How to Fix VboxClient Fail to Start Error on Ubuntu VirtalBox Guest Machines

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If you upgrade to VirtualBox 5.2 virtualization software, you may likely see an error that reads “VboxClient: VboxClient (seamless) fail to start. Stage: Setting guest IRQ” when you logon to a new Ubuntu 16.04 | 17.10 | 18.04 virtual guest machine.

If you run into that issue, the steps below should be a great place to start to help  you resolve that problem.

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to resolve VirtualBox guest machine error where the guest machine is unable to integrate properly with the host machine.

When you’re ready, continue below

Step 1: Prepare Ubuntu Guest Machine

Normally after installing Ubuntu guest machines on VirtualBox host, your first task will be to install VirtualBox Guest Additions Tools. Guest Addition Software is a suite of utilities that enhances the virtual machine’s operating systems and improves the management of the machine.

Below is the screenshot of the error you’ll get when you logon to Ubuntu guest machine installed on the new VirtualBox 5.2 host software.

ubuntu virtualbox tools

In this case, installing the tools won’t help. so before installing the tool, run the commands below to install required packages for Ubuntu guest machines.

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

After run the above commands, reboot your system and log back in.

Step 2: Installing VirtualBox Guest Addition Software

After installing the packages above, restart and continue installing the Guest Additions Tool…

To install VirtualBox Guest Additions software on Ubuntu virtual machine operating systems, select the Devices from VirtualBox host application menu and click Insert Guest Additions CD image…

VirtualBox guest additions

This should mount a virtual CD/DVD drive inside the Ubuntu guest machine. When that happens, you should get a prompt to run the software. Click Run to begin the installation.

virtualbox guest addition

You will have to type your password to install the software. If your account is not an administrative account, the installation will fail.

The Guest Additions suite of utilities is the official tools for VirtualBox virtual guest machines…

Restart the guest machine and you’re set.

To enable copying and pasting between the guest machine and the host, go to the guest machines settings page (General –> Advanced) and enable it as shown below


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  1. Ubuntu 17.10 stopped after execution of these steps…

  2. Sorry, didn’t change anything for my 16.04.3 guest…

  3. this is not working on Ubuntu 17.10 with guest addition 5.2.12

  4. Thanks! Installing dkms fixed the issue for me.

  5. Installing dkms and reinstalling VirtualBox Guest Addition Software fixed the issue for me.

  6. Thanks, it fixed unbootable VM with Ubuntu 18.10

  7. Muchas gracias, para mi caso si fue de ayuda en Ubuntu 20.04

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