Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)

The VirtualBox Linux kernel driver (vboxdrv) is either not loaded or there is a permission problem with /dev/vboxdrv. Please reinstall the kernel module by executing

'/etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup'

as root. If it is available in your distribution, you should install the DKMS package first. This package keeps track of Linux kernel changes and recompiles the vboxdrv kernel module if necessary.

This is a familiar message to everyone that uses Virtual Box. This "bug" has been popping up every few months at least since 11.10. I got it today for the first time on 14.04 and unfortunately the classical solution of re-installing virtualbox-dkms is not having any effect:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-generic build-essential dkms
sudo apt-get remove virtualbox-dkms
sudo apt-get install virtualbox-dkms

What could be the reason for this old fix to fail?

Update: In the comments user bain makes reference to an old thread that apparently reports to the same problem. While the error message is similar, on Ubuntu 14.04 this issue seems to have a different nature, unrelated to the virtualbox-dkms package. For instance, on Ubuntu 14.04 the virtualbox package is up to date:

$ sudo apt-cache policy virtualbox
  Installed: 4.3.10-dfsg-1
  Candidate: 4.3.10-dfsg-1
  Version table:
 *** 4.3.10-dfsg-1 0
        500 http://de.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ trusty/multiverse amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
  • Try the answers in the linked question. Make sure all updates are in place (apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade) then uninstall virtualbox (apt-get purge virtualbox*) and re-install.
    – bain
    Jul 17, 2014 at 9:39
  • 2
    Hi bain. The question you link is over 3 years old, referring to older Ubuntu versions where this problem had different solutions. Jul 17, 2014 at 12:41
  • 2
    Please reopen this question. Right now there is no viable solution for Ubuntu 14.04.Thank you. Jan 16, 2015 at 14:53
  • 1
    @LuísdeSousa I fail to see the reasoning in reopening this. If this is a bug that needs addressed, file it as a bug, and keep this closed as a thousand open questions with no resolution is detrimental - assuming that a fix comes through then perhaps we can reopen it then.
    – Thomas Ward
    Jan 16, 2015 at 15:44
  • 2
    That is a great logic you have there Thomas. If the question remains closed how can a new fix be posted by someone else? Jan 17, 2015 at 8:04

1 Answer 1


The fix for 14.04 is indeed different, but not that different:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-generic build-essential dkms
sudo apt-get remove --purge virtualbox-dkms
sudo apt-get install virtualbox-dkms

The install virtualbox-dkms command was actually failing applying the 13.10 fix. By fully purging the package things got back to normal.

Update [17-01-2015]: In the latest iteration of this bug a restart to the system is required between the apt-get remove command and the second apt-get install.

Update [07-02-2016]: This fix is reportedly functional on Ubuntu 15.10.

Update [29-09-2016]: This fix is also functional on Ubuntu 16.04.

  • Are these commands run in the VM or on the host?
    – Dave
    Jun 11, 2015 at 21:37
  • 6
    It is all in the host. This is a problem with VirtualBox itself. Jun 12, 2015 at 8:59
  • Does not work for me. Error during installation of virtualbox-dkms: ERROR (dkms apport): kernel package linux-headers-4.0.9-040009-generic is not supported...
    – hako
    Aug 27, 2015 at 12:43
  • 1
    Overkill, if you have dkms installed you were probably running virtualbox and just need to rebuild the kernel module. See suggested duplicates at the top.
    – Constantin
    Jul 5, 2016 at 15:20
  • 6
    For me the REAL problem turned out to be boot-efi which is the default on the ubuntu/kubuntu-14.04 install. After removing virtualbox-dkms & reinstalling it, I got a pop-up about boot-efi running in "secure" mode will not allow these drivers to load.....soooo, the thing rebooted in MOK, and with MOK I DISABLED efi-boot's secure mode. ALL IS NOW WELL.
    – Eric
    Sep 24, 2016 at 2:29

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