How to Connect Your GNS3 Environment to VirtualBox in Windows 8

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How to Connect Your GNS3 Environment to VirtualBox in Windows 8

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Added by May 27, 2015

Video – How to Connect Your GNS3 Environment to a Virtual Box in Windows 8. In this video post, I’ll show how to connect a GNS3 environment to an Oracle Virtual Box using Windows 8 to expand on your network environment to bring in actual clients.


Video Transcription:
By Mark Jacob
Cisco CCNA and CompTIA Network + Instructor

Complete Series:
Part 1 – Connect Your GNS3 Environment to VM VirtualBox
Part 2 – Connect GNS3 to a Valid External Host in Windows 8
Part 3 – Connect your Virtual Machine in GNS3 to the Internet using Windows 8

I wanted to show you how to connect your GNS3 environment to a virtual box, in this case, Oracle’s VM Virtual Box product because it’s nicely aligned with GNS3, so they work well together.

But if you’re a fan of GNS3 like I am, take a look because it’s kind of cool to expand on your network environment to bring in actual, what do you want to call them, clients that have functionality of a client as opposed to just taking a router and configuring it as an endpoint. You can do that, if all you want to do is generate pings. But in this case, we’re actually going to bring in a real client.

Now, I have already built the virtual box. This is not a blog about how to actually build a client inside virtual box. See: How to Use Oracle Virtual Box.

Let’s launch this so you can see it. Here’s my virtual box.

How to Connect GNS3 to a Virtual Box in Windows 8

You’ll notice I have one here that’s name is Windows 7 Ultimate X64.

Connecting to Win 7 vm Box in GNS 3 Virtual Box

This is the one that I want to coordinate and bring into GNS3.

You’ll notice that it’s Powered Off right now.

Windows 7 VM box powered off in GNS3

I’m going to leave it Powered Off, because that’s how it needs to be.

I’ll minimize the screen and launch GNS3.

Launch GNS3 in Windows 8

Here’s something that’s very important. I could double‑click this and GNS3 would launch just fine, but you’re going to have a lot of problems if you do it that way, because a lot of the stuff it needs to be able to do, it won’t be permitted unless you do this. I’m going to right‑click on GNS3 and run it as administrator.

Runs as Administrator GNS3

I’m going to say “Yes” to the User Account Control.

UAC Run as Administrator in GNS3 Virtual Box

I bring up my GNS3 viewer.

If I look at my list of various devices, notice that if I hover on here, I get Browse all devices.


I look here, you’ll notice, if I scroll up and down my list, I don’t see that virtual box that I had just, I know it’s there, because we just opened up virtual box to see it.

GNS3 Open

Here’s how you add it in. I’m going to go to Edit, and Preferences.

Edit Connect GNS3 to a Virtual Box in Windows 8

Then I’ll select “Virtual Box VM templates” and I click new.

Virtual New Connect GNS3 to a Virtual Box in Windows 8

I give it a few moments, it’s going to go collect the information about my virtual box environment, and find my clients.

New Virtual Connection in GNS3 using Windows 8

Once I have that list, I can pick through there and pick the one I want.

At the drop, notice, remember it was this one, Windows 7 Ultimate X64.


I’m going to finish and hit “OK.”

Now, if I go back and browse my list of devices again.

All Features in Oracle Virtual Box GNS3

And then scroll down, I have, that machine is now available to me inside GNS3.

Win7 Ult_x64 Virtual Box in GNS3 using Windows 8

What I want to do now is, I want to build myself a little environment, and this is going to be very minimal typology. I just want to have the ability to show that a virtual device inside GNS3 can actually communicate with this client.

I’m going to drag the Win7-Ult_x64 into the environment.


Next I’m going to grab a router, a plain Cisco 3700 series router.

Cisco c3700 Router Connect GNS3 to a Virtual Box in Windows 8

Next thing I want to do is close this so I have more visibility.


And then if I right‑click on the Win7-Ult_x64 computer and click Configure.


Notice that it’s General settings is Network. I’ll click on Network. It’s going to use the Intel PRO/1000 MT Desktop type.


I’ll cancel out of the Node configurator window and then go ahead and grab a connector, connect that up.

Configure Win7 Ult_x64 VM in GNS 3

Now I have red dots.


That means the devices are not launched, so I’ll close my link connector and I’m just going to click the green, arrow triangle, and get these guys launched.



The cool thing, remember I said to leave the virtual box machine off inside virtual box, and it should launch it for me. If I check my view and I can just launch it again.


Let’s go ahead and do that, I’ll search for Oracle VM VirtualBox and launch it.

Open GNS3 as admin in Oracle Virtual Box

Let me go ahead and log into this machine.


I’m logged in.


That’s why I said I have a lot more functionality doing it this way because this really is a client. This is running a Windows operating system. I can generate pings, I can test HTTP connectivity, whatever I want to do.

Let me go ahead and go into command prompt and see what I have configured.  ipconfig.


Notice I have pre‑configured this. I’m sure you know how to put an IP address on a Windows box. But it has an address,, with a gateway of

If I minimize that and look at my environment here.


What I like to do in my GNS3 is, I annotate stuff, because I know that if look back at this in 15 minutes, everything’s going to be gone.


I put information down that’s going to help me out. I’ll go ahead and put the mask information /24.

Connecting Win7_Ult_x64 VM box to Router

There we go, that’s the address of that computer.

You also have this button Show/Hide interface labels

Connect GNS3 to a Virtual Box in Windows 8

I know I’m on Fast Ethernet 0/0 on this router.

Newtork map Connect GNS3 to a Virtual Box in Windows 8

The other thing I want to do is add another note here for this router, and it’s at Of course, he’s not yet, but he’s going to be in just a moment.


I’m going to go and right‑click on router and select Console.

Controls in GNS3 Virtual Box by Oracle

There we go, I’m on Router 1 (R1).

Config IP in GNS3 Virtual Box

I’m going to go ahead and go into config t, the interface was Fast Ethernet 00.


Notice, Fast Ethernet 00. I enter IP address for the 24‑bit mask.

config-int in GNS3 Virtual Box

Then type #no shut because it’s down right now.

no-shut in configuration

Give that a moment to come live.

config-if in Virtual Box GNS3

Now, I want to see if I can get to that PC, Can I ping it?

Ping GNS3

If you run into, notice that my ping worked.

successful ping Connect GNS3 to a Virtual Box in Windows 8

I did a little behind the scene stuff. I went ahead and modified the Windows firewall. But if Windows Firewall is running, you’ll find that you’re going to have a lot of difficulty pinging, you’re going to start troubleshooting connectivity issues. It’s not the network.

Let me go ahead and bring up the machine.


Let me show you what I did in Windows Firewall.


I click Windows Firewall Properties.


It says that it’s on in the Private Profile and on in the Domain Profile, but Firewall is off in Public Profile.


That’s really all you need to do to disable something, you don’t have to turn off everything.

I’ll turn on Firewall and hit apply, and then try that ping again.

I’ll bring it up the router again by selecting Console


I want to try that ping again, ping


Notice that it no longer works.


This is probably going to be how it works for you initially. You’ll think, “Ah, this stupid GNS3 thing doesn’t work at all.” Check your Windows firewall properties and verify that it is not in the way.

Let me move this out, go back to my machine, and I’ll prove to you, because if I turn this back the way I had it, go back to the Properties, and go to Public Profile and turn that back off.


Let’s say you want to be a little bit more cautious about what you allow into your network. Keep in mind that this is a virtual machine running inside of your box, so it’s not like it’s open for attack from the outside. But if you’re like one of those people that likes to follow, like I want to always do it right, you can configure a rule that specifically just allows a Dynamips GNS3 to access your machine.

Anyway, I have now put the firewall back the way it was, the way it would have been had I not done anything. One last check. Ping


And it worked.

Initially, people think they’re troubleshooting a connectivity issue, but they’re not. It’s just a fact that Firewall is blocking it.

The last piece is, if I really have connectivity from that device back to my GNS3 environment, then I should be able to demonstrate that going the other way. Let’s try that. Can I ping from the PC? Sure enough, I can.


Here I have a virtual box that’s been configured, that is up and running as a Windows client, and it is pinging and getting replies from a router that doesn’t really exist. It’s a virtual router that exists inside GNS3.

You can greatly expand, you’ll notice that I could add more devices out here and greatly build upon my GNS3 topology for practicing my routing and switching.



Until next time….

Mark Jacob
Cisco and CompTIA Network + Instructor – Interface Technical Training
Phoenix, AZ

Complete Series:
Part 1 – Connect Your GNS3 Environment to VM VirtualBox
Part 2 – Connect GNS3 to a Valid External Host in Windows 8
Part 3 – Connect your Virtual Machine in GNS3 to the Internet using Windows 8

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