Installing VirtualBox 3.1 On An Ubuntu 9.10 Desktop

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme
Follow me on Twitter

This tutorial shows how you can install Sun xVM VirtualBox 3.1 on an Ubuntu 9.10 desktop. With VirtualBox you can create and run guest operating systems ("virtual machines") such as Linux and Windows under a host operating system. There are two ways of installing VirtualBox: from precompiled binaries that are available for some distributions and come under the PUEL license, and from the sources that are released under the GPL. This article will show how to set up VirtualBox 3.1 from the precompiled binaries.

As of version 2.0 VirtualBox supports 32 and 64bit host and guest operating systems (if you want to install 64bit guests your processor must support hardware virtualization and, of course, the host operating system must be 64bit as well).

This document comes without warranty of any kind! I want to say that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


Installing VirtualBox From Precompiled Binaries

First open a terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal):

Open /etc/apt/sources.list...

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

... and add the VirtualBox repository to it:

deb karmic non-free

Then add the public key of the VirtualBox repository to your system...

wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -

... and update the package database:

sudo aptitude update

Afterwards you can install VirtualBox 3.1 as follows:

sudo aptitude install virtualbox-3.1 dkms

(The dkms package ensures that the VirtualBox host kernel modules are properly updated if the Linux kernel version changes.)

During the installation, you will see the following screen:

Select <Yes> when you are asked Should the vboxdrv kernel module be compiled now?:

That's it! VirtualBox is installed now.

To start VirtualBox, go to Applications > System Tools > Sun VirtualBox (if you don't see the VirtualBox launcher, log out of the desktop and back in again):

When you start VirtualBox for the first time, you are prompted to accept its license:

Afterwards, you can register your VirtualBox installation. You can click on Cancel if you don't want to do this (VirtualBox will work nonetheless).

That's it! You can now use VirtualBox to create virtual machines:


Share this page:

Suggested articles

8 Comment(s)

Add comment


By: maxxer

To get USB working, you must add the following to /etc/fstab

#VirtualBox USB - 122 is the gid of vboxusers group
none /proc/bus/usb usbfs devgid=122,devmode=664 0 0


and make sure your user is in the vboxusers group

By: nathan

The vboxusers ID can be different than listed above,  first open terminal and:

grep vboxusers /etc/group

#vboxusers:x:125:nathan -- was my vboxusers ID

By: djv

for enable usb on my winxp guest i had to add my user in

vboxusers and lp group:

adduser <your user> lp

adduser <your user>  vboxusers


reboot and solved

note: my sunvirtualbox is on a ubuntu 9.10 64bit

By: Faris


I tried  this installation procedure and I have this error

E: Malformed line 54 in source list /etc/apt/sources.list (dist)

How can I solve this problem?



By: Jacob

I'm new to Ubuntu and was messing around and got this problem.  Try using this line at the end of the source list instead of the one given.  It worked for me

deb karmic non-free 

By: jack343a



I tried to use that way. However, in the second screenshot that we are supposed to say "yes", there isn't such an option and I only see <OK>, but this button doesn't work either! what can I do? How can I fix that problem??


Thanks in advance. 


By: Moiz


 I have both Windows 7 and Ubuntu installed. I have installed Virtualbox on Windows 7. Is there anyway I can access Ubuntu from Virtualbox. I do not want to install new Ubuntu on virtualbox. I want to use the existing Ubuntu.


Appreciate any help.


By: joe

Works great thanks!