Chapter 2. Installation Details

Table of Contents

2.1. Installing on Windows Hosts
2.1.1. Prerequisites
2.1.2. Performing the Installation
2.1.3. Uninstallation
2.1.4. Unattended Installation
2.1.5. Public Properties
2.2. Installing on Mac OS X Hosts
2.2.1. Performing the Installation
2.2.2. Uninstallation
2.2.3. Unattended Installation
2.3. Installing on Linux Hosts
2.3.1. Prerequisites
2.3.2. The Oracle VM VirtualBox Driver Modules
2.3.3. Performing the Installation
2.3.4. The vboxusers Group
2.3.5. Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox on Linux
2.4. Installing on Oracle Solaris Hosts
2.4.1. Performing the Installation
2.4.2. The vboxuser Group
2.4.3. Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox on Oracle Solaris
2.4.4. Uninstallation
2.4.5. Unattended Installation
2.4.6. Configuring a Zone for Running Oracle VM VirtualBox

As installation of Oracle VM VirtualBox varies depending on your host operating system, the following sections provide installation instructions for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Oracle Solaris.

2.1. Installing on Windows Hosts

2.1.1. Prerequisites

For the various versions of Windows that are supported as host operating systems, please refer to Section 1.4, “Supported Host Operating Systems”.

In addition, Windows Installer 1.1 or later must be present on your system. This should be the case if you have all recent Windows updates installed.

2.1.2. Performing the Installation

The Oracle VM VirtualBox installation can be started in either of the following ways:

  • By double-clicking on the executable file, which contains both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures.

  • By entering the following command:

    VirtualBox-<version>-<revision>-Win.exe -extract

    This will extract both installers into a temporary directory, along with .MSI files. Run the following command to to perform the installation:

    msiexec /i VirtualBox-<version>-<revision>-MultiArch_<x86|amd64>.msi

Using either way displays the installation Welcome dialog and enables you to choose where to install Oracle VM VirtualBox, and which components to install. In addition to the Oracle VM VirtualBox application, the following components are available:

  • USB support. This package contains special drivers for your Windows host that Oracle VM VirtualBox requires to fully support USB devices inside your virtual machines.

  • Networking. This package contains extra networking drivers for your Windows host that Oracle VM VirtualBox needs to support Bridged Networking. This enables your VM's virtual network cards to be accessed from other machines on your physical network.

  • Python support. This package contains Python scripting support for the Oracle VM VirtualBox API, see Chapter 11, Oracle VM VirtualBox Programming Interfaces. For this to work, an already working Windows Python installation on the system is required.

    See, for example:


    Python version at least 2.6 is required. Since Oracle VM VirtualBox 5.1, Python 3 is also supported.

Depending on your Windows configuration, you may see warnings about unsigned drivers, or similar. Click Continue for these warnings, as otherwise Oracle VM VirtualBox might not function correctly after installation.

The installer will create a Oracle VM VirtualBox group in the Windows Start menu, which enables you to launch the application and access its documentation.

With standard settings, Oracle VM VirtualBox will be installed for all users on the local system. If this is not wanted, you must invoke the installer by first extracting as follows:

VirtualBox.exe -extract

Then, run either of the following commands on the extracted .MSI files. This will install Oracle VM VirtualBox only for the current user.

VirtualBox.exe -msiparams ALLUSERS=2
msiexec /i VirtualBox-<version>-MultiArch_<x86|amd64>.msi ALLUSERS=2

If you do not want to install all features of Oracle VM VirtualBox, you can set the optional ADDLOCAL parameter to explicitly name the features to be installed. The following features are available:


Main binaries of Oracle VM VirtualBox.


This feature must not be absent, since it contains the minimum set of files to have working Oracle VM VirtualBox installation.


USB support.


All networking support. This includes the VBoxNetworkFlt and VBoxNetworkAdp features.


Bridged networking support.


Host-only networking support


Python support


Python version at least 2.6 is required. Since Oracle VM VirtualBox 5.1, Python 3 is also supported.

For example, to only install USB support along with the main binaries, run either of the following commands:

VirtualBox.exe -msiparams ADDLOCAL=VBoxApplication,VBoxUSB
msiexec /i VirtualBox-<version>-MultiArch_<x86|amd64>.msi ADDLOCAL=VBoxApplication,VBoxUSB

The user is able to choose between NDIS5 and NDIS6 host network filter drivers during the installation. This is done using a command line parameter, NETWORKTYPE. The NDIS6 driver is default for Windows Vista and later. For older Windows versions, the installer will automatically select the NDIS5 driver and this cannot be changed. For Windows Vista and later the user can force an install of the legacy NDIS5 host network filter driver by using NETWORKTYPE=NDIS5. For example, to install the NDIS5 driver on Windows 7 use either of the following commands:

VirtualBox.exe -msiparams NETWORKTYPE=NDIS5
msiexec /i VirtualBox-<version>-MultiArch_<x86|amd64>.msi NETWORKTYPE=NDIS5

2.1.3. Uninstallation

As Oracle VM VirtualBox uses the standard Microsoft Windows installer, Oracle VM VirtualBox can be safely uninstalled at any time. Click the program entry in the Add/Remove Programs list in the Windows Control Panel.

2.1.4. Unattended Installation

Unattended installations can be performed using the standard MSI support.

2.1.5. Public Properties

Public properties can be specified with the MSI API, to control additional behavior and features of the Windows host installer. Use either of the following commands:

VirtualBox.exe -msiparams NAME=VALUE [...]
msiexec /i VirtualBox-<version>-MultiArch_<x86|amd64>.msi NAME=VALUE [...]

The following public properties are available.


    Specifies whether or not an Oracle VM VirtualBox icon on the desktop should be created.

    Set to 1 to enable, 0 to disable. Default is 1.


    Specifies whether or not an Oracle VM VirtualBox icon in the Quick Launch Bar should be created.

    Set to 1 to enable, 0 to disable. Default is 1.


    Specifies whether or not the file extensions .vbox, .vbox-extpack, .ovf, .ova, .vdi, .vmdk, .vhd and .vdd should be associated with Oracle VM VirtualBox. Files of these types then will be opened with Oracle VM VirtualBox.

    Set to 1 to enable, 0 to disable. Default is 1.


    Specifies whether to start Oracle VM VirtualBox right after successful installation.

    Set to 1 to enable, 0 to disable. Default is 1.

2.2. Installing on Mac OS X Hosts

2.2.1. Performing the Installation

For Mac OS X hosts, Oracle VM VirtualBox ships in a dmg disk image file. Perform the following steps to install on a Mac OS X host:

  1. Double-click on the dmg file, to mount the contents.

  2. A window opens, prompting you to double-click on the VirtualBox.pkg installer file displayed in that window.

  3. This will start the installer, which enables you to select where to install Oracle VM VirtualBox.

After installation, you can find an Oracle VM VirtualBox icon in the "Applications" folder in the Finder.

2.2.2. Uninstallation

To uninstall Oracle VM VirtualBox, open the disk image dmg file and double-click on the uninstall icon shown.

2.2.3. Unattended Installation

To perform a non-interactive installation of Oracle VM VirtualBox you can use the command line version of the installer application.

Mount the dmg disk image file, as described in the installation procedure, or use the following command line:

hdiutil attach /path/to/VirtualBox-xyz.dmg

Open a terminal session and run the following command:

sudo installer -pkg /Volumes/VirtualBox/VirtualBox.pkg -target /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD

2.3. Installing on Linux Hosts

2.3.1. Prerequisites

For the various versions of Linux that are supported as host operating systems, see Section 1.4, “Supported Host Operating Systems”.

You will need to install the following packages on your Linux system before starting the installation. Some systems will do this for you automatically when you install Oracle VM VirtualBox.

  • Qt 5.3.2 or later. Qt 5.6.2 or later is recommended.

  • SDL 1.2.7 or later. This graphics library is typically called libsdl or similar.


These packages are only required if you want to run the Oracle VM VirtualBox graphical user interfaces. In particular, VirtualBox, the graphical VirtualBox Manager, requires both Qt and SDL. If you only want to run VBoxHeadless, neither Qt nor SDL are required.

2.3.2. The Oracle VM VirtualBox Driver Modules

In order to run other operating systems in virtual machines alongside your main operating system, Oracle VM VirtualBox needs to integrate very tightly into the system. To do this it installs a driver module called vboxdrv which does a lot of that work into the system kernel, which is the part of the operating system which controls your processor and physical hardware. Without this kernel module, you can still use the VirtualBox Manager to configure virtual machines, but they will not start. It also installs network drivers called vboxnetflt and vboxnetadp which enable virtual machines to make more use of your computer's network capabilities and are needed for any virtual machine networking beyond the basic NAT mode.

Since distributing driver modules separately from the kernel is not something which Linux supports well, the install process creates the modules on the system where they will be used. This usually means first installing software packages from the distribution which are needed for the build process. Normally, these will be the GNU compiler (GCC), GNU Make (make) and packages containing header files for your kernel, as well as making sure that all system updates are installed and that the system is running the most up-to-date kernel included in the distribution. The running kernel and the header files must be updated to matching versions. The following list includes some instructions for common distributions. For most of them you may want to start by finding the version name of your kernel, using the command uname -r in a terminal. The instructions assume that you have not changed too much from the original installation, particularly not installed a different kernel type. If you have, then you will need to determine yourself what to set up.

  • With Debian and Ubuntu-based distributions, you must install the correct version of the linux-headers, usually whichever of linux-headers-generic, linux-headers-amd64, linux-headers-i686 or linux-headers-i686-pae best matches the kernel version name. Also, the linux-kbuild package if it exists. Basic Ubuntu releases should have the correct packages installed by default.

  • On Fedora, Redhat, Oracle Linux and many other RPM-based systems, the kernel version sometimes has a code of letters or a word close to the end of the version name. For example "uek" for the Oracle Enterprise kernel or "default" or "desktop" for the standard SUSE kernels. In this case, the package name is kernel-uek-devel or equivalent. If there is no such code, it is usually kernel-devel.

  • On older SUSE and openSUSE Linux, you must install the kernel-source and kernel-syms packages.

If you suspect that something has gone wrong with module installation, check that your system is set up as described above and try running the following command, as root:

rcvboxdrv setup

2.3.3. Performing the Installation

Oracle VM VirtualBox is available in a number of package formats native to various common Linux distributions. See Section 1.4, “Supported Host Operating Systems”. In addition, there is an alternative generic installer (.run) which should work on most Linux distributions. The generic installer packages are built on EL5 systems and thus require reasonably old versions of glibc, such as version 2.5, and other system libraries. Installing Oracle VM VirtualBox from a Debian/Ubuntu Package

Download the appropriate package for your distribution. The following examples assume that you are installing to a 32-bit Ubuntu Wily system. Use dpkg to install the Debian package,as follows:

sudo dpkg -i virtualbox-5.0_version-number_Ubuntu_wily_i386.deb

The installer will also try to build kernel modules suitable for the current running kernel. If the build process is not successful you will be shown a warning and the package will be left unconfigured. Look at /var/log/vbox-install.log to find out why the compilation failed. You may have to install the appropriate Linux kernel headers, see Section 2.3.2, “The Oracle VM VirtualBox Driver Modules”. After correcting any problems, run the following command:

sudo rcvboxdrv setup

This will start a second attempt to build the module.

If a suitable kernel module was found in the package or the module was successfully built, the installation script will attempt to load that module. If this fails, please see Section 12.8.1, “Linux Kernel Module Refuses to Load” for further information.

Once Oracle VM VirtualBox has been successfully installed and configured, you can start it by clicking VirtualBox in your Start menu or from the command line. See Section 2.3.5, “Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox on Linux”. Using the Alternative Generic Installer (

The alternative generic installer performs the following steps:

  • Unpacks the application files to the target directory /opt/VirtualBox/, which cannot be changed.

  • Builds and installs the Oracle VM VirtualBox kernel modules: vboxdrv, vboxnetflt, and vboxnetadp.

  • Creates /sbin/rcvboxdrv, an init script to start the Oracle VM VirtualBox kernel module.

  • Creates a new system group called vboxusers.

  • Creates symbolic links in /usr/bin to a shell script /opt/VirtualBox/VBox which does some sanity checks and dispatches to the actual executables: VirtualBox, VBoxVRDP, VBoxHeadless and VBoxManage.

  • Creates /etc/udev/rules.d/60-vboxdrv.rules, a description file for udev, if that is present, which makes the USB devices accessible to all users in the vboxusers group.

  • Writes the installation directory to /etc/vbox/vbox.cfg.

The installer must be executed as root with either install or uninstall as the first parameter. For example:

sudo ./ install

Or if you do not have the sudo command available, run the following as root instead:

./ install

Add every user who needs to access USB devices from a VirtualBox guests to the group vboxusers. Either use the GUI user management tools or run the following command as root:

sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers username


The usermod command of some older Linux distributions does not support the -a option, which adds the user to the given group without affecting membership of other groups. In this case, find out the current group memberships with the groups command and add all these groups in a comma-separated list to the command line after the -G option. For example: usermod -G group1,group2,vboxusers username. Performing a Manual Installation

If you cannot use the shell script installer described in Section, “Using the Alternative Generic Installer (”, you can perform a manual installation. Run the installer as follows:

./ --keep --noexec

This will unpack all the files needed for installation in the directory install under the current directory. The Oracle VM VirtualBox application files are contained in VirtualBox.tar.bz2 which you can unpack to any directory on your system. For example:

sudo mkdir /opt/VirtualBox
sudo tar jxf ./install/VirtualBox.tar.bz2 -C /opt/VirtualBox

To run the same example as root, use the following commands:

mkdir /opt/VirtualBox
tar jxf ./install/VirtualBox.tar.bz2 -C /opt/VirtualBox

The sources for Oracle VM VirtualBox's kernel module are provided in the src directory. To build the module, change to the directory and use the following command:


If everything builds correctly, run the following command to install the module to the appropriate module directory:

sudo make install

In case you do not have sudo, switch the user account to root and run the following command:

make install

The Oracle VM VirtualBox kernel module needs a device node to operate. The above make command will tell you how to create the device node, depending on your Linux system. The procedure is slightly different for a classical Linux setup with a /dev directory, a system with the now deprecated devfs and a modern Linux system with udev.

On certain Linux distributions, you might experience difficulties building the module. You will have to analyze the error messages from the build system to diagnose the cause of the problems. In general, make sure that the correct Linux kernel sources are used for the build process.

Note that the /dev/vboxdrv kernel module device node must be owned by root:root and must be read/writable only for the user.

Next, you install the system initialization script for the kernel module and activate the initialization script using the right method for your distribution, as follows:

cp /opt/VirtualBox/ /sbin/rcvboxdrv

This example assumes you installed Oracle VM VirtualBox to the /opt/VirtualBox directory.

Create a configuration file for Oracle VM VirtualBox, as follows:

mkdir /etc/vbox
echo INSTALL_DIR=/opt/VirtualBox > /etc/vbox/vbox.cfg

Create the following symbolic links:

ln -sf /opt/VirtualBox/ /usr/bin/VirtualBox
ln -sf /opt/VirtualBox/ /usr/bin/VBoxManage
ln -sf /opt/VirtualBox/ /usr/bin/VBoxHeadless Updating and Uninstalling Oracle VM VirtualBox

Before updating or uninstalling Oracle VM VirtualBox, you must terminate any virtual machines which are currently running and exit the Oracle VM VirtualBox or VBoxSVC applications. To update Oracle VM VirtualBox, simply run the installer of the updated version. To uninstall Oracle VM VirtualBox, run the installer as follows:

sudo ./ uninstall

As root, you can use the following command:

./ uninstall

You can uninstall the .run package as follows:


To manually uninstall Oracle VM VirtualBox, perform the manual installation steps in reverse order. Automatic Installation of Debian Packages

The Debian packages will request some user feedback when installed for the first time. The debconf system is used to perform this task. To prevent any user interaction during installation, default values can be defined. A file vboxconf can contain the following debconf settings:

virtualbox virtualbox/module-compilation-allowed boolean true
virtualbox virtualbox/delete-old-modules boolean true

The first line enables compilation of the vboxdrv kernel module if no module was found for the current kernel. The second line enables the package to delete any old vboxdrv kernel modules compiled by previous installations.

These default settings can be applied prior to the installation of the Oracle VM VirtualBox Debian package, as follows:

debconf-set-selections vboxconf

In addition there are some common configuration options that can be set prior to the installation. See Section, “Automatic Installation Options”. Automatic Installation of RPM Packages

The RPM format does not provide a configuration system comparable to the debconf system. See Section, “Automatic Installation Options” for how to set some common installation options provided by Oracle VM VirtualBox. Automatic Installation Options

To configure the installation process for .deb and .rpm packages, you can create a response file named /etc/default/virtualbox. The automatic generation of the udev rule can be prevented with the following setting:


The creation of the group vboxusers can be prevented as follows:


If the following line is specified, the package installer will not try to build the vboxdrv kernel module if no module fitting the current kernel was found.


2.3.4. The vboxusers Group

The Linux installers create the system user group vboxusers during installation. Any system user who is going to use USB devices from Oracle VM VirtualBox guests must be a member of that group. A user can be made a member of the group vboxusers through the GUI user/group management or using the following command:

sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers username

2.3.5. Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox on Linux

The easiest way to start a Oracle VM VirtualBox program is by running the program of your choice (VirtualBox, VBoxManage, or VBoxHeadless) from a terminal. These are symbolic links to that start the required program for you.

The following detailed instructions should only be of interest if you wish to execute Oracle VM VirtualBox without installing it first. You should start by compiling the vboxdrv kernel module and inserting it into the Linux kernel. Oracle VM VirtualBox consists of a service daemon, VBoxSVC, and several application programs. The daemon is automatically started if necessary. All Oracle VM VirtualBox applications will communicate with the daemon through UNIX local domain sockets. There can be multiple daemon instances under different user accounts and applications can only communicate with the daemon running under the user account as the application. The local domain socket resides in a subdirectory of your system's directory for temporary files called .vbox-<username>-ipc. In case of communication problems or server startup problems, you may try to remove this directory.

All Oracle VM VirtualBox applications (VirtualBox, VBoxManage, and VBoxHeadless) require the Oracle VM VirtualBox directory to be in the library path, as follows:

LD_LIBRARY_PATH=. ./VBoxManage showvminfo "Windows XP"

2.4. Installing on Oracle Solaris Hosts

For the specific versions of Oracle Solaris that are supported as host operating systems, see Section 1.4, “Supported Host Operating Systems”.

If you have a previously installed instance of Oracle VM VirtualBox on your Oracle Solaris host, please uninstall it first before installing a new instance. See Section 2.4.4, “Uninstallation” for uninstall instructions.

2.4.1. Performing the Installation

Oracle VM VirtualBox is available as a standard Oracle Solaris package. Download the Oracle VM VirtualBox SunOS package which includes the 64-bit versions of Oracle VM VirtualBox. The installation must be performed as root and from the global zone as the Oracle VM VirtualBox installer loads kernel drivers which cannot be done from non-global zones. To verify which zone you are currently in, execute the zonename command. Execute the following commands:

gunzip -cd VirtualBox-version-number-SunOS.tar.gz | tar xvf -

The Oracle VM VirtualBox kernel package is no longer a separate package and has been integrated into the main package. Install the Oracle VM VirtualBox package as follows:

pkgadd -d VirtualBox-version-number-SunOS.pkg

The installer will then prompt you to enter the package you wish to install. Choose 1 or all and proceed. Next the installer will ask you if you want to allow the postinstall script to be executed. Choose y and proceed, as it is essential to execute this script which installs the Oracle VM VirtualBox kernel module. Following this confirmation the installer will install Oracle VM VirtualBox and execute the postinstall setup script.

Once the postinstall script has been executed your installation is now complete. You may now safely delete the uncompressed package and autoresponse files from your system. Oracle VM VirtualBox is installed in /opt/VirtualBox.


If you need to use Oracle VM VirtualBox from non-global zones, see Section 2.4.6, “Configuring a Zone for Running Oracle VM VirtualBox”.

2.4.2. The vboxuser Group

The installer creates the system user group vboxuser during installation for Oracle Solaris hosts that support the USB features required by Oracle VM VirtualBox. Any system user who is going to use USB devices from Oracle VM VirtualBox guests must be a member of this group. A user can be made a member of this group through the GUI user/group management or at the command line by executing as root:

usermod -G vboxuser username

Note that adding an active user to that group will require that user to log out and back in again. This should be done manually after successful installation of the package.

2.4.3. Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox on Oracle Solaris

The easiest way to start a Oracle VM VirtualBox program is by running the program of your choice (VirtualBox, VBoxManage, or VBoxHeadless) from a terminal. These are symbolic links to that start the required program for you.

Alternatively, you can directly invoke the required programs from /opt/VirtualBox. Using the links provided is easier as you do not have to enter the full path.

You can configure some elements of the VirtualBox Qt GUI, such as fonts and colours, by running VBoxQtconfig from the terminal.

2.4.4. Uninstallation

Uninstallation of Oracle VM VirtualBox on Oracle Solaris requires root permissions. To perform the uninstallation, start a root terminal session and run the following command:

pkgrm SUNWvbox

After confirmation, this will remove Oracle VM VirtualBox from your system.

If you are uninstalling Oracle VM VirtualBox version 3.0 or lower, you need to remove the Oracle VM VirtualBox kernel interface package, as follows:

pkgrm SUNWvboxkern

2.4.5. Unattended Installation

To perform a non-interactive installation of Oracle VM VirtualBox there is a response file named autoresponse, that the installer will use for responses to inputs rather than ask them from you.

Extract the tar.gz package as described in the normal installation instructions. Then open a root terminal session and run the following command:

pkgadd -d VirtualBox-version-number-SunOS-x86 -n -a autoresponse SUNWvbox

To perform a non-interactive uninstallation, open a root terminal session and run the following command:

pkgrm -n -a /opt/VirtualBox/autoresponse SUNWvbox

2.4.6. Configuring a Zone for Running Oracle VM VirtualBox

Assuming that Oracle VM VirtualBox has already been installed into your zone, you need to give the zone access to Oracle VM VirtualBox's device node. This is done by performing the following steps. Start a root terminal and run the following command:

zonecfg -z vboxzone

Replace "vboxzone" with the name of the zone where you intend to run Oracle VM VirtualBox.

Usezonecfg to add the device resource and match properties to the zone, as follows:

zonecfg:vboxzone>add device
zonecfg:vboxzone:device>set match=/dev/vboxdrv
zonecfg:vboxzone>add device
zonecfg:vboxzone:device>set match=/dev/vboxdrvu

If you are running Oracle VM VirtualBox 2.2.0 or above on Oracle Solaris 11 or above, you may also add a device for /dev/vboxusbmon, similar to that shown above. This does not apply to Oracle Solaris 10 hosts, due to lack of USB support.

If you are not using sparse root zones, you will need to loopback mount /opt/VirtualBox from the global zone into the non-global zone at the same path. This is specified below using the dir attribute and the special attribute. For example:

zonecfg:vboxzone>add fs
zonecfg:vboxzone:device>set dir=/opt/VirtualBox
zonecfg:vboxzone:device>set special=/opt/VirtualBox
zonecfg:vboxzone:device>set type=lofs

Reboot the zone using zoneadm and you should be able to run Oracle VM VirtualBox from within the configured zone.