How to safely shutdown Guest OS in VirtualBox using command line

  • I have Ubuntu 10.10 and using VirtualBox 3.2. As a Guest OS I have another Ubuntu in the VirtualBox.

    I am starting Guest Ubuntu automatically using following command once my Host Ubuntu boots:

    VBoxHeadless -startvm Ubuntu --vrdp on

    Then I can access to it with ssh or tsclient.

    Now I need to shutdown automatically Guest Ubuntu once I shutdown my Host Ubuntu. Does anybody know any safe method to automatically shutdown Guest Ubuntu with a command line? I have found out two ways one can shutdown Guest OS but I am not sure whether they are safe or not. Here are they:

    VBoxManage controlvm Ubuntu acpipowerbutton


    VBoxManage controlvm Ubuntu poweroff
  • Egil

    Egil Correct answer

    9 years ago

    If you open up Gnome Power management preferences, you can set what actions to take when the power button. If you set it to shut down, it will shut down gracefully when you press the virtual power button with the VBoxManage controlvm Ubuntu acpipowerbutton command.

  • To safe shutdown vm use this command:

    vboxmanage controlvm Ubuntu poweroff soft

    Can you provide your source? I seem to be unable to find anything on this "soft" option in Chapter 8 of the VBox documentation.

    Killing unsuspecting vms since 2013. Maybe remove this answer? Anyone?

    `poweroff` == "PULL THE PLUG". The `soft` part has no effect :)

  • If you are shutting down the vm when the server does, yo have to wait for the vm(s)

    (In this shellscript 'root' is the invoker, and 'theuser' is the owner of 'thevm')

    I know the vms have finished when the output of the command VBoxManage list runningvms returns an empty string.

    I use this in my shell script

        su -c "VBoxManage controlvm thevm acpipowerbutton" -s /bin/bash theuser
        while [ "`su -c 'VBoxManage list runningvms' -s /bin/bash theuser`" != "" ]
            echo waiting for VMs to shutdown
            sleep 3
  • Don't do this:

    VBoxManage controlvm Ubuntu poweroff

    It is equivalent to pulling the power plug on a real computer. You don't want to do this!

    Use the ACPI shutdown method (check the power management setting like Egil suggests) or maybe give the save state method (savestate) a try.

    should probably put the **don't do this!** part before the command. I read the first two lines and ran the command!

    @nisargshah95 May I refer you to the example given by this thread. Always read the all the instructions first and always make an effort to understand any command before running it. Especially true in Linux.

    I understand, but in the most common case, after reading the command, a person would infer that it is the solution (without reading any further)

    I agree @nsane – I've suggested an edit so that this doesn't happen to others.

  • You should poweroff your virtual Ubuntu just like you do poweroff your real hardware. From a commanline on a ssh session remotely issue:

    sudo poweroff

    If you want to save the machine state (similar to suspend/hibernate) use the second point in @htorque's answer.

  • I usually shutdown the VM (Linux) by $ sudo shutdown -h now I guess it is the most gracefull way of terminating the VM because it is shutdown (not poweroff) and provides grace time and (possiblly) the message to the login users.

    The question relates to shutting down the guest OS from the host. This would not have the... er... intended effect, if you ran it from the host machine.

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