How do I install Guest Additions in VirtualBox?

  • snakile

    I've recently installed Ubuntu on Oracle's Virtualbox. Now I want to install the guest additions.

    I started up my Ubuntu guest OS, clicked "Devices" and chose "Install Guest Additions". Nothing happened, and I don't see the CD icon on my desktop.

    How can I make this work?

  • Answers
  • see an example

    Installing Guest additions from the repositories

    In case we have installed the OSE edition of Virtual Box from the repositories we can add the guest additions from the repositories.

    Install the package virtualbox-guest-additions-iso Install virtualbox-guest-additions-iso in the host Ubuntu. The .iso file with an image of the OSE edition of the guest additions CD will install in the host directory /usr/share/virtualbox/VBoxGuestAdditions.iso. Mount this .iso file as a CD in your virtual machine's settings. In the guest you will then have access to a CD-ROM with the installer.

    Installing Guest Additions from Virtual Box Manager

    In case the Guest Additions fail to build we may have to install the Linux kernel headers (see How do I install kernel header files?) or build-essential Install build-essential tools in addition. It is also recommended to have dkms Install dkms installed (see below - Note 4).

    Selecting Devices -> Install Guest Additions (or press Host+D from the Virtual Box Manager) the Guest Additions CD .iso will be loaded but not installed in your guest OS. To install we need to run the installer script as root or from the Autorun Prompt (see below),

    GNOME classic

    To install the Guest Additions we will have a CD icon on our desktop as soon as the virtual drive is mounted:

    alt text

    Next step is to run the script (as root) on this mounted CD either by opening the drive or by choosing "Open With Autorun Prompt" from the right-click context menu as depicted above. This will build and install the vbox kernel modules needed.


    The guest additions is mounted as a virtual CD visible on the launcher:

    enter image description here

    In case the system is set up to autorun a CD it should just open the following autorun dialogue (if not select the CD symbol, choose open, then choose Open Autorun Prompt)

    enter image description here

    After having entered your credentials for root access the guest additions will build as seen from the terminal output:

    enter image description here

    Press Return to close the terminal.

    Note 1
    Guest Additions need a reboot of your guest OS to take effect.

    Note 2
    In some systems the Virtual Box Guest Additions CD icon may not be shown on the desktop, but will be accessible from the Places menu. If the CD still was not there you may have to manually add the VBoxGuestAdditions.iso as a CD-ROM in the Virtual Box Manager Storage menu. In an Ubuntu host the disk image is in /usr/share/virtualbox/VBoxGuestAdditions.iso.

    Note 3
    In some systems (e.g. when running Xubuntu guests) we may not have an Autorun Prompt for the mounted CD. Then we can install the guest additions by opening a terminal on the mounted guest additions .iso to run sudo ./ In Lubuntu guests we additionally need to install the GNU C compiler (gcc Install gcc) and the make Install make utility in the guest system to be able to compile the guest additions.

    Note 4
    Running DKMS in the guest OS will keep Guest Additions installed after a guest kernel update. It is not a prerequisite for Guest Additions but if used it should be installed before we install the Guest Additions.

    Installing Guest Additions from a Terminal

    In case Guest Additions are not installed properly we may not be able to boot to the GUI. In this case we need to boot holding the Shift key to access the Grub menu where we access a root shell as depicted in the following question (we do need to mount the filesystem read/write to proceed):

    The Guest Additions .iso file needs to be installed on /dev/cdrom from the Virtual Box Manager (see above). We then may install Guest Additions by typing the following commands:

    mount /dev/cdrom /mnt              # or any other mountpoint
    cd /mnt

    Remove Guest Additions

    In case something went wrong with installing the guest additions, or the guest OS can not boot after installing we may have to remove the additions. This can be done by running an uninstallation script located in the guest /opt directory.

    cd /opt/<VirtualBoxAdditions-x.x.xx>/
    sudo ./

    Replace x.x.xx with your current version of guest additions.

  • Aaron Newton

    You could also try the following (this worked for me after I had to reinstall the Guest Addtitions after Update Manager killed them). Solution found here:

    In summary:

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)
    sudo apt-get install virtualbox-ose-guest-x11

    This found and updated the correct version of the VirtualBox Guest Additions and my system seems to work properly again, and I'm assuming this will also work if Guest Additions are failing to install from the menu item.

    One other thing of note. I originally tried to run this under the fish shell - make sure you're using bash (i.e. type "bash" into the terminal before you start).

  • Peter.O

    The standard "virtualbox-guest-additions" package on the .iso provided by Oracle, has general tools for different Guest Operating Systems...

    However, Ubuntu has its own dedicated Ubuntu-specific Guest Addon package(s)...
    named virtualbox-ose-guest-dkms and ..-x11 and ..-utils .

    These 'virtualbox-ose-guest-*' packages are DKMS aware.. "(DKMS is a framework designed to allow individual kernel modules to be upgraded without changing the whole kernel.)"

    Here is the link to a question I asked 5-6 months ago on this issue... How can I get Compiz to work in a VirtualBox VM

  • Lekensteyn

    The virtualbox-guest-additions package has to be installed. Furthermore, it may appear that nothing has happened, but all the "Install Guest Additions" button do is mounting the cdrom. You should open the File manager (Nautilus / Dolphin), select the "CD device" and run the installer.

  • pinouchon

    In VirtualBox, under Machine -> Settings -> Advanced, make sure that Shared Clipboard is enabled or set to bidirectional.

  • minerz029

    Install "VirtualBox Guest Additions", like the picture shows:

    enter image description here

  • Related Question

    Error in installing Virtualbox guest additions iso file mount
  • hd.

    I have install Virtualbox 4.0.4-OSE on my Ubuntu 11.04. I want to install the guest additions of Virtualbox. but I've gotten this error:

     Failed to open the CD/DVD image /home/bigbang/.VirtualBox/VBoxGuestAdditions_4.0.4.iso.
     The medium '/home/bigbang/.VirtualBox/VBoxGuestAdditions_4.0.4.iso' can't be used as the requested device type.

    The step I do for install it is:

    Devices > Install Guest Additions , then click yes to download the required .iso file from the internet and then click mount button after the file is downloaded and then it gives me the error.

    Edited: My host is Ubuntu and the guest os is XP.

  • Related Answers
  • amashi

    To mount and use guest additions you first have to make sure virtualbox-guest-additions is installed and ready to use. Pop into terminal and type:

    sudo apt-get install virtualbox-guest-additions

    For recent versions of ubuntu (e.g. 13.10), its

    sudo apt-get install virtualbox-guest-additions-iso