How do I display the whole desktop in Virtual Box fullscreen mode?

  • I am running Ubuntu 12.04 in VirtualBox 4.2.6 on a Windows 7 host. After installing Ubuntu I wanted to get the VB interface in fullscreen. I therefore installed guest additions from Virtual Box Manager (devices > install guest additions -> run --> reboot).

    But after booting I can only see a part of the desktop without menus. In addition I am asked again to install the guest additions after every reboot (the guest additions CD reappears even though I had removed it).

    Editing the resolution in system settings via right click > appearance -> all settings (since I can only partially see the desktop) the actual resolution changes but the whole desktop still does not fit.

    Do I have to uninstall/reinstall the guest additions? What other options do I have?

    I did remove the installation cd but now i have the vboxguestadditions.iso reappearing over and over in the storage when booting ubuntu..Vbox version 4.2.6 and ubuntu 12.10

    Problem for command line is since i can t access terminal over desktop interface (because i only see a small part of it) i don t know any command line shortcut key to be able to actually access and command anything.

    ha yeah, did not properly read your hold shift key to access the Grub menu, sry, but already ended up removing ubuntu entirely from vbox server and reinstalling ubuntu, which gave me the initial scaled desktop back, fortunately, but now i m not shure if i should also install the guest additions as iso in vbox again.. Or is there another way to properly get a full scaled desktop interface..? Thanks for the shortcut..

    You mean should i enter that command on boot recovery mode or on guest os already running? And then before or after installing guest additions..? cause reinstalled ubuntu, reinstalled guest additions and still the same limited view on desktop..

    Wow entered your command although i don't know what it realy meant but even after being in limited desktop i entered command line with alt-ctrl_right-t and entering sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade it took a while but after reboot it did the thing, i was able to adjust resolution to 1024 x 768 4:3.. which is still not optimal for fitting my screen but at least i see an interface which is sizable..thanks a lot!

    Moved my comments to an answer :)

  • Takkat

    Takkat Correct answer

    8 years ago

    To be able to scale the screen geometry, and to enable fullscreen mode of a Virtual Box guest Ubuntu we need to install the guest additions:

    In case this fails we may try to reinstall guest additions, and watch out for errors we may get when doing so. Older versions of Virtual Box may be incompatible with either the graphics drivers from the host, or with the guest Ubuntu version. We then have the following options we may try the follwing:

    • Make sure we have 3D-acceleration enabled in the virtual machine settings, and allow enough of video memory:

      enter image description here

    • How do I install the VirtualBox version from Oracle to install an Extension Pack?

    • Update the guest operation system from command line (hold left Shift key on booting to enter a root shell) and then run:

      apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade
    • In rare cases we may have a better performance with an older Ubuntu release, or a more lightweight derivate such as Lubuntu, or Xubuntu.

    After having installed the guest additions the guest OS needs a reboot for the virtual driver to be loaded. We then should be able to resize or scale the guest screen, or enter full screen mode with Host + F.

    Also see Adjusting display geometry in a virtual machine? for additional options to adjust screen geometry.

    Note: Pre-release alpha versions of Ubuntu are likely to not yet perform as expected.

    Didn't work for me... I'm going to try to use de closed source version

    You need to have the correct `linux-headers` package installed in order to enable guest additions. Virtualbox should let you know whether or not you do by logging errors to /var/log/vboxadd-install.log.

  • I would like to add on to the above answer. When logging into the root shell, the DNS server settings may be missing. In this case, you will need to manually add a DNS server settings prior to apt-get update. Details are over here. If you do not do that, you will not be able to update any repositories/packages.

    After that you can then upgrade with apt-get dist-upgrade. Hope it helps!

    Your answer does not seem to answer the OPs question. Please try to be specific while answering to questions. Thanks.

License under CC-BY-SA with attribution

Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM