Windows 7 VirtualBox Install: Need Passthrough Option

I recently installed Windows 7 on VirtualBox 4.1.8 for Fedora Core 16. I had previously installed Windows XP on same system without any problems.

However, while trying to install Windows 7 I got the following error early in the process:

“A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing. If you have a driver floppy disk, CD, DVD, or USB flash drive, please insert it now. Note: If the Windows installation media is in the CD/DVD drive, you can safely remove it for this step.”

Note that this is a generic sort of error. Some people have reported this same error when the Windows 7 install media is an ISO file that is corrupted, perhaps due to a truncated download. However, since I was installing from a factory DVD this was obviously not the case for me.

It turned out that the way around this error was to enable the "Passthrough" option in VirtualBox Guest Machine Settings (under "Storage") specifically to enable the DVD drive to be "Passthrough".  Once this was checked, there was a clear difference as early in the install I got a black and white screen with a white progress bar on the bottom that said "Loading Files" and this was not present at the earlier attempts when the error message and failure was seen. Apparently, the DVD driver files will not load until this "Passthrough" option is checked in the VirtualBox Storage config section.

I also had configured the boot order to use DVD first, but I don't think this was the key change, as doing this by itself without setting "passthrough" had no effect.

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