How do you view the screen of a guest in Virtualbox?

I haven't used VB in quite a while, but I recently reinstalled it, and used vagrant to create an Ubuntu and OSX guest. Previously I could interface with the guest's terminal by simply double clicking the running guest or right clicking, which pulls up the options menu, and selecting "show".

However, when I used the Virtualbox GUI to view the running guests, there's no way to actually view their screens. The "show" option in the options menu is grayed out. Under settings, there's a monitor configured for each, and a preview panel that shows a small thumbnail of the guest OS, but no way to interface with it. Has this feature been removed from Virtualbox, or am I missing something?

  • Voting to close this as off-topic because it relates more to VirtualBox than it does to Ubuntu. What I would recommend is visiting the Oracle VM Virtualbox Support Page and contacting Oracle about this. They would know for sure whether this was an outdated option, or if it was something you could fix on your end, and as stated on the site they can walk you through trying to fix it. – David Feb 23 '16 at 20:16
  • How (and where) do you start your VMs? – Takkat Feb 23 '16 at 21:22
  • 3
    @DavidCole-GrammarPolice you are sending the OP in the wrong direction - the cause lies in vagrant, not in virtualbox. – guntbert Feb 23 '16 at 21:41

The reason for this behavior lies in the fact that you are using vagrant, which is by default assuming a "headless" situation (i.e. a server accessed via ssh).

You can edit the Vagrantfile, around line 50 you will find

# config.vm.provider :virtualbox do |vb|
#   # Don't boot with headless mode
#   vb.gui = true
#   # Use VBoxManage to customize the VM. For example to change memory:
#   vb.customize ["modifyvm", :id, "--memory", "1024"]
# end

change it so

config.vm.provider :virtualbox do |vb|
  vb.gui = true

and with the next vagrant up you will get a GUI.

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