I just ran:
sudo apt-get install virtualbox-guest-additions-iso
on my host (Ubuntu 13.10). I was hoping to get a copy of the iso file, but I'm afraid that it may have installed the guest additions on my host machine. The only problem that I have seen (so far) is that VirtualBox has lost all of my virtual machines. The directories and files are still there, but VirtualBox does not see them.
Have I messed up my host OS by installing guest additions on it?
Is there a way to get back my virtual machines?

  • What? Why would you install GA on your system?
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Jan 1, 2014 at 22:00
  • I was trying to load the ISO file for guest additios. It was probably already on my system, but I was looking in the wrong place because the VirtualBox docs give the wrong location. Jan 4, 2014 at 21:43

1 Answer 1


No harm done. The package virtualbox-guest-additions Install virtualbox-guest-additions of the repositories will only install the CD-ROM .iso file in /usr/share/virtualbox/VBoxGuestAdditions.iso.

What may have happened however is that as a dependency you also had installed the OSE edition of Virtual Box from the repositories. This will override the installation of Virtual Box from the Oracle repository or a downloaded DEBIAN package. You will have to remove the OSE version again

sudo apt-get purge virtualbox

before you will be able to reinstall a newer version of Virtual Box. Your virtual machines will not be touched by this.

  • Everything seems to be working now (without re-installing the OS). I removed VirtualBox, then re-installed the latest version from www.virtualbox.org. A couple things that I wish I knew earlier: The ISO file is in /usr/share/virtualbox/VBoxGuestAdditions.iso (as you said), but older documentation gives a different location. The one ISO file contains the guest additions for all platforms. When you look at the drive on the guest system, you can see all of the versions. On Windows it automatically loads the correct version, on Linux you have to manually choose the linux version. Jan 4, 2014 at 21:36
  • If you choose to install guest additions from Virtual Box Manager only the appropriate .iso will be loaded.
    – Takkat
    Jan 4, 2014 at 21:55

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