Unable to connect to HA - Fresh install Virtualbox Windows 10 Pro

I’m trying to create a fresh install of the HA OS via VirtualBox on a Windows 10 Pro NUC (Intel i5-10210U 4-Core, 16GB RAM, 512GB m.2 SATA SSD).

I installed a fresh copy of the latest VirtualBox release & downloaded haos_ova-8.4.vdi. I allocated 4 Gig of RAM and 2 Cores to the VM. (EFI Boot Checked, Network Bridge Mode Selected.) Created a New VM using Linux (Other 64-Bit) and selecting the unzipped haos_ova-8.4.vdi file.

When I start the HA VM, everything appears to run correctly. I see all of the code scroll down the screen, then Home assistant launches, displays the system information (including IP addresses), and finally gives me the ha > prompt. … everything looks good … but

if I attempt to log into HA via a web browser, I am unable to connect. If I input the physical IP address, I get a message that my connection was refused. ( I went so far as to disable all firewall settings, without success.) If I try to login via " homeassistant.local", Edge and Brave browsers both end up giving me google search results for home assistant.

If I try to connect to the local IP address on a second computer (a MacBook Pro) I get a message that the web browser could not open the page because the address isn’t valid; however, I have had short-term, intermittent success with homeassistant.local. I have been able to load the initial login page, set my user name and password. Then, the link usually hangs, after I click on “Create Account.” There have been a couple of instances where I was able to get past that to the Home Assistant welcome page, asking me to name my installation, select time zone, location, etc. I have tried to input all data and click on next, but Home Assistant appears to hang at that point. Again, this is on a secondary computer. out of about 10 clean installs (deleting all VM files, performing a Windows Uninstall on Virtualbox, then reinstalling fresh downloaded copies of VirtualBox and haos).

This has been extremely frustrating, as I keep reading through all of the latest installation notes to see if I’m missing a step, but I haven’t detected anything that I might have overlooked. Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

Are you including the port number?