I have installed Ubuntu server 12.4 in Oracle Virtual box, after completing installation, i cant use the Ubuntu server in full screen,guest additions present in virtual box will work in ubuntu server.

5 Answers 5


You can have the ubuntu server console in VirtualBox start at a resolution that your graphic card supports via the virtualbox environment.

Quick Steps

  • Check the resolutions your graphic card supports via the VirtualBox Environment (VBE).You should be able to find that out by issuing the command 'vbeinfo' in the GRUB console (hit the C key when the GRUB boot menu shows up).

  • Pick one resolution, then open '/etc/default/grub' (e.g. sudo vim /etc/default/grub) and change the line #GRUB_GFXMODE=640x480 to something like this GRUB_GFXMODE=1152x864 (where 1152x864 should be your custom resolution which is also supported by your graphic card).

  • Now run these two commands one-by-one:

    sudo update-grub
    sudo reboot

You should now see your VM's console in the custom resolution that you just set.

(PS: As Javier Rivera said, full screen resolution may not be possible.)

  • As suggested by @Laurent, you need to add "GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX=keep" as well. Otherwise, resolution is used only in GRUB and not later.
    – mac
    May 11, 2021 at 6:40

As mentioned in Proper way to change terminal resolution in Ubuntu Server 13.04? you also need to set


in the /etc/default/grub file otherwise the resolution is only briefly used during boot

  • 2
    i confirm this is needed for Ubuntu Server 16.04 LTS
    – XoXo
    Jun 6, 2016 at 15:01

Other answers didn't work properly for me on Ubuntu 16.10 - e.g. resolution would be applied, but then reverted at various points later during boot. What did eventually work was the combination of the following three settings in /etc/default/grub:

GRUB_GFXMODE=1280x1024  # width x height required - see below

Followed by running:

sudo update-grub
sudo reboot

NOTE 1: Supported resolutions can be identified from within grub. Hit C at the grub prompt, then type:

set pager=1    (To enable paging of long vbeinfo output)
reboot         (When done)

When selecting a resolution, width x height is sufficient (unless you specifically care about setting colour depth too).

Note 2: If you don't see the GRUB menu, hold Shift while booting.

  • On 16.04, GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="nomodeset" was a requirement to get the resolution to change.
    – MacroMan
    Oct 23, 2017 at 13:04
  • Thanks. this is the best solution.
    – Foad
    Jul 28, 2019 at 20:16
  • w/o nomodeset also, its working fine.
    – mac
    May 11, 2021 at 6:44

What I always do is install ssh on the server and then use putty to access the server. Not only does this allow me to view the server in full screen, it also allows me to connect to it from other machines.

to install ssh metapackage (client and server) just run:

sudo apt-get install ssh

You could install only openssh-server if you don't need the ssh client on the VM.

  • 3
    How does this answer the question?
    – Olli
    Feb 23, 2014 at 18:35
  • 4
    @Olli it serves the same purpose - having a full screen CLI.
    – guntbert
    Feb 23, 2014 at 18:38
  • 3
    this is the easiest way to achieve the exact same thing the OP is requesting.
    – Anthony
    Aug 12, 2016 at 20:52
  • This is not the same thing. There are instances when you cannot use SSH (eg, non-networked machines) and still want to increase the resolution.
    – MacroMan
    Dec 11, 2019 at 12:08

The VirtualBox guest additions display driver only works on graphical mode, not text mode. You will need to install Xorg to use it full-screen.

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