Software, Technology

Installing VirtualBox Guest Additions

VirtualBox offers its own Guest Additions for improved integration between guest and host, particularly mouse-capture and more video resolutions. The guest-additions are installed to the guest, not the host. It is an essential for best performance.

The current VirtualBox ( includes a multi-platform cd-iso image for Guest Additions. For Windows guests you only need mount the iso to your virtual CD drive and the autorun.inf starts the installer for you. On Linux however…

My example was needed to get the best out of Lubuntu, but applies to any Linux VM. Start your ubuntu guest and login. In theory, choosing:

Devices > Install Guest Additions...

from the VirtualBox menu in your running Ubuntu guests should do the same. But it doesn’t always.

In the first instance, look for the bundled iso-image under:


If its missing, you can go to and find the folder for your version number (x.x.x) of virtualbox and  download the appropriate VBoxGuestAdditions_x.x.x.iso

You will need to deposit it in the /usr/share/virtualbox/ folder or map your iso image and path as storage in your guest settings. From the menu in your ubuntu guest window, select

devices > mount CD/DVD Rom

Now select option “CD/DVD Rom image” and choose the VBoxGuestAdditions iso file.

You may need to manually mount the iso image using:

sudo mount -t iso9660 /dev/scd0 /mnt/cdrom (your specific mount point)

If the Guest Additions install still doesn’t work, you’re probably missing the Dynamic Kernel Module Support Framework, to quote:

"DKMS is a framework designed to allow individual kernel modules to be upgraded without changing the whole kernel. It is also very easy to rebuild modules as you upgrade kernels."

If not already installed, install the package dkms.

You should have it in the repositories from Canonical or you can manually:

sudo apt-get install dkms

There is a number of dependent packages which should be identified to install with it (17 for my Lubuntu), for kernel headers and the like, so that VirtBox can dynamically build the required modules in the guest.

Reboot the lubuntu guest to load the new modules.

Try the Guest Additions install again. If nothing happens, you may need to manually kick it off.

In a terminal shell, navigate to your mounted iso image:
cd /mnt/cdrom0 (your specific mount point)

sudo sh ./

Which should then run to completion. To activate the improved guest capabilities, restart your Ubuntu guest machine. RC

This how-to is indebted to the commenters of the article at Ubuntu-tutorials for outlining the variations on this process through 2007-2009:

About Robin Catling

Writer; performer; project manager; sports coach; all-round eccentric.


3 thoughts on “Installing VirtualBox Guest Additions

  1. I'm going to say thanks even though I lost my Lubuntu guest. I followed your suggestions and got the guest additions to mount. At least I was assured they had mounted at the conclusion of the terminal run.

    When I rebooted I got an inactive black screen.

    I will download the latest vers of Lubuntu and try again. Your guidelines should work. I can't figure what went wrong???

    Posted by Anonymous | March 22, 2010, 9:35 am
  2. The black screen may be do do with Lubuntu default X-session selection, rather than the guest additions. At the user login screen, click the session selector dropdown list at the bottom of the screen; select 'LXDE' in place of 'default' which I believe is looking for Gnome – not installed by default!

    This should boot Lubuntu into an LXDE session which works for me! RC

    Posted by Robin Catling | March 26, 2010, 1:22 am
  3. Many thanks, I followed your guidelines to get guest additions to work. I had to to keep things going.

    Very nice of you to acknowledge the Ubuntu-tutorial article.

    Again thank you for your precise instructions.

    Posted by Plumtreed | April 7, 2010, 10:56 pm

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