I've installed VirtualBox (with Ubuntu 14.04 Desktop) and Guest Additions on my Windows 7 machine.

Every time it boots up I get the following error message which goes away:

vboxclient the virtualbox kernel service is not running. exiting.

How can I disable this message? I've tried the following:

I deleted /etc/xdg/autostart/vboxclient.desktop file.

But I am still seeing the message when logging in.

Any suggestions on how to fix this?


5 Answers 5


This usually happens when you update the Guest's Linux Kernel.
After each update, you need to do:

  • For Host (installing server)

    sudo /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup
  • For Guest (installing additions)

    sudo /etc/init.d/vboxadd setup

The reason why inserting the VBox addition disk again works is because that's one of the things the installation procedure does as well.

  • 1
    Thanks, this was exactly the problem for me. Guest Ubuntu updated and then this error was showing. Running the guest command fixed it.
    – Flupkear
    Jun 27, 2016 at 15:30
  • 1
    On Mac OSX El Capitan the host command doesn't work, but reinstalling the cd image and running the guest command does.
    – mstreffo
    Jul 19, 2016 at 12:35
  • 14
    I'm getting sudo: /etc/init.d/vboxadd: command not found Nov 21, 2016 at 15:16
  • Great! It was enough to execute setup on Guest side for me. Jan 13, 2017 at 8:54
  • 2
    @HelloGoodbye, had the same issue, reinstalling Linux Additions helped me get rid of the error vboxclient the virtualbox kernel service is not running. Follow instructions here virtualbox.org/manual/ch04.html#additions-linux Do not forget to reboot the VM.
    – andrybak
    Mar 13, 2019 at 14:12

Try eject the VBOXADDITIONS cd image on ubuntu and "insert" it again from Vbox menu. I was just having this same problem and doing this fixed it.


I'm running Ubuntu 15.04 on Virtualbox 5.02. The same notification went away after I selected two "restricted drivers" from Virtualbox.

More specifically, from Software & Updates > Additional Drivers tab, there are two drivers previously not selected: Using x86 virtualization solution - X11 guest utilities from virtualbox-guest-x11 and Using x86 virtualization solution - guest addition module source for dkms from virtualbox-guest-dkms. The notification was gone after I selected to use these two proprietary drivers.

Update: one of these two drivers seem to cause a repository inconsistency when I run apt-get update. I chose to use the package maintainer's version to solve the inconsistency, and haven't run into any further problem.


If you just want to prevent this warning from showing when you boot up your system, follow the description here: Look for the file 98vboxadd-xclient (e.g. /etc/X11/Xsession.d/98vboxadd-xclient) and comment out line 26 giving the warning as shown below:

if ! test -c /dev/vboxguest 2>/dev/null; then
   # Do not start if the kernel module is not present.
   # notify-send "VBoxClient: the VirtualBox kernel service is not running.  Exiting."

(Works on Ubuntu 16.04.)

  • On my 14.04 machine the if block is followed by an elif block. If I comment out line 26, which is everything that's contained in the if block, this will be seen as a syntax error and I can't log in any longer. Quick fix: add a meaningless line of code instead of the one commented out (e.g. echo woof > /dev/null)
    – panepeter
    Nov 2, 2017 at 8:58

Pay attention to the purge command which deletes configuration files

sudo apt-get purge virtualbox-guest-x11 virtualbox-guest-utils virtualbox-guest-dkms

I've found it here

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