This is a walkthrough for installing Flare VM in Windows 10 on VirtualBox. FlareVM is a free Windows-based malware analysis toolkit by FireEye! Lets get started.

Additional Info about Flare VM can be found here: https://www.fireeye.com/blog/threat-research/2017/07/flare-vm-the-windows-malware.html

Github Repo: https://github.com/fireeye/flare-vm/blob/master/README.md


  • Type 2 Hypervisor (VirtualBox will be used for this walkthrough, although VMWare, Hyper, KVM, etc. can also be used.)
  • Virtual Machine Settings:
    • 80 GB Virtual Hard Disk
    • 4 GB RAM (8 Reccommended)
    • 1 CPU (2 Reccommended)

VM Download and Preparation

  • Download a free Windows VM from Microsoft: https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/tools/vms/

  • Select Windows 10 w/Edge and use the following settings for VirtualBox. Win 10 VM

  • In VirtualBox, create a NAT Network to place the Flare VM on. Network settings can be modified later when conducting Malware analysis. File > Preferences > Network > + Win 10 VM

  • Import the Windows 10 OVF into VirtualBox. File > Import Appliance. Leave the settings as default.

  • In VirtualBox, make the following setting changes:

    • Display > Screen > Graphics Controller > VBoxSVGA
    • Display > Screen > Video Memory > 60 MB
    • Right Click > Settings > Network > Attached to: “NAT Network” > Select the NAT Network Created Earlier. Win 10 VM

By Default, the Windows VM may not come with sufficient storage.

  • In VirtualBox Naviagate to Settings > Storage. Check if the storage is at least 80 gb. Win 10 VM

  • If the storage is under 80 GB, copy the location to your VDI in the settings, open command prompt and run the following commands to re-size the disk:
    • Navigate to the directory where VirtualBox is installed. In my case:
        cd C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox
    • Execute VBoxManage.exe to resize the disk.
        VBoxManage.exe modifyhd <path to vdi> --resize <amount>
        VBoxManage.exe modifyhd "C:\Users\DavidReiling\VirtualBox VMs\FlareVM - Win10\MSEdge - Win10-disk001.vdi" --resize 81920
    • Verify the VM was resized in settings.
  • Settings > Storage. Insert an Optical Drive in the VM and add “the Guest Additions CD Image”. Once ran, Guest additions will allow for copy/pasting into the VM and setting display scaling. Win 10 VM

  • Start the VM. The default username/password should be “IEUser” and “Passw0rd!”

  • If you resized the disk earlier, open Disk Management. Right click > C:\ > Extend Volume and extend the volume into the unallocated space.

  • From the Virtual Box Manager Window > Devices > Optical Drive > VBoxGuestAdditions.iso. Run the guest additions .iso and restart it.

  • Once the VM is restarted, from the Virtual Box Manager Window > Devices > Optical Drive > Remove Disk

Disabling Windows Defender

Next we will disable Windows Defender and other Windows Security Features inside this VM in order to execute malware.

  • Follow the below instructions and add the C:/ drive as an exclusion: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/add-an-exclusion-to-windows-security-811816c0-4dfd-af4a-47e4-c301afe13b26

  • Here is a screenshot of the completed settings: Win 10 VM

  • From the Virus & threat protection settings page, perform the following actions:
    • Disable real-time protection
    • Disable cloud-delivered protection
    • Disable automatic sample submission
    • Add the directory C:\ to the exclusion list Win 10 VM
  • Finally, you may need to disable Windows Defender via the Group Policy Editor. Follow these excellent instructions Below is a summary of these instructions.
    • Open a command prompt as administrator. Enter gpedit.msc.
    • Navigate to: Computer Security Policy > Computer Configuration > Adminstrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender Antivirus. Double click “Windows Defender Antivirus”
    • Double-click “Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus” > in the “Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus” box, click Enabled. Win 10 VM
    • Disable Windows Defender SmartScreen. Follow the following path: Local Computer Security Policy > Computer Configuration > Adminstrative Templates > Windows Components > File Explorer > double-click “Configure Windows Defender Smartscreen”.
    • Double-click “Configure Windows Defender Smartscreen” in the “Configure Windows Defender Smartscreen” box, click Disabled, as shown below and then click OK. Win 10 VM

Installing Flare VM Tools

  • Before install, create a snapshot. VirtualBox > Machine > Tools > Snapshots > Take
  • Download and extract the github code from the FlareVM repo inside your VM: https://github.com/fireeye/flare-vm/blob/master/README.md
  • Run Powershell as administrator and navigate to the extracted directory.
  • Follow the readme instructions on the FlareVM GitHub page or downloaded repo for setup. As of this writing the approximate instructions are:
    • Download and copy install.ps1 onto your new VM
    • Open PowerShell as an Administrator
    • Unblock the install file by running:
    • Unblock-File .\install.ps1
    • Enable script execution by running:
    • Set-ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted
    • Finally, execute the installer script as follow: .\install.ps1
    • You can also pass your password as an argument: .\install.ps1 -password
  • Flare VM setup scripts will now run. This may take some time (1-3 hours) and involve some restarts of the VM, grab some popcorn.
  • Once completed the flare VM desktop wallpaper should appear.
  • IMPORTANT: Once everything is finished take a snapshot as a baseline for the VM.
  • There should be a shortcut on the desktop. According to the FlareVM page, here is a list of the malware analysis tools installed on the VM:
    • Disassemblers:
      • IDA Free 5.0 and IDA Free 7.0
      • Binary Ninja
      • Radare2 and Cutter
      • Debuggers:
      • OllyDbg and OllyDbg2
      • x64dbg
      • Windbg
    • File Format parser:
      • CFF Explorer, PEView, PEStudio
      • PdfStreamdumper, pdf-parser, pdfid
      • ffdec
      • offvis and officemalscanner
      • PE-bear
    • Decompilers:
      • RetDec
      • Jd-gui and bytecode-viewer
      • dnSpy
      • IDR
      • VBDecompiler
      • Py2ExeDecompiler
    • Monitoring tools:
      • SysInternal suite
      • RegShot
    • Utilities:
      • Hex Editors (010 editor, HxD and File Insight)
      • FLOSS (FireEye Labs Obfuscated String Solver)
      • Fakenet-NG
      • Yara
      • Malware Analyst Pack

Guidelines for opening malicious stuff.

  • Always have a baseline snapshot to restore to afterwards
  • Before opening something dodgey, adjust your network settings:
    • Change the network adapter to “Host Only” if you want a competely isolated environment with no network connection.
    • Change the network adapter to “” in order to allow internet access only
  • Files can be dragged/dropped by Devices > Drag and Drop > Bi Directional
    • After dragging a malcious file into the VM, disable this feature.