How To 

How do I install VirtualBox Guest Additions on Linux Mint?

What is VirtualBox? VirtualBox is a virtualization software that allows one to run an operating system while simultaneously running their main operating system. Simply said, you can have Linux Mint running at the same time on your Windows 7 desktop. This is not to be confused with dual booting, which involves having both operating systems installed on the system, and only having one operating system running at once. The OS is generally virtualized (or simply emulated), and is called the guest. The host machine, the OS that you are using to run VirtualBox, emulates the guest machine. This setup is used to concurrent run two or more operating systems without having to switch between computers or operating systems on the same system.

What is VirtualBox Guest Additions? VirtualBox Guest Additions is extra software that can be installed inside the OS running inside of the virtual machine,at or the guest machine. While VirtualBox generally does a good job of running the guest OS, it has some limitations. VirtualBox Guest Additions is software that makes up for those deficiencies and adds additional integration features, such as the infamous Seamless mode offered by VirtualBox. Even Windows Aero works nicely on Linux, thanks to VirtualBox Guest Additions!

That said, let's get started!

We need the following:

  • VirtualBox, latest version. You can get the latest release here.
    Fresh install of Linux Mint, any version (we recommend latest), inside the guest machine. Any install configuration will work as long as it is a fresh install, and Linux Mint can boot.
    A graphics card capable of handling some graphical effects, plus any features for any software that will be run on Linux Mint. Since the support depends on your hardware, poor graphics hardware will not be able to handle graphical effects on Cinnamon (the desktop).

Important note: Although effects may work, it's quite possible that other 3D apps may not work, and even crash the guest virtual machine. Your mileage may vary!

That said, let's get started!

(Note: The screenshots below were taken on Linux. Things should be pretty much the same as on other operating systems, but there may be slight differences depending on your software and hardware configuration.)

1) Boot up your guest virtual machine.
Boot up your guest virtual machine to the desktop.

2) In the VirtualBox menu, click Devices > Insert Guest Additions CD image....

3) In a moment, a box should pop up asking you about the VirtualBox Guest Additions CD. Click Cancel.

4) Double click on the CD icon on your desktop. It should be labeled VBOXADDITIONS_X.X.X_YYYYY, where X and Y are numbers.

5) Right click inside the file manager window, and click Open in Terminal.

6) You should now have an open terminal.

Type sudo apt-get purge virtualbox* (with the asterik). Your terminal should look somewhat like this:

Once you've typed the command in, press ENTER.

7) You will likely be asked for a password. Enter your password here. Note that your actual account password is the "administrator" password.
Once done, press ENTER. If you didn't enter it correctly, try again.

8) Once done, your terminal should show something like this:

Simply press y and then ENTER. After a few moments, the uninstallation will complete. The result should look like this:

9) Type clear in. Your terminal should look like this:

Then press ENTER. Now your terminal should look like this:

10) Type sudo bash ./ Your terminal should look like this:

Once you've typed the command in, press ENTER. Allow the installation to take place. Depending on your computer speed, this may take a few minutes to complete.

Once the installation is complete, your terminal should look like this:

11) Now type in exit. Your terminal should look like this:

Once you've type the command in, press ENTER. The terminal window should now close.

12) Move your mouse over to the CD eject button, and click it.

Your window should now look like this:

13) Click the Menu button on the bottom-left corner of your screen. Then click the Quit button.

The shutdown window should now open. Click Shut Down.

14) The guest virtual machine should now be closed (turned off). Open the settings for the virtual machine. Under the Display category, make the following changes:

  • ■Ensure that the video memory is at least 128 MBs, if not more. We chose 256 MBs, the max. You can adjust based on your usage.
    ■Check the box labeled Enable 3D Acceleration.

15) Turn on the guest virtual machine again. If you are running Cinnamon on Linux Mint (default desktop), you should no longer see the warning message about "software compositing".

16) Just to verify: open a terminal from the quick icons on the botton-left corner of the screen.

17) Type in dmesg | egrep -i 'virtualbox|vbox' - including the symbols and the single quotes!

If you can see references of Virtualbox (as highlighted below), your installation was successful!

Your Linux Mint is now ready to go! Hopefully you learned a bit from this tutorial, and enjoy your VirtualBox Guest Addition enhanced Linux Mint!