I'm trying to use FreeBSD on VirtualBox, and everything seems to be working fine.

However, I'm quite annoyed by the default size of VB VM screens.

The BSD console just has a very low resolution and dimensions, and I want to know a way to enlarge it.

(Even if I change the size of the containing window, or fullscreen the VM, the screen always keeps its dimensions...)

  • 1
    Have you installed VirtualBox Add-ons?
    – gronostaj
    May 19, 2013 at 9:47
  • Nope, which ones should I install and how?
    – jcora
    May 19, 2013 at 9:48
  • I'm not sure about BSDs, but you can try the built-in ones. It's somewhere in the VirtualBox menu, when you click that option special ISO with addons will be mounted.
    – gronostaj
    May 19, 2013 at 9:50

4 Answers 4


A solution I use myself is to use ssh to login to the VM from the host.

You can set that up by

  1. enabling sshd in the VM
  2. forward a port to the VM by going to VM settings, then Network, then Adapter ??, then Port Forwarding and entering 'SSH : TCP : : 2222 : : 22'.
    • 2222 can be anything but a port used on the host machine.
    • allows ssh access to the machine only from the host to the VM.
  3. [Optional] Add an entry in your .ssh/config:

    Host VMbla
        Port 2222

You can now login to your VM with ssh VMbla.


If you really want to change the resolution on the console you can use vidcontrol(1) command within the VM. For example:

vidcontrol 80x30

changes the number of rows to 30 in my console (the font stays the same, but the window grows).

See the man page for vidcontrol(1), rc.conf(5) (allscreens_flags) for more information.


You may check this link:
http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/book.html#consoles at section 4.2.3

4.2.3. Changing Console Video Modes

The FreeBSD console default video mode may be adjusted to 1024x768, 1280x1024, or any other size supported by the graphics chip and monitor. To use a different video mode load the VESA module:

# kldload vesa

To determine which video modes are supported by the hardware, use vidcontrol(1). To get a list of supported video modes issue the following:

# vidcontrol -i mode

The output of this command lists the video modes that are supported by the hardware. To select a new video mode, specify the mode using vidcontrol(1) as the root user:

# vidcontrol MODE_279

If the new video mode is acceptable, it can be permanently set on boot by adding it to /etc/rc.conf:


A modern answer to a relatively old question …

FreeBSD on VirtualBox

Before starting the guest:

  • set it to use VBoxSVGA (not VMSVGA).

After starting the guest:

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.