Configuring VirtualBox autostart on Linux
June 22, 2017

It is often useful to configure VirtualBox virtual machines to automatically start and stop on startup and shutdown. The official documentation is a bit unclear, so I have made a tutorial about how to configure it.

1. Configuration files

/etc/default/virtualbox

  • sudo nano /etc/default/virtualbox then add:
VBOXAUTOSTART_DB=/etc/vbox
VBOXAUTOSTART_CONFIG=/etc/vbox/autostart.cfg

/etc/vbox/autostart.cfg

  • sudo nano /etc/vbox/autostart.cfg then add:
default_policy = deny
# Create an entry for each user allowed to use autostart
myusername = {
allow = true
}
  • sudo chgrp vboxusers /etc/vbox
  • sudo chmod 1775 /etc/vbox
  • Then, for each allowed username: sudo usermod -aG vboxusers USERNAME, then log out and in for it to apply.

2. Choose VMs to automatically start and stop

  • The first time a user configures autostart, the command: VBoxManage setproperty autostartdbpath /etc/vbox needs to be run.
  • Note: The autostart options are stored in the /etc/vbox file, and the VM itself. If moving the vm, the options may need to be set again.
  • VBoxManage modifyvm <uuid|vmname> --autostart-enabled <on|off>
  • You can also: VBoxManage modifyvm <uuid|vmname> --autostop-type <disabled|savestate|poweroff|acpishutdown>

3. Restart VirtualBox autostart service

  • sudo service vboxautostart-service restart
Patrick G
Patrick G
I like to write code. I love open source software. I like to self-host stuff.