I am running an Ubuntu Server (12.0.4-beta2; kernel 3.2.0) in VirtualBox (host is Win7) and I want to use shared folders. I've followed the manual to set up vbox guest additions http://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch04.html#idp5801200 but this error occurs with every startup:

Starting the VirtualBox Guest Additions ...fail!
(modprobe vboxguest failed)
Starting VirtualBox Guest Addition service VirtualBox Additions module not loaded!

When I try it myself:

$ modprobe vboxguest
FATAL: Module vboxguest not found.

Did I do something wrong, what do I need to fix it? Thanks for help.

  • Put some kmesg on pastebin and post the link? – billc.cn Apr 15 '12 at 1:25
  • Thanks. How do I do this? cat /proc/kmsg doesn't write anything. – A123321 Apr 15 '12 at 9:56
  • Sorry, it should be sudo dmesg > file.log – billc.cn Apr 15 '12 at 9:58
  • Here it is pastebin.com/TNvh9cNQ – A123321 Apr 16 '12 at 10:44

I had this problem today, and solved it by installing the kernel-headers

yum install dkms binutils gcc make patch libgomp glibc-headers glibc-devel kernel-headers 


yum install kernel-devel


yum install kernel-PAE-devel

Then re-run VBoxLinuxAdditions.run.

  • For people coming across this in the future, this did the trick perfectly for me on a fresh install of CentOS 6.2 – AndyPerfect May 16 '12 at 23:25
  • 1
    This works because VBoxLinuxAdditions.run compiles the VirtualBox kernel modules, but doesn't quite mention this when it fails. – Piskvor left the building Feb 27 '14 at 16:10
  • 2
    Aaargh. Why do I always forget this... for Debian / Ubuntu this would be apt install gcc make linux-headers-amd64 - enjoy. – dualed Jun 2 '17 at 16:57
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    THis doesn't work for me. Is there some other undocumented step required now in 2017? – MidnightJava Aug 8 '17 at 1:26

I discovered here that the standard guest additions install includes a built-in setup function, so there's no need to reinstall:

/etc/init.d/vboxadd setup

This gave me the error about missing kernel sources, so as brendan's answer, yum install kernel-devel, and then that setup command works, and everything seems to be back to normal again!


I had a similar problem today, but it turns out the vagrant-vbguest plugin was not installed. So, in the folder with my Vagrantfile:

vagrant plugin install vagrant-vbguest

That solved it for me.


Had the same problem on a Debian guest. Based on dualed's answer:

  1. Find out your kernel architecture, i.e.:

    $ uname -r  
  2. Install make and the kernel headers (replace "686" with your architecture: "amd64", "686-pae",...):

    $ sudo apt install make linux-headers-686
  3. Finally, install the Guest Additions:

    $ sudo sh ./VBoxLinuxAdditions.run

on Centos 8, first run

sudo yum install elfutils-libelf-devel
  • 1
    Can you explain why the OP should run these commands first? Please see How to Answer and take our tour to learn how to improve your answer. – Burgi Oct 9 '19 at 11:37

When installing from an ISO that has had point fixes made to it, the kernel-devel headers will most likely be a newer version than the kernel that shipped with the ISO.

You need to make sure everything is up to date and in lockstep.

What worked for me on a CentOS 8 install was the following:

  1. sudo yum update
  2. sudo yum install binutils gcc make patch libgomp glibc-headers glibc-devel elfutils-libelf-devel kernel-headers kernel-devel
  3. sudo reboot
  4. Insert VBox Guest Additions again

I've found this and sort everything out!:

yum install kernel-uek-headers-$(uname -r)

yum install kernel-uek-devel-$(uname -r)

it's intall what VBoxLinuxAdditions.run needs.

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