I am in the process of installing the latest debian stable on VirtualBox (3.1.4), and got to an installation step asking to installing GRUB to the MBR of the disk. I assume that since this is a "virtual" disk created by VirtualBox, that the MBR for it is isolated from the MBR of the primary disk on the host. Is this correct? I had previously been under the (possibly incorrect?) impression that there was 1 MBR per physical primary disk.

2 Answers 2


Quoted from http://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch05.html#vdidetails

Disk image files reside on the host system and are seen by the guest systems as hard disks of a certain geometry. When a guest operating system reads from or writes to a hard disk, VirtualBox redirects the request to the image file.

So it does not affect the host MBR. Only the disk image file.


uhm I think that you can't make changes because you're in a virtual space on your computer, so it can't affect the HDD/SSD, because it's in a closed environment in your laptop.

  • You can map the raw HDD into the VM and overwrite it.
    – chicks
    Jan 7, 2017 at 3:43

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