How to Install VirtualBox Guest Additions in Ubuntu

VirtualBox Guest Additions are a collection of device drivers and system applications designed to achieve closer integration between the host and guest operating systems. They help to enhance the overall interactive performance and usability of guest systems.

Read Also: How to Install VirtualBox Guest Additions in CentOS

The VirtualBox Guest Additions offer the following features:’

  • Easy mouse pointer integration.
  • Easy way to share folders between the host and the guest.
  • Drag and drop feature allows copying or opening files, copy clipboard formats from the host to the guest or from the guest to the host.
  • Share clipboard (for copy and paste) of the guest operating system with your host operating system.
  • Better video support provides accelerated video performance.
  • Better Time synchronization between guest and host.
  • Standard host/guest communication channels.
  • Seamless Windows features allows you to run windows of your guest operating system seamlessly next to the windows of your host.

The VirtualBox Guest Additions should be installed inside a virtual machine after the guest operating system has been installed.

In this article, we will explain how to install VirtualBox Guest Additions on Ubuntu and Debian based distributions such Linux Mint.

How to Install VirtualBox Guest Additions in Ubuntu

1. First start by updating your Ubuntu guest operating system software packages using following command.

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt upgrade

2. Once upgrade completes, reboot your Ubuntu guest operating system to effect the recent upgrades and install required packages as follows.

$ sudo apt install build-essential dkms linux-headers-$(uname -r)

3. Next, from the Virtual Machine menu bar, go to Devices => click on Insert Guest Additions CD image as shown in the screenshot. This helps to mount the Guest Additions ISO file inside your virtual machine.

Install Virtualbox Guest Additions

Install Virtualbox Guest Additions

4. Next, you will get a dialog window, prompting you to Run the installer to launch it.

Run VirtualBox Guest Additions

Run VirtualBox Guest Additions

5. A terminal window will be opened from which the actual installation of VirtualBox Guest Additions will be performed. Once the installation is complete, press [Enter] to close the installer terminal window. Then power off your Ubuntu guest OS to change some settings from VirtualBox manager as explained in the next step.

Install VirtualBox Guest Additions

Install VirtualBox Guest Additions

6. Now to enable Shared Clipboard and Drag’n’Drop functionality between Guest and Host Machine. Go to General => Advanced and enable the two options (Shared Clipboard and Drag’n’Drop) as you wish, from the drop down options. Then click OK to save the settings and boot your system, login and test if everything is working fine.

Enable Shared Clipboard in Virtualbox

Enable Shared Clipboard in Virtualbox

Congratulations! You have successfully installed VirtualBox Guest Additions on Ubuntu and Debian based distributions such Linux Mint.

Read Also: How to Enable USB in VirtualBox

If you face any problems during installation, use the feedback form below to ask any questions or share your thoughts about this article.

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Aaron Kili

Aaron Kili is a Linux and F.O.S.S enthusiast, an upcoming Linux SysAdmin, web developer, and currently a content creator for TecMint who loves working with computers and strongly believes in sharing knowledge.

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44 Responses

  1. Vincent Marshall Sr says:

    Aaron, Many thanks. Everything works like a charm. I’ve read a lot of manuals and instructions, after 42 years as a Electronics Engineer, etc.

    There’s nothing I appreciate more than reading well written “cut-thru-the-chase” instructions THAT WORK. You are a credit to the I.T. profession, keep up the good work!

  2. iskandar says:

    How about Ubuntu server? when I click insert guess addition CD it show nothing..

    • Marcio Correa says:

      Hey, Iskandar!

      There are no media automount in the ubuntu server. That’s why anything happens.

      Proceed as follows:

      Once you’ve access to your server, via ssh or vbox window, type (no quotes):

      $ sudo mount /media/cdrom /mnt
      $ cd /mnt
      $ sudo ./

      of course, after installing all the stuff explained above.

  3. B says:

    Step 6, took me a long time to do. It was unclear that I was changing the settings in the Virtualbox and not in Ubuntu. The caption clarified where I should be looking, while the image of Ubuntu seemed to suggest I need to look in the Ubuntu settings somewhere…

  4. Carlos says:

    Works 100% thanks for share

  5. Jeremy says:

    Rather than a prompt to run the installer, it opened a folder with the contents of the disc. Which file do I need to run, and how?

  6. Alla says:

    Never mind. The video memory was set too low and it could not boot. Interesting that it was booting before I installed Guest additions. Fixed now. Thank you for the excellent post!

  7. Alla says:


    After following the steps here my Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS is not booting. I get an empty purple screen, and applications do not show up. I removed the Guest additions from the settings->storage->Controller:IDE and mounted the Ubuntu 18.04.2 ISO image instead, but it did not help. Any ideas how to fix this?

  8. Max says:

    Thank you for this. I don’t understand why the virtualbox team doesn’t provide these kind of information in their guest additions cds…

    though, the install of Linux headers using linux-headers-$(uname -r) didn’t worked for me. That was OK though, because i apparently had them installed already.

  9. Andiee says:

    Hi, thanks for this instruction! Just wondering if there is anyway to uninstall this guest additions. My computer suddenly lost power in the middle of the installation and I think it is now installed incorrectly on my VM and I would like to try again.


  10. Anon Anon says:

    Thank you for this detailed post.

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