I am having problems running VirtualBox on my Ubuntu laptop. My laptop is dual boot, and running (Windows 10 - I think, haven't used it in years), as well as Ubuntu 16.0.4 LTS.

I have secure boot enabled on the BIOS settings of my laptop.

I am aware that there are similar questions posted on here, specifically these two:

I have followed all of the instructions given in the answers sections for those two questions - yet, the problem remains unresolved.

Here is the console output, when I attempt to run virtualbox:

me@YOURBOX:~$ virtualbox
WARNING: The vboxdrv kernel module is not loaded. Either there is no module
         available for the current kernel (4.4.0-47-generic) or it failed to
         load. Please recompile the kernel module and install it by

           sudo /sbin/vboxconfig

         You will not be able to start VMs until this problem is fixed.

here is the console output when I run/sbin/vboxconfig as suggested:

me@YOURBOX:~$ sudo /sbin/vboxconfig  
vboxdrv.sh: Stopping VirtualBox services.
vboxdrv.sh: Building VirtualBox kernel modules.
vboxdrv.sh: Starting VirtualBox services.
vboxdrv.sh: Building VirtualBox kernel modules.
vboxdrv.sh: failed: modprobe vboxdrv failed. Please use 'dmesg' to find out why.

There were problems setting up VirtualBox.  To re-start the set-up process, run
as root.

Here is the tail end of the output of dmesg:

[   44.319682] audit: type=1400 audit(1491313982.374:11): apparmor="STATUS" operation="profile_load" profile="unconfined" name="/usr/bin/evince-previewer" pid=705 comm="apparmor_parser"
[   45.041433] cgroup: new mount options do not match the existing superblock, will be ignored
[   59.682936] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): wlp3s0: link is not ready
[   59.697820] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): wlp3s0: link is not ready
[   59.702008] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): enp2s0f0: link is not ready
[   60.267000] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): enp2s0f0: link is not ready
[   62.473044] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): wlp3s0: link is not ready
[   70.681706] audit_printk_skb: 60 callbacks suppressed
[   70.681709] audit: type=1400 audit(1491314008.734:32): apparmor="STATUS" operation="profile_load" profile="unconfined" name="docker-default" pid=2009 comm="apparmor_parser"
[   70.850936] aufs 4.x-rcN-20160111
[   75.407218] bridge: automatic filtering via arp/ip/ip6tables has been deprecated. Update your scripts to load br_netfilter if you need this.
[   75.408555] Bridge firewalling registered
[   75.427172] nf_conntrack version 0.5.0 (16384 buckets, 65536 max)
[   75.848416] ip_tables: (C) 2000-2006 Netfilter Core Team
[   76.703232] Initializing XFRM netlink socket
[   77.060003] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): docker0: link is not ready
[   80.101042] aufs au_opts_verify:1597:dockerd[1402]: dirperm1 breaks the protection by the permission bits on the lower branch
[  113.895236] wlp3s0: authenticate with 84:16:f9:77:e1:54
[  113.910483] wlp3s0: send auth to 84:16:f9:77:e1:54 (try 1/3)
[  113.912712] wlp3s0: authenticated
[  113.915101] wlp3s0: associate with 84:16:f9:77:e1:54 (try 1/3)
[  113.919397] wlp3s0: RX AssocResp from 84:16:f9:77:e1:54 (capab=0x1411 status=0 aid=1)
[  113.919516] wlp3s0: associated
[  113.919559] IPv6: ADDRCONF(NETDEV_CHANGE): wlp3s0: link becomes ready

Now, I'm not going to lie - I have absolutely no idea what dmesg just spewed out - and as far as I can tell, there are no error messages in the log output - which makes the situation even more infuriating.

Has anyone ever installed VirtualBox 5.x on a laptop running Ubuntu 16.0.4 LTS - but with secure boot enabled on BIOS ? - if yes, what is the solution. ???!

Lots of people have this problem - even going a few years back. it is very strange that no one seems to have a solution for it - ???


2 Answers 2


VirtualBox + Secure Boot + Ubuntu = fail

The problem is the requirement that all kernel modules must be signed by a key trusted by the UEFI system, otherwise loading will fail. Ubuntu does not sign the third party vbox* kernel modules, but rather gives the user the option to disable Secure Boot upon installation of the virtualbox package. I could do that, but then I would see an annoying “Booting in insecure mode” message every time the machine starts, and also the dual boot Windows 10 installation I have would not function.

Ubuntu 16.04 on a Dell Latitude E7440 with BIOS A18, and with a dual boot Windows 10 installation.

Credit goes to the primary source of information I used to resolve this problem, which applies specifically to Fedora/Redhat: http://gorka.eguileor.com/vbox-vmware-in-secureboot-linux-2016-update/

And a relevant Ask Ubuntu question: Could not load 'vboxdrv' after upgrade to Ubuntu 16.04 (and I want to keep secure boot)

Steps to make it work, specifically for Ubuntu/Debian

  1. Install the virtualbox package. If the installation detects that Secure Boot is enabled, you will be presented with the issue at hand and given the option to disable Secure Boot. Choose “No”.

  2. Create a personal public/private RSA key pair which will be used to sign kernel modules. I chose to use the root account and the directory /root/module-signing/ to store all things related to signing kernel modules.

    $ sudo -i
    # mkdir /root/module-signing
    # cd /root/module-signing
    # openssl req -new -x509 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout MOK.priv -outform DER -out MOK.der -nodes -days 36500 -subj "/CN=YOUR_NAME/"
    # chmod 600 MOK.priv
  3. Use the MOK (“Machine Owner Key”) utility to import the public key so that it can be trusted by the system. This is a two step process where the key is first imported, and then later must be enrolled when the machine is booted the next time. A simple password is good enough, as it is only for temporary use.

    # mokutil --import /root/module-signing/MOK.der
    input password:
    input password again:
  4. Reboot the machine. When the bootloader starts, the MOK manager EFI utility should automatically start. It will ask for parts of the password supplied in step 3. Choose to “Enroll MOK”, then you should see the key imported in step 3. Complete the enrollment steps, then continue with the boot. The Linux kernel will log the keys that are loaded, and you should be able to see your own key with the command: dmesg|grep 'EFI: Loaded cert'

  5. Using a signing utility shippped with the kernel build files, sign all the VirtualBox modules using the private MOK key generated in step 2. I put this in a small script /root/module-signing/sign-vbox-modules, so it can be easily run when new kernels are installed as part of regular updates:

    for modfile in $(dirname $(modinfo -n vboxdrv))/*.ko; do
      echo "Signing $modfile"
      /usr/src/linux-headers-$(uname -r)/scripts/sign-file sha256 \
                                    /root/module-signing/MOK.priv \
                                    /root/module-signing/MOK.der "$modfile"

    And then:

    # chmod 700 /root/module-signing/sign-vbox-modules
  6. Run the script from step 5 as root. You will need to run the signing script every time a new kernel update is installed, since this will cause a rebuild of the third party VirtualBox modules. Use the script only after the new kernel has been booted, since it relies on modinfo -n and uname -r to tell which kernel version to sign for.

  7. Load vboxdrv module and fire up VirtualBox:

    # modprobe vboxdrv

The procedure can also be used to sign other third party kernel modules, like the nvidia graphics drivers, if so is required. (I have not tested that myself.)

Note: The above answer was wholly sourced from Øyvind Stegard's blog post, VirtualBox + Secure Boot + Ubuntu = fail.

  • 1
    I get an error: vboxdrv.sh: failed: modprobe vboxnetflt failed. Please use 'dmesg' to find out why. dmesg: [70567.246789] vboxdrv: Found 2 processor cores [70567.267310] vboxdrv: TSC mode is Invariant, tentative frequency 2166734189 Hz [70567.267315] vboxdrv: Successfully loaded version 5.0.40_Ubuntu (interface 0x00240000)
    – marshy101
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 13:45
  • 7
    Note about 18.04+: the suggested grep should read: dmesg|grep 'EFI:' in stead of dmesg|grep 'EFI: Loaded cert'
    – gkephorus
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 7:25
  • 4
    Absolutely don't know and understand what this does, but it worked.
    – naneri
    Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 6:54
  • 1
    Just in case some needed: I had this problem w/o UEFI or Secure Mode. In my case, virtualbox-dkms installation on 18.04.x was broken. My fix was: apt purge virtualbox-dkms && apt install virtualbox-dkms && modprobe vboxdrv
    – gorlok
    Commented Feb 9, 2019 at 21:59
  • 1
    if you upgrade virtualbox from 5.2 to 6.0 don't forget complete 6 and 7 steps again.
    – voleger
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 14:21

The above answer probably works fine, but if you want an easier time for it:

I was able to solve it by

booting into the BIOS and going > advanced (f7) > boot > scroll down to "secure boot" > change "Windows EUFI mode" to "other OS"

My virtualbox works perfectly now.

  • 3
    Is there a reason you wouldn't want to do this?
    – Taegost
    Commented Dec 25, 2018 at 2:55
  • Due to some power surge or something my BIOS had gotten reset so I needed to do this. Now I don't get the above error.
    – jamadagni
    Commented Jan 26, 2019 at 4:25
  • After spending 2 days unable to install VirtualBox 7.0.18 to Ubuntu 24.04, I came to this thread. I was going to try the answer above as suggested by @You'reAGitForNotUsingGit but then I figured it was just simpler by disabling Secure Boot from my laptop. Then retrying the installation for virtualbox works just fine. Commented Jul 14 at 18:52

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