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Troubleshooting VirtualBox: Error Message When Starting a Virtual Machine on Ubuntu

Ubuntu 20

In this article, we will delve into the common error message users may encounter when starting a virtual machine on Ubuntu using VirtualBox. We will provide a step-by-step guide on how to troubleshoot and resolve these issues.

Introduction

VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise and home use. It is a versatile tool that allows you to run multiple operating systems simultaneously on your Ubuntu machine. However, like any software, it can sometimes run into problems. One common issue is receiving an error message when trying to start a virtual machine.

Common Error Message

The error message typically reads: “Failed to open a session for the virtual machine Windows XP. The virtual machine ‘Windows XP’ has terminated unexpectedly during startup with exit code 1”. This error can occur due to a variety of reasons, such as missing packages, outdated software, or conflicting software.

Troubleshooting Steps

1. Install the virtualbox-dkms package and execute ‘modprobe vboxdrv’ as root:

The virtualbox-dkms package is a set of kernel modules for VirtualBox. The modprobe vboxdrv command loads the vboxdrv module into the kernel. To install the package and load the module, open a terminal and run the following commands:

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-dkms
sudo modprobe vboxdrv

After executing these commands, restart VirtualBox and try starting the virtual machine again.

2. Check if the kernel headers are installed:

Kernel headers are needed to compile the VirtualBox driver. To check if they are installed, run the command dpkg -l | grep virtual in the terminal. This command lists all installed packages related to VirtualBox.

If the virtualbox-dkms package is not installed, install it using the command:

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-dkms

If the kernel headers are missing, install them using the command:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)

Again, restart VirtualBox and try starting the virtual machine.

3. Reinstall VirtualBox:

Sometimes, reinstalling VirtualBox can resolve the issue. To do this, completely remove VirtualBox using the command:

sudo apt-get purge virtualbox virtualbox-dkms virtualbox-ose-qt virtualbox-qt

Then, reinstall VirtualBox using the command:

sudo apt-get install virtualbox virtualbox-dkms virtualbox-ose-qt virtualbox-qt

4. Update VirtualBox:

Keeping your software up-to-date is always a good practice. Check if there is a newer version of VirtualBox available. If so, update VirtualBox to the latest version using the package manager or by downloading it from the official VirtualBox website.

5. Check for conflicting software:

Make sure there are no other virtualization software or conflicting kernel modules installed on your system. Uninstall any conflicting software and try starting the virtual machine again.

Analyzing VirtualBox Logs

If none of the above solutions work, you can check the VirtualBox logs for more detailed error messages. The log file can be found at /var/log/vbox-install.log or /var/log/vbox.log. Analyzing the log file may provide more insights into the issue.

Conclusion

Troubleshooting VirtualBox errors can be a complex task, but with the right approach and understanding of the system, it can be made simpler. It is recommended to keep your Ubuntu system and VirtualBox up-to-date with the latest updates and patches to avoid compatibility issues. If you continue to face issues, consider seeking help from the VirtualBox community.

What should I do if I encounter the “Failed to open a session for the virtual machine” error message?

You can try installing the virtualbox-dkms package and executing modprobe vboxdrv as root. This can be done by running the following commands in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-dkms
sudo modprobe vboxdrv

Afterwards, restart VirtualBox and try starting the virtual machine again.

How can I check if the kernel headers are installed?

To check if the kernel headers are installed, you can run the command dpkg -l | grep virtual in the terminal. This command will list all installed packages related to VirtualBox. If the virtualbox-dkms package is not installed, you can install it using the command sudo apt-get install virtualbox-dkms. If the kernel headers are missing, you can install them using the command sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r). Afterwards, restart VirtualBox and try starting the virtual machine again.

How can I reinstall VirtualBox?

To reinstall VirtualBox, you can use the following commands in the terminal:

sudo apt-get purge virtualbox virtualbox-dkms virtualbox-ose-qt virtualbox-qt
sudo apt-get install virtualbox virtualbox-dkms virtualbox-ose-qt virtualbox-qt

After reinstalling, try starting the virtual machine again.

How can I update VirtualBox to the latest version?

To update VirtualBox to the latest version, you can either use the package manager to check for updates and install the newer version, or you can download the latest version from the official VirtualBox website and install it manually.

What should I do if there is conflicting software installed?

If you have other virtualization software or conflicting kernel modules installed on your system, it is recommended to uninstall them. Make sure to remove any conflicting software and then try starting the virtual machine again.

How can I analyze the VirtualBox logs for more information?

If the above solutions don’t work, you can check the VirtualBox logs for more detailed error messages. The log file can be found at /var/log/vbox-install.log or /var/log/vbox.log. Analyzing the log file may provide more insights into the issue.

What should I do if I still face issues after trying the troubleshooting steps?

If you continue to face issues, it is recommended to seek help from the VirtualBox community. They can provide further assistance and guidance based on your specific problem.

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