I have low-latency kernels installed on my ubuntu notebook because I often process live audio in real time with low latency, and I find that I can achieve smaller sound card buffer sizes with the low-latency kernels than with the generic kernels.

Sometimes I have to use virtualbox on the same notebook. I find that I cannot start virtualbox virtual machines when running a low-latency kernel. The error messages are included at the end of the question. I need to reboot into the generic kernel in order to be able to run virtualbox VMs. I remember that I was able to run virtualbox VMs also with the low-latency kernels in the past. Is there a workaround? The error messages suggest to reinstall virtualbox-dkms and to run 'modprobe vboxdrv', however, the first suggestion does not help, and the second suggestion does not succeed.

Error messages:

Failed to open a session for the virtual machine 'VM name'. Details: The virtual machine 'VM name' has terminated unexpectedly during startup with exit code 1 (0x1).

Result Code: NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x80004005) Component: MachineWrap Interface: IMachine {some GUID}

Another error pops up before acknowledging the first error:

VirtualBox - Error un suplibOsinit

The VirtualBox Linux kernel driver is either not loaded or not set up correctly. Please resintall virtualbox-dkms package and load the kernel module by executing

'modprobe vboxdrv'

as root.


where: suplibOsInit what: 3 VERR_VM_DRIVER_NOT_INSTALLED (-1908) - The support driver is not installed. On linux, open returned ENOENT.


Additional drivers like the one used by virtualbox are only compiled by dkms and can only be used as a consequence if the corresponding kernel headers are installed:

sudo apt install linux-headers-lowlatency

will install the headers for the low-latency kernel. Virtualbox will work also with the low-latency host kernel after these headers have been installed.

  • Installing the headers will compile the virtualbox driver for the newest installed lowlatency kernel version. If you have not rebooted since last updating the kernel and are still running an older lowlatency kernel version, then you need to reboot into the latest version in order for virtualbox to work. From then on, the virtualbox driver will be compiled for all kernel updates: from then on there will be no need to reboot for running virtualbox. – Ludwig Schulze Feb 28 '20 at 6:46

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