VirtualBox is an  open-source, cross-platform virtualization software that allows you to  run multiple guest operating systems (virtual machines) simultaneously.

VirtualBox  provides a set of drivers and applications (VirtualBox Guest Additions)  which can be installed in the guest operating system. The Guest  Additions offer several useful functionalities for guest machines such  as shared folders, shared clipboard, mouse pointer integration, better  video support, and more.

In  this tutorial, we will show you how to install VirtualBox Guest  Additions on Ubuntu 18.04 guests. The same instructions apply for Ubuntu  16.04 and any Ubuntu-based distribution, including Linux Mint and  Elementary OS.

Installing Guest Additions on Ubuntu Guest

VirtualBox  ships with an image ISO file called “VBoxGuestAdditions.iso” containing  Guest Additions installers for all supported guest operating systems.  This file is located on the host machine and can be mounted on the guest system using the VirtualBox GUI manager. Once mounted, the  guest additions installer can be used to install the guest additions on  the guest system.

Below are the step-by-step instructions to  install VirtualBox guest additions on Ubuntu guests. These steps will  work on both Ubuntu Desktop and Server guest installations.

  1. Open VirtualBox GUI Manager.
  2. Start the Ubuntu guest virtual machine.

Login to the Ubuntu guest as a sudo user and install the packages required for building external kernel modules:

sudo apt update

$(uname -r) prints the running Kernel version.

From the virtual machine menu, click Devices -> “Insert Guest Additions CD Image” as shown on the image below:

If you get an error saying the  guest system has no CD-ROM, stop the virtual machine, open the virtual  machine settings and from the “Storage” tab, add a new CD-ROM device to  the machine by clicking on the plus sign (Adds optical device). Once  done, reboot the virtual machine.

Open the Ubuntu guest terminal, create a new directory as the mount point for the CD drive and mount the ISO file:

sudo mkdir -p /mnt/cdrom

Navigate to the directory and run the VBoxLinuxAdditions.run script to install the Guest Additions. The --nox11 option will tell the installer not to spawn an xterm window:

cd /mnt/cdrom

The output will look like below:

Verifying archive integrity... All good.
Uncompressing VirtualBox 5.2.32 Guest Additions for Linux........
...
VirtualBox Guest Additions: Starting.

Reboot the Ubuntu guest for changes to take effect:

sudo shutdown -r now

Once  the virtual machine is booted, log into it and verify that the  installation was successful and the kernel module is loaded using the lsmod command:

lsmod | grep vboxguest

The output will look something like this:

vboxguest             303104  2 vboxsf

No output means that the VirtualBox kernel module is not loaded.

Now  that VirtualBox Guest Additions are installed on the Ubuntu guest  machine, you can enable Shared clipboard and Drag’n Drop support from  the virtual machine settings “Storage” tab, Enable 3D acceleration from  the “Display” tab, create Shared folders and more.

Conclusion

Installing  VirtualBox Guest Additions on Ubuntu 18.04 virtual machine is an easy  task. The Guest Additions will optimize the guest operating system for  better performance and enhance usability.

To find more information about the Guest Additions, visit the official VirtualBox Guest Additions documentation page.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.