There are many questions about resolution issues on askubuntu but no question/solution seems to solve my issue.

I've a 12.04/precise host system and installed Ubuntu 12.04/precise as guest system as well. After installation I had the option of selecting 1024x768 (4:3) and 800x600 (4:3) as resolution in display settings. After installing guest additions the options 1280x960 (4:3) and 1440x1050 (4:3) was added to the list. Now 4 in total all having the 4:3 ratio.

I then activated full screen mode (host+f) and got the guest running in native 1920x1200 (16:10) for my screen. After deactivating full screen two more options had been added to the resolutions dropdown list, 1920x1200 (16:10) and 1600x1200 (4:3).

I want to run the guest in 1920x1080 (16:9) so I can easily record screencasts in "full-hd". Last time I had this problem the solution was to run "VBoxManage controlvm nameofyourVM setvideomodehint width height colordepth" command from the host but now I want to know if there is any easier way to solve this?

12 Answers 12

  1. Go to the File menu and activate Environment setting or, in more recent versions, Preferences.
  2. Select Display and change the setting for Maximum guest screen size to “hint” which allows you to set an arbitrary size for both width and height (e. g. 1920 and 1200).
  3. Reboot the virtual machine and enjoy it.
  • 1
    Which file menu are you talking about? – CHolmstedt Mar 10 '15 at 17:42
  • @CHolmstedt The file menu of the Virtualbox Manager works. – Marcel May 13 '16 at 19:07
  • 5
    Sadly this didn't work for me using an ubuntu 16.04 guest on Windows 7 and VirtualBox 4.3.12. Ubuntu screen can't be resized and won't go larger than 1024 x 768. – snark Sep 4 '17 at 11:13
  • Unfortunately, this didn't work for me using Ubuntu 18.04 guest on Windows 10 and Oracle VM Virtual Box 6.1 – Anna Christine Apr 14 at 11:25

Just install Virtualbox Guests Additions but before be sure you have DKMS in terminal:

sudo apt-get install dkms

and update:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade

after this install guests additons,restart pc and you got the right screen ratio.

  • 3
    I'm afraid that didn't help me. As I said in the first post Guest additions are already installed. – CHolmstedt Nov 6 '12 at 6:37
  • In my case, I upgraded VirtualBox then upgraded Ubuntu, and somewhere along the line the guest additions seemed to stop working (the screen wasn't resizing). I reinstalled the guest addditions which upgraded them to the latest version, rebooted the guest VM, and everything started working again (could change the VM resolution). – jfritz42 Nov 12 '12 at 18:17

This is based on the answer of @Sangsoo Kim which works well for me:

  1. Go to "File" > "Preferences"
  2. Go to "Display"
  3. Change "Maximum Guest Screen Size" to "Hint"
  4. Enter 1920 x 1200 as a width and height.
  5. Restart the virtual machine and voila! It just shows the right resolution.

Hope this help!

  • 1
    I think you mean 1920, not 1902. – Alexej Magura Nov 15 '17 at 6:58
  • You mean if I set the resolution to 1920x1200 then after restart, I will get the right resolution, which is 1920x1080 as the OP asked for? – karatedog Mar 14 at 1:21

Further modification to the answers from @sangsoo-kim and @wery-nguyen for more clarity and improved utility:

  • Start the VirtualBox application on your host
  • Select your Windows guest VM from the list of VMs
  • Goto File > Preferences on the VirtualBox app menu
  • Select Display from the list of preferences
  • Change Maximum Guest Screen Size pull down to None

Now start the VM and you'll be able to resize the host container window to any dimensions you want, and the VM will automatically adjust!

This does require that the correct version of VirtualBox Guest Additions are installed and running inside your VM. Check the status bar inside your Windows VM for a small VirtualBox icon (probably with a yellow star). If you have that icon in your Windows VM status bar it means the Guest Additions are installed. Confirm that the version number matches the VirtualBox App running on your host (hover over that icon to see the Guest Additions version number and do a "Help > About" in the Virtual Box app to see that version number).

p.s. You can also do this while the Windows VM is running, if that doesn't work, restart the VM after making the change.

Edit Aug 22, 2018 -- you may also have to twiddle with the Adjust Windows Size and Auto-resize Guest Display items on the VirtualBox View app menu to get resize working correctly.

VirtualBox "View" Menu


(8 years later) this worked for me

sudo cvt 1920 1080 60    
sudo xrandr --newmode "1920x1080_60.00" 173.00 1920 2048 2248 2576 1080 1083 1088 1120 -hsync +vsync
sudo xrandr --addmode Virtual1 1920x1080_60.00

then go to display settings and you should find it


  • 1
    I'm using windows 10 on host and ubuntu 20.10 on virtual box, those commands worked for me, after run those comments, the screen changed to 640x480, but I opened the display settings the 1920x1080 (16:9) was now available. Thanks – David Costa Mar 28 at 14:08

I faced the same problem with KDE neon as host and Ubuntu 20.04 a guest.

I changed the machine setting in the Virtual Box Manager, Display tab.

Instead of using VMSVGA (I do not know how this setting was set) I put VBoxSVGA. This worked for me.


I had the same issue, i installed fresh ubuntu, then updated all packages + dkms, then rebooted in fullscreen. Installed the Guest Additions while being in fullscreen mode, and rebooting in fullscreen...

This fixed it for me.


I know there has benn a long time since last activity in this thread but this helped me and is thanks to you. In my case the tools where already installed.

  1. install dkms
  2. enter full-screen mode
  3. uninstall the tools
  4. reboot
  5. install the tools again

I tried a lot, but just changing the graphics settings/graphics controller in the host machine's options from VMSVGA to VBOXSVGA started the Ubuntu VirtualBox immediately in the right resolution for me, i.e. 1920x1080.


I too had the same issue. I installed dkms and then installed the Linux headers as per @Daniel answer. Then rebooted Ubuntu while remaining in full screen mode and it switched straight to the correct 16:9 resolution.

  1. Install VirtualBox tools
    Check before this manual

  2. Reboot.

I had the same issue, but now it works. I had to install:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`

The error was logged in: /var/log/vboxadd-install.log

  • @CHolmstedt So did it work? – Daniel Oct 26 '13 at 7:01
  • @Daniel No, I'm afraid not. I have not found any solution that works for my problem yet. – CHolmstedt Oct 27 '13 at 7:45

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