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vagrant-vbguest is a Vagrant plugin which automatically installs the host's VirtualBox Guest Additions on the guest system.

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Requires vagrant 1.3 or later

Vagrant ≥ 1.3

$ vagrant plugin install vagrant-vbguest

Configuration / Usage

If you're lucky, vagrant-vbguest does not require any configuration. However, here is an example of Vagrantfile: do |config|
  # we will try to autodetect this path. 
  # However, if we cannot or you have a special one you may pass it like:
  # config.vbguest.iso_path = "#{ENV['HOME']}/Downloads/VBoxGuestAdditions.iso"
  # or an URL:
  # config.vbguest.iso_path = "http://company.server/VirtualBox/%{version}/VBoxGuestAdditions.iso"
  # or relative to the Vagrantfile:
  # config.vbguest.iso_path = "../relative/path/to/VBoxGuestAdditions.iso"
  # set auto_update to false, if you do NOT want to check the correct 
  # additions version when booting this machine
  config.vbguest.auto_update = false
  # do NOT download the iso file from a webserver
  config.vbguest.no_remote = true

Config options

  • iso_path : The full path or URL to the VBoxGuestAdditions.iso file.
    The iso_path may contain the optional placeholder %{version} replaced with detected VirtualBox version (e.g. 4.1.8). Relative paths are tricky, try to use an absolute path where possible. If not, the path is relative to the current working directory, that is where the vagrant command is issued. You can make sure to always be relative to the Vagrantfile with a little bit of ruby: File.expand_path("../relative/path/to/VBoxGuestAdditions.iso", __FILE__) The default URI for the actual iso download is:{version}/VBoxGuestAdditions_%{version}.iso
    vbguest will try to autodetect the best option for your system. WTF? see below.
  • iso_upload_path (String, default: /tmp): A writeable directory where to put the VBoxGuestAdditions.iso file on the guest system.
  • iso_mount_point (String, default: /mnt): Where to mount the VBoxGuestAdditions.iso file on the guest system.
  • auto_update (Boolean, default: true) : Whether to check the correct additions version on each start (where start is not resuming a box).
  • auto_reboot (Boolean, default: true when running as a middleware, false when running as a command) : Whether to reboot the box after GuestAdditions has been installed, but not loaded.
  • allow_downgrade (Boolean, default: true) : Allow to install an older version of Guest Additions onto the guest. (Eg. your are running a host with VirtualBox 5 and the box is already on 6).
  • no_install (Boolean, default: false) : Whether to check the correct additions version only. This will warn you about version mis-matches, but will not try to install anything.
  • no_remote (Boolean, default: false) : Whether to not download the iso file from a remote location. This includes any http location!
  • installer (VagrantVbguest::Installers::Base, optional) : Reference to a (custom) installer class
  • installer_arguments (Array, default: ['--nox11']) : List of additional arguments to pass to the installer. eg: %w{--nox11 --force} would execute install --nox11 --force
  • installer_options (Hash, default: {}) : Configure how a Installer internally works. Should be set on a vm level.
  • installer_hooks (Hash, default: {}) : Configure scripts to be run before/after installer steps.
  • yes (Boolean or String, default: true): Wheter to pipe yes to the installer. If true, executes yes | install. With false, the command is executed without yes. You can also put in a string here for yes (e.g. no to refuse all messages)

Installer Specific Options (installer_options)

Those settings are specific for OS-specific installer. Especially in a multi-box environment, you should put those options on the box configuration like this:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.define "my_cent_os_box" do |c| = "centos/8"
    c.vbguest.installer_options = { allow_kernel_upgrade: true }

Note that box-specific settings overwrite earlier settings:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vbguest.installer_options = { foo: 1, bar: 2 }

  config.vm.define "a" do |box_config|
    # not setting any `installer_options` will inherit the "global" ones
    # installer_options => { foo: 1, bar: 2 }

  config.vm.define "b" do |box_config|
    # setting any `installer_options` will start from scratch
    box_config.vbguest.installer_options[:zort] = 3 # => { zort: 3 }

  config.vm.define "c" do |box_config|
    # however, you can explicitly merge the global config
    box_config.vbguest.installer_options = config.vbguest.installer_options.merge(zort: 3) # => { foo: 1, bar: 2, zort: 3 }

This option is available on all Linux type installers.

  • :running_kernel_modules (default: ["vboxguest", "vboxsf"]) The list used to check for the "running" state. Each of these modules need to appear at the beginning of a line in /proc/modules.
  • :allow_kernel_upgrade (default: false): If true, instead of trying to find matching the matching kernel-devel package to the installed kernel version, the kernel will be updated and the (now matching) up-to-date kernel-devel will be installed. NOTE: This will trigger a reboot of the box.
  • :reboot_timeout (default: 300): Maximum number of seconds to wait for the box to reboot after a kernel upgrade.
  • :enablerepo: (default: false) Configure yum --enablerepo settings. Possible values are:
    • Single String: "C*-base" converts to --enablerepo=C*-base
    • Array of Strings: ['C*-base', 'C*-updates'] converts to --enablerepo=C*-base --enablerepo=C*-updates
    • true: Enables C${release_version}-base and C${release_version}-updates with release_version read from /etc/centos-release if the repo exists, otherwise *.
    • false: Does not set any --enablerepo

Global Configuration

Using Vagrantfile Load Order you may change default configuration values. Edit (create, if missing) your ~/.vagrant.d/Vagrantfile like this:

For Vagrant >= 1.1.0 use:

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vbguest.auto_update = false

For older versions of Vagrant:

# vagrant's autoloading may not have kicked in
require 'vagrant-vbguest' unless defined? VagrantVbguest::Config
VagrantVbguest::Config.auto_update = false

Settings in a project's Vagrantfile will overwrite those setting. When executed as a command, command line arguments will overwrite all of the above.

Installer Hooks (installer_hooks)

Additionally to the build-in installer_options, you can configure to execute scripts around the install steps install, rebuild and start. Accepts either a single command or and array of commands. Box-specific settings overwrite earlier settings, just like with installer_options.

Use this make changes to the guest, for example to install specific dependencies or tweak the network setup.

  • before_install/after_install: Runs before/after the install step. That is before uploading the iso file into the guest and after unmounting the iso file.
  • before_rebuild/after_rebuild: Runs before/after the installer runs a command to let the GuestAdditions rebuild itself.
  • before_start/after_start: Runs before/after the installer runs a command to start the GuestAdditions service.
Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.define "my_cent_os_box" do |c|
    c.vbguest.installer_hooks[:before_install] = ["yum install -y epel-release", "sleep 1"]

Running as a middleware

Running as a middleware is the default way of using vagrant-vbguest. It will run automatically right after the box started. This is each time the box boots, i.e. vagrant up or vagrant reload. It won't run on vagrant resume (or vagrant up a suspended box) to save you some time resuming a box.

You may switch off the middleware by setting the vm's config vbguest.auto_update to false. This is a per box setting. On multi vm environments you need to set that for each vm.

When vagrant-vbguest is running it will provide you some logs:

[default] Booting VM...
[default] Booting VM...
[default] Waiting for VM to boot. This can take a few minutes.
[default] VM booted and ready for use!
[default] GuestAdditions versions on your host (4.2.6) and guest (4.1.0) do not match.
stdin: is not a tty
Reading package lists...
Building dependency tree...
Reading state information...
The following extra packages will be installed:
  fakeroot linux-headers-2.6.32-33 patch


[default] Copy iso file /Applications/ into the box /tmp/VBoxGuestAdditions.iso
stdin: is not a tty
[default] Installing Virtualbox Guest Additions 4.2.6 - guest version is 4.1.0
stdin: is not a tty
Verifying archive integrity... All good.
Uncompressing VirtualBox 4.2.6 Guest Additions for Linux...........
VirtualBox Guest Additions installer
Removing installed version 4.1.0 of VirtualBox Guest Additions...
tar: Record size = 8 blocks
Removing existing VirtualBox DKMS kernel modules ...done.
Removing existing VirtualBox non-DKMS kernel modules ...done.
Building the VirtualBox Guest Additions kernel modules ...done.
Doing non-kernel setup of the Guest Additions ...done.
You should restart your guest to make sure the new modules are actually used

Installing the Window System drivers!
(Could not find the X.Org or XFree86 Window System.)
stdin: is not a tty
[default] Restarting VM to apply changes...
[default] Attempting graceful shutdown of VM...
[default] Booting VM...
[default] Waiting for VM to boot. This can take a few minutes.
[default] VM booted and ready for use!
[default] Configuring and enabling network interfaces...
[default] Setting host name...
[default] Mounting shared folders...
[default] -- v-root: /vagrant
[default] -- v-csc-1: /tmp/vagrant-chef-1/chef-solo-1/cookbooks
[default] Running provisioner: Vagrant::Provisioners::ChefSolo...
[default] Generating chef JSON and uploading...
[default] Running chef-solo...

The plugin's part starts at [default] Installing Virtualbox Guest Additions 4.1.14 - guest's version is 4.1.1, telling you that:

  • the guest addition of the box default is outdated (or mismatching)
  • which guest additions iso file will be used
  • which installer script will be used
  • all the VirtualBox Guest Additions installer output.

No worries on the Installing the Window System drivers!. Most dev boxes you are using won't run a Window Server, thus it's absolutely safe to ignore that error.

When everything is fine, and no update is needed, you see log like:

[default] Booting VM...
[default] Waiting for VM to boot. This can take a few minutes.
[default] VM booted and ready for use!
[default] GuestAdditions 4.2.6 running --- OK.

Running as a Command

When you switched off the middleware auto update, or you have a box up and running you may also run the installer manually.

$ vagrant vbguest [vm-name] [--do start|rebuild|install] [--status] [-f|--force] [-b|--auto-reboot] [-R|--no-remote] [--iso VBoxGuestAdditions.iso] [--no-cleanup]

For example, when you just updated VirtualBox on your host system, you should update the guest additions right away. However, you may need to reload the box to get the guest additions working.

If you want to check the guest additions version, without installing, you may run:

$ vagrant vbguest --status

Telling you either about a version mismatch:

[default] GuestAdditions versions on your host (4.2.6) and guest (4.1.0) do not match.

or a match:

[default] GuestAdditions 4.2.6 running --- OK.

The auto-reboot is turned off by default when running as a command. Vbguest will suggest you to reboot the box when needed. To turn it on simply pass the --auto-reboot parameter:

$ vagrant vbguest --auto-reboot

You can also pass vagrant's reload options like:

$ vagrant vbguest --auto-reboot --no-provision

When running the install step manually like this: vagrant vbguest --do install, adding --no-cleanup keeps the downloaded, uploaded files and mounted iso in their place. Happy debugging ;)

ISO autodetection

vagrant-vbguest will try to autodetect a VirtualBox GuestAdditions iso file on your system, which usually matches your installed version of VirtualBox. If it cannot find one, it downloads one from the web (
Those places will be checked in order:

  1. Checks your VirtualBox "Virtual Media Manager" for a DVD called "VBoxGuestAdditions.iso"
  2. Guess by your host operating system:
  • for linux : /usr/share/virtualbox/VBoxGuestAdditions.iso
  • for Mac : /Applications/
  • for Windows : %PROGRAMFILES%/Oracle/VirtualBox/VBoxGuestAdditions.iso

Automatic reboot

The VirtualBox GuestAdditions Installer will try to load the newly built kernel module. However the installer may fail to load, just as it is happening when updating GuestAdditions from version 4.1 to 4.2.

Hence, vbguest will check for a loaded kernel module after the installation has finished and reboots the box, if it could not find one.

Advanced Usage

vagrant-vbguest provides installers for generic linux and debian/ubuntu.
Installers take care of the whole installation process, that includes where to save the iso file inside the guest and where to mount it.

class MyInstaller < VagrantVbguest::Installers::Linux

  # use /temp instead of /tmp
  def tmp_path

  # use /media instead of /mnt
  def mount_point

  def install(opts=nil, &block)
    communicate.sudo('my_distos_way_of_preparing_guestadditions_installation', opts, &block)
    # calling `super` will run the installation
    # also it takes care of uploading the right iso file into the box
    # and cleaning up afterward
end do |config|
  config.vbguest.installer = MyInstaller

Extending vbguest (aka Very Advanced Usage)

If you find yourself copying the same installer in each of your vagrant project, it might be a good idea to make it a plugin itself. Like vagrant-vbguest itself, installers can be distributed as ruby gems

This project contains a sample installer gem which might serve as an boilerplate.


Bug reports and pull requests are welcome on GitHub at

For the foreseeable future, no more pull requests will be accepted which add new guest support/installers. Please build your gem as a plugin to vbguest (see "Very Advanced Usage" section of this file). In fact, please open a pull request to remove support for a guest system if feel confident that your solution is better.

Known Issues

  • The installer script, which mounts and runs the GuestAdditions Installer Binary, works on Linux only. Most likely it will run on most Unix-like platforms.
  • The installer script requires a writeable upload directory on the guest system. This defaults to /tmp but can be overwritten with the iso_upload_path option.
  • The installer script requires a valid mount point on the guest system. This defaults to /mnt but can be overwritten with the iso_mount_point option.
  • On multi vm boxes, the iso file will be downloaded for each vm.
  • The plugin installation on Windows host systems may not work as expected (using vagrant gem install vagrant-vbguest). Try C:\vagrant\vagrant\embedded\bin\gem.bat install vagrant-vbguest instead. (See issue #19)
  • The Windows guest additions installer will only properly install virtual drivers (enabling e.g. seamless resizing) if a user is logged in during the install. Automatic login is recommended for Windows Vagrant boxes.
  • Uploading GuestAdditions into a Windows guest might take longer than expected.


A Vagrant plugin to keep your VirtualBox Guest Additions up to date




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