17 April 2011 12:34:56".

How do I manually set the system time in a Windows guest?

To manually set the system time in a Windows guest, open the time and date settings applet, click on the padlock icon, enter your password, and choose "Set The Time" to manually set the time.

How do I prevent time synchronization with the host in an Ubuntu guest?

To prevent time synchronization with the host in an Ubuntu guest, run the command VBoxManage setextradata "your_VM_name" "VBoxInternal/Devices/VMMDev/0/Config/GetHostTimeDisabled" 1. Replace "your_VM_name" with the name of your virtual machine.

How do I prevent time synchronization with the host in a Windows guest?

To prevent time synchronization with the host in a Windows guest, you can disable or uninstall Guest Additions. Go to the VirtualBox guest window, select "Devices" from the menu, and then "Insert Guest Additions CD image…". Follow the prompts to uninstall Guest Additions.

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