I had VirtualBox running just fine but on the update to 11.04 it choked. I am running:

  • dkms version
  • virtualbox-ose-dkms v. 4.0.4-dfsg-1ubuntu4.1
  • virtualbox-ose-qt v. 4.0.4-dfsg-1ubuntu4.1
  • virtualbox-ose v. 4.0.4-dfsg-1ubuntu4.1

When I try to create a new machine or launch my existing machine, I get two alerts:

Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)

Please install the virtualbox-ose-dkms package and execute 'modprobe vboxdrv' as root.

I tried that and got an error: FATAL: Module vboxdrv not found.

The other alert just reads:

Failed to open a session for the virtual machine Foo. The virtual machine 'Foo' has terminated unexpectedly during startup with exit code 1.

Result Code: NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x80004005) Component: Machine Interface: IMachine {662c175e-a69d-40b8-a77a-1d719d0ab062}

Web forums all seem to suggest that other people addressed the latter error message by installing VirtualBox 3.2.12, but we're past that now.

3 Answers 3


You're possibly missing the kernel headers, you can install these by running:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-generic

If you've a kernel update available, but do not wish to install the new kernel, install the headers matching the loaded kernel by running:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)

After installation, the VirtualBox kernel modules are (re-)built automatically.

  • I had to run sudo modprobe vboxdrv after installing the Linux headers (linux-headers-2.6.38-11-generic-pae in my case) but I'm back in. Whew.
    – Amanda
    Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 17:00

From my experience you will have the fewest possible issues when installing Virtual Box from the repository provided by Oracle. By this you will always run the latest stable issue, where usually many bugs got fixed. You will still have the Open Source version running as long as you don't install the Extension Pack.

See also this more elaborate answer. For running Unity you will also have to install the Guest Additions.


If I remember correctly, when a new kenel is installed, some modules have to be either re-done, or recompiled in order to bind to the new kernel. I don't remember the commands for those, but I used to reinstall the latest of Virtualbox and the problem went away.You may see those displayed as VB gets installed.

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