VBoxHeadless - Running Virtual Machines With VirtualBox 4.0 On A Headless Ubuntu 10.10 Server - Page 2

4 Connecting To A VM From A Remote Desktop

4.1 Windows XP

You can use the built-in Remote Desktop Connection utility to connect to the VM:

Type in the hostname or IP address of the host (not the guest!):

And voilà, you should be connected to the VM:


4.2 Linux

On Linux desktops, you can use the rdesktop command to connect to the VM. Open a terminal (on Ubuntu, for example, it's under Applications > Accessories > Terminal)...

... and type in the following command:

rdesktop -a 16

( is the host IP address, not the one of the guest - replace it with your own IP address or hostname; -a 16 means 16 bit colour depth.)

And voilà, you should be connected to the VM:


4.3 If The Remote Desktop Connection Doesn't Work...

If the remote desktop connection doesn't work, you've probably missed the step where I install the VirtualBox extension pack in chapter 2. Please install the extension pack now, stop your virtual machine (see chapter 3.3), and modify your virtual machine to accept remote desktop connections:

VBoxManage modifyvm "Ubuntu 10.10 Server" --vrde on

(If the extension pack is already installed when you create your virtual machine, remote desktop connections are automatically enabled.)

Then start your virtual machine again.


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9 Comment(s)

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By: Alexius Diakogiannis

Hi, great job but there is a problem

 If you wish to use  VBox as a vmware alternative then your main problem is that when you will connect to the host machine through ssh and start the VM's, these will stop working as soon as you close your SSH connection (at least in Ubuntu 9.10 that I did my last test). That is because the proccess that is initiated is binded to my SSH sessio. Is there a work around on that to make it a true vmware alternative?


Actually you can get around that issue by using nohup together with & on VBoxHeadless


 nohup VBoxHeadless --startvm "vmname" --vrdp=config &

 Even when your ssh session has ended the VBoxHeadless process will carry on. If you want to start the VM when it boots you can include the above code in a .sh file and change the permissions as 775. Then using crontab -e and enter the following

@reboot /home/janantha/vboxkickstart.sh


By: K_light

I tried your method ubuntugeek2010 but mine won't run at boot :(



Had exactly the same error come up myself just now.

It seems that if VirtualBox is running more than one VM it must be given a specified port.

If nothing is set, by default the port of the first VM host fired up will be TCP port 3389.

e.g. to set a VM to use port 3390

VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" --vrdeport 3390

Then fire up the VM as normal:

 VBoxHeadless --startvm "VM name" &
Oracle VM VirtualBox Headless Interface 4.0.2
(C) 2008-2011 Oracle Corporation
All rights reserved.

VRDE server is listening on port 3390.

Other VM's will need a different port.

HTH, as there were hardly any results when googling that error.

By: Anonymous

Thanks for the solution, it worked. I only have one add to the explanation, the cause of this problem is probably not because you may be running more than one VM, but, in windows, it mainly occurs because the OS has its own rdm server running on port 3389.

By: Anonymous

VM in Headless servers would be useful when we can start and shutdown the VM as part of the OS. The need to log-in into the host (even SSH) make this more like an application rather than a service. (I have seen some hacks to start the VM along with the system but that was not straight forward. Shutting down VM along with the host might be even more complex.). Hopefully in a future version VBox will start and shutdown along with (some of) the Virtual machines automatically (like apache).

By: Anonymous

It's a simple bash script away! Take any of the scripts in /etc/init.d and modify it to launch and stop vbox. Mine suspends the VM at host shutdown, but I added an option to gracefully shutdown the guest.

By: schtebo

for rdp you have to install extension pack in virtualbox 4.0. 

VBoxManage extpack install Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack-4.0.0-69151.vbox-extpack

By: Jarod Liu

sudo VBoxManage extpack install Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack-4.0.2-69518.vbox-extpack
VBoxManage modifyvm "WinXP" --vrde on
VBoxHeadless --startvm "WinXP"
Oracle VM VirtualBox Headless Interface 4.0.2
(C) 2008-2011 Oracle Corporation
All rights reserved.
VRDE server failed to start.
VRDE server is inactive.
I've no idea what's wrong. please give me some hint to hunt the problem.