Patrick Gaskin

Configuring VirtualBox autostart on Linux

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

1. Configuration files


  • sudo nano /etc/default/virtualbox then add:


  • 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