My Ubuntu computer won't load VirtualBox.

The message I'm recieving is: Error:
Failed to create the VirtualBox COM object.
The application will now terminate.
Start tag expected, '<' not found.

Location: '/home/josh/.VirtualBox/VirtualBox.xml', line 1 (0), column 1.

/build/buildd/virtualbox-4.1.18-dfsg/src/VBox/Main/src-server/VirtualBoxImpl.cpp[484] (nsresult VirtualBox::init())

Result Code: NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x80004005)
Component: VirtualBox
Interface: IVirtualBox {c28be65f-1a8f-43b4-81f1-eb60cb516e66}

My Computer is currently running Ubuntu 12.10.

  • Could you add some info? AKA, your computer type (eg. Toshiba Satellite A105, some specs, etc...) That would help. May 6, 2013 at 23:47
  • It's a Dell inspiron comp with an AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5200+ × 2 with Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64x and Linux Ubuntu 12.10 64x.
    – Joshua
    May 7, 2013 at 0:21
  • Can you post the contents of the VirtualBox.xml file?
    – Dr.Tower
    May 7, 2013 at 0:48

3 Answers 3


I have listed the files and found that there are 2 files . One named VirtualBox.xml and the other VirtualBox.xml-prev. I noticed that the first file`s size was 0 bytes and the second like 1243 bytes, anyway different than 0.

So I have opened the both files and I copied the content from VirtualBox.xml-prev to the first file, save and closed the file and worked.

In my laptop the files were located in ~/.VirtualBox.

  • Short version, In your VM folder rename your *.xml-prev file to *.xml, for VirtualBox >= v4.0, rename the *.vbox-prev file to *.vbox.
    – Radu Maris
    Jan 29, 2014 at 13:28
  • Thank you. Indeed the command cp VirtualBox.xml-prev VirtualBox.xml solves for me. All previous boxes are found. No need to import VDIs etc. Very thoughtful that there exists a copy VirtualBox.xml-prev!
    – daparic
    Jan 24, 2018 at 9:26

Delete that file and everything will be okay. Open your terminal and:

 rm /home/josh/.VirtualBox/VirtualBox.xml
  • 1
    This may be true, but lacks a bit of information. Can you tell why it is OK to delete that file and how this affects loading of the VM?
    – Jan
    Sep 19, 2014 at 10:48
  • You will still need to reconfigure the virtual machine and relay the old disk drive to the new configuration once you delete this VirtualBox.xml.
    – 0xC0DEGURU
    Nov 26, 2015 at 17:19
  • It also deletes the vm I had! Anyway to recover it? Feb 10, 2016 at 6:02

Here's how you can fixed it.

  1. Uninstall whatever version of VirtualBox you currently have installed: How to uninstall VirtualBox.
  2. Delete the local hidden folder (/.VirtualBox, which contains an .XML file which is causing the error).
  3. Install VirtualBox: VirtualBox/Installation.

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