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Install Guest Additions to Windows and Linux VMs in VirtualBox

VirtualBox from Sun is a great free virtual machine that lets you run multiple operating systems on your PC.  Today we take a look at installing the Guest Additions feature which provides enhanced performance of the guest operating system.

Note:  For this article we are using version 3.0.2 on a Windows 7 (32-bit) guest OS.

Install Guest Additions for Windows

Guest Additions installs on the guest system and includes device drivers and system applications that optimize performance of the machine.  Launch the guest OS in VirtualBox and click on Devices and Install Guest Additions.

1 menu

The AutoPlay window opens on the guest OS and click on the Run VBox Windows Additions executable.

2 autoplay

Click yes when the UAC screen comes up.

3 UAC

Now simply follow through the installation wizard.

4 install Wizard

During the installation wizard you can choose the Direct3D acceleration if you would like it.  Remember this is going to take up more of your Host OS’s resources and is still experimental possibly making the guest unstable.

5 install 3d support

When the installation starts you will need to allow the Sun display adapters to be installed.

6 confirm

After everything has completed a reboot is required.

7 reboot required

Install Guest Additions for Ubuntu

Note:  For this section we are using version 3.0.2 on Ubuntu 8.10 (32-bit) version.

If you have Ubuntu running in a virtual machine installing the Guest Additions is easy as well.  With the Ubuntu virtual machine running click on Devices and Install Guest Additions.

8linux

This will mount the ISO and show an icon on the desktop and give you the following message box where you just click Run.

9run

Enter in your admin password and click OK.

10pw

Next you will see the installation taking place and when done you’ll prompted to click on Enter.

11installed

A Reboot of the guest OS is required to complete the installation.

12restart

Command Line Installation

If the above process doesn’t work or you want to use the command line to install Guest Additions then first open up a Terminal session.

14term

Now type in the following commands.

cd /media/cdrom

ls

sudo ./VBoxLinuxAdditions-x86.run

15cmd

Again a restart of Ubuntu is required from the GUI or type in “sudo reboot” (without quotes) in the command line.

12restart 

There are a lot of cool features included with the Guest Additions such as clipboard and folder sharing, better video support, and mouse pointer integration which lets you navigate in the guest OS without having it capture the pointer. 

Related VirtualBox articles:

Try Out a New Operating System the Easy Way with VirtualBox

Use VirtualBox to Test Linux on Your Windows PC

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/27/09

Comments (2)

  1. x@x.org

    hi, i dunno how old this article is but you might want also to feature seamless virtualization with VirtualBox 2.x.

    i am using XP and have installed VirtualBox 2.x running ubuntu 9.04 and have use seamless integration.

    now my XP desktop looks like a mix of XP and gnome! very cool.

  2. Jeffs3rd

    It’s funny, I just had to do this very thing on Friday.

    Received a new Macbook Pro last week and unfortunately still have some windows only functions that I need to use. Instead of paying for Parallels or VMWare fusion, I am giving the free VirtualBox a try. So far no complaints.

    The toughest part was finding the ISO to mount, after that the install was a breeze.

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