How to Install VirtualBox Guest Additions on Debian 10 Linux

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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.

This article explains how to install VirtualBox Guest Additions on Debian 10 guests.

Installing Guest Additions on Debian Guest

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

Follow the steps below to install VirtualBox guest additions on Debian desktop or server guest.

  1. Open the VirtualBox GUI Manager.

  2. Start the Debian guest virtual machine.

  3. Log in to the guest machine as root or sudo user, and install the packages required for building kernel modules:

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

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

  4. 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 machine settings. Go to the “Storage” tab and add a new CD-ROM device by clicking on the plus sign (Adds optical device). Once done reboot the virtual machine.

  5. Open the Debian guest terminal, create a new directory, and mount the ISO file:

    sudo mkdir -p /mnt/cdromsudo mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom
  6. Navigate to the directory and execute the VBoxLinuxAdditions.run script to install the Guest Additions:

    cd /mnt/cdromsudo sh ./VBoxLinuxAdditions.run --nox11

    The --nox11 option tells the installer not to spawn an xterm window.

    The output will look like below:

    Verifying archive integrity... All good.
    Uncompressing VirtualBox 6.0.16 Guest Additions for Linux........
    ...
    ...
    VirtualBox Guest Additions: Starting.
  7. Reboot the Debian guest for changes to take effect:

    sudo shutdown -r now
  8. 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             348160  2 vboxsf

    If the command doesn’t return any output, it means that the VirtualBox kernel module is not loaded.

That’s it. You have installed VirtualBox Guest Additions on your Debian guest machine.

You can now 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 improves the performance of the virtual machine and enhances its 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.