Installing VirtualBox Guest Additions on Ubuntu 17.04 Servers

VirtualBox Guest Additions software allows for better integration between the guest machines and the host computer. When you install VirtualBox guest machine, the first thing you’ll want to do is install its Guest Additions software.

This post is going to show students and new users how to install the guest tools on Ubuntu servers without Ubuntu desktop. Most of the tutorials online will show you how to do it in a desktop environment. Installing the guest tools on Ubuntu desktop is easy.

In fact, VirtualBox automatically launch its installer when you insert the virtual CD of the tools in a desktop environment.

When you’re ready to install the guest tools on Ubuntu server, continue with the steps below:

Step 1: Insert the Guest Additions CD Image

To install the guest tool, start the Ubuntu virtual machine and navigate to Devices –> Insert Guest Additions CD image… as shown in the image below.

Next, logon to server and run the commands below to install these required packages.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gcc make

Step 2: Create a Mount Point for the Image

After installing the packages above, run the commands below to mount the Guest Tools

sudo mkdir -p /media/cdrom
sudo mount /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom

Step 3: Install the Tools

After mounting the image above, all you have to do now is run the commands below to install the tools.

sudo /media/cdrom/

That will get will get the tools installed on your Ubuntu server. Reboot the server and you’re done.

Installing the tools is one thing.. to use the guest machine shared folder feature on Ubuntu server, run the commands below after rebooting the server.

sudo usermod --append --groups vboxsf USERNAME

Replace USERNAME with your account name. Now go to the guest machine settings page to Shared Folders and add the folder you want to mount to the guest machine from the host.

I wasn’t able to get bidirectional copy/paste between the guest machine and host, so i guest that may be one of the features that won’t be available even with the guest tools installed.

The shared folder will be mounted in the /media directory.


This post shows students and new users an easy way to install VirtualBox Guest Additions software on Ubuntu servers. After installing the tools, the guest machine and the host computer should integrate better.


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