Before the first login screen came up after a clean install of Ubuntu 11.04 (64 bit) into a new virtual machine in VirtualBox running under Windows 7 (64 bit), a dialog box popped up saying that the hardware was not sufficient to run Unity (paraphrased). All logins have taken me to the Classic DE and I can't find a way to even try Unity.

In the desktop settings, I have selected "Ubuntu" and not "Ubuntu (classic)". The system is configured so I must log in, and a "session" option is available at the bottom of the screen, but regardless of the session I choose, no Unity.

After installing the VirtualBox Guest Additions, the Classic DE would resize as the host window resized, but still Unity would not display.

I don't know if this is a video problem, memory, or something else. The VM has 1024MB ram, 2 processors, 3D acceleration, and 12MB of video memory.

It would be very nice to see what all the Unity fuss is about!

  • Eric

3 Answers 3


Prerequisites for running Unity in Virtual Box are:

  • Virtual Box version >= 4.06
  • proper installation of Guest Additions
  • 128 MB of RAM for the virtual graphics card (set in Virtual Box Manager)
  • enable 3D acceleration in Virtual Box Manager
  • Host graphic card driver that supports Open GL sufficiently
  • selecting Ubuntu session at login

Some host graphics cards will not sufficiently support hardware 3D acceleration. In these cases Unity-2D could be installed.

  • FYI, I just upgraded from 10.10 to 11.04 without upgrading VB first. Boy was that a mistake. I upgraded VB, then downloaded the ISO from Ubuntu's site and was up and running soon after. May 5, 2011 at 14:23

You'll need more video memory for the virtual machine to run Unity.

Ubuntu's Wiki has a page that talks about Unity's Graphics Hardware Requirements at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DemystifyingUnityGraphicsHardwareRequirements

One of the requirements is "Minimum 128MB of video memory".

Hit the link to see the full requirements.


I have only tried VirtualBox OSE running on an Ubuntu host, but I hope it's the same with a Windows host:

Install virtualbox-ose-guest-dkms and ..-x11 and ..-utils in the guest, like fred wrote in How do I install Guest Additions in a VirtualBox VM?

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