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VirtualBox is a virtual PC emulator like VMware. It is in constant development and new features are implemented all the time. e.g. version 2.2 introduced OpenGL 3D acceleration support for Linux and Solaris guests. It has a Qt GUI interface, as well as headless and SDL command line tools for managing and running virtual machines. It includes guest additions for some guest operating systems, which integrate functions of the guest and host systems, including sharing files, the clipboard, video acceleration and a “seamless” window integration mode.
- 1 Installation on host
- 2 Setup
- 3 Arch Linux guests
- 4 Shared Folders as Arch Linux Guest
- 5 Troubleshooting
- 6 External links
Installation on host
The basic GPL-licensed VirtualBox suite can be installed with the package, found in the official repositories. Note that this will also install , which contains the precompiled modules for the stock archlinux kernel. For custom kernels, read the section below.
In order to use the graphical interface, based on Qt (
VirtualBox command), you will also need to install the package. This is not required for the simpler SDL-only GUI (
VBoxSDL command) nor for the
If you are using thekernel you should install also the package.
Hosts running a custom kernel
VirtualBox works just fine with custom kernels such as Linux-ck without the need to keep any of the official ARCH kernel packages on the system. The trick to keeping pacman from bringing down the ARCH kernel packages is to install virtualbox with the package, which contains the source for the virtualbox kernel modules. See FS#26721 for further explanations.
Onceis installed, simply generate the kernel modules for your custom kernel by running (assuming the system is booted into the custom kernel):
and load it:
# modprobe vboxdrv
Automatic re-compilation of the virtualbox modules with every kernel update
This is possible thanks to AUR. In virtualbox-hook, the 'automatic re-compilation' functionality is done by a vbox hook on mkinitcpio after forcing to update the linux-headers package. You will need to add 'vbox' to the HOOKS array in /etc/mkinitcpio.conf as well as 'linux-headers' and your custom kernel(s) headers to the SyncFirst array in /etc/pacman.conf for this to work.AUR from the
The hook will call the vboxbuild command to update the virtualbox modules for the version of your new kernel.
Add the desired username to the vboxusers group. Everything may work fine without this step but shared folders and possibly some other optional stuff require it to work. The new group does not automatically apply to existing sessions; the user has to log in again or start a new environment with a command like
sudo -u username -s.
# gpasswd -a username vboxusers
VirtualBox running on Linux uses its own kernel modules, including a mandatory one called vboxdrv, which must be loaded before virtual machines can run. It can be automatically loaded when Arch Linux starts up, or it can be loaded manually when necessary.
To load the VirtualBox driver at startup, edit
/etc/rc.conf and add
vboxdrv to the
To load the module manually:
# modprobe vboxdrv
To start the VirtualBox graphical manager:
Guest additions disc
virtualbox package also suggests installing on the host (Arch Linux) running VirtualBox. It is a disc image that can be used to install the guest additions onto guest systems.
Booting a live disc
Click the 'New' button to create a new virtual environment. Name it appropriately and select Operating System type and version. Select base memory size (note: most operating systems will need at least 512MB to function properly). Create a new hard disk image (a hard disk image is a file that will contain the operating system's filesystem and files).
When the new image has been created, click 'Settings', then CD/DVD-ROM, check 'Mount CD/DVD Drive' then select an ISO image.
See VirtualBox Extras for advanced configuration.
Arch Linux guests
Installing Arch under VirtualBox is straightforward, and additions should be installed through pacman (not through "Install Guest Additions" in VirtualBox, or a mounted ISO.) Follow these instructions after doing a basic install of the X-window system found on the Beginners' Guide.
Guest additions package
Manually load the VirtualBox modules with
# modprobe -a vboxguest vboxsf vboxvideo
To autostart these modules each time you boot, you can add the three modules above to the MODULES array in /etc/rc.conf.
MODULES=(... vboxguest vboxsf vboxvideo)
The VBoxClient contain these services(
/usr/bin/VBoxClient-all) (copy/paste...) :
--clipboard start the shared clipboard service --display start the display management service --checkhostversion start the host version notifier service --seamless start the seamless windows service
So you can Enable VBoxClient-all to start all these services.
If you are running something that launches
/etc/xdg/autostart/vboxclient.desktop, such as GNOME, then you should be ready to go. If you use
.xinitrc to launch things instead, you must add
.xinitrc before launching your WM.
You should now be all set, and all guest additions should work properly.
Shared folders are managed via the VirtualBox program on the host. They may be added, auto-mounted and made read-only from there. Creating a shared folder from the VirtualBox program in the host locates that folder in
/media/sf_SHAREDFOLDERNAME. At this time an additional step is needed to have that folder created in the Arch Guest because Arch use a package for Guest Additions. To create and access this shared folder from the Arch Guest, this must also be done at the command line after installing the Guest Additions package(s) from pacman:
# groupadd vboxsf # gpasswd -a $USER vboxsf
If you wish, a symbolic link may be made to another folder in your home directory for easy access. As an example, if a shared folder named "Dropbox" was created in the VirtualBox program on the host machine, then /media/sf_Dropbox is automatically created in the guest so this could be done:
$ ln -s /media/sf_Dropbox/* ~/dropbox
The .run script provided in the Guest Additions iso does this for you, however, Arch does not recommend using that script so this step must be done manually. The instructions for it were found here: (pastebin: ) .
If shared folders are not auto-mounted, try manually mount or read the next section.
Synchronise guest date with host
To keep sync date add the following to the guest /etc/rc.conf in DAEMONS entry:
DAEMONS=(... vbox-service ...)
You also need run this daemon in order to use auto-mounting feature of shared folders that are mentioned above.
USB subsystem is not working on the host
Sometimes the usb subsystem is not auto-detected resulting in an error, even when the user is in the vboxusers group. See this topic  for details.
Adding an entry in
/etc/fstab should resolve this issue:
none /proc/bus/usb usbfs auto,busgid=108,busmode=0775,devgid=108,devmode=664 0 0
Failed to create the host-only network interface
It's needed to load kernel module
vboxnetadp in case of creating Host-Only Network adapter.
It's possible to load this kernel module manually with
# modprobe vboxnetadp
vboxnetadp into MODULES array in
/etc/rc.conf when it's needed to load module at boot
More information in this  topic.
WinXP: Bit-depth cannot be greater than 16
If you are running at 16-bit color depth, then the icons may appear fuzzy/choppy. To fix this, run
regedit add the following key to the Virtual Windows XP:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\Terminal Services] "ColorDepth"=dword:00000004
Then update the color depth in the desktop properties window. If nothing happens, force the screen to redraw through some method (i.e. Template:Keypress to redraw/enter full screen)