Virtualbox can't boot new Whonix VMs (but old ones boot fine)

Hi there. I think this is an issue with my host system and virtualbox, but I ask it here in case anyone has encountered something similar.

I recently bought a Dell Latitude E6430 laptop with 8 and did a minimal Ubuntu 18.04 install onto it (current version 18.04.4). I do everything out of virtual machines, so migrating my data from my old Thinkpad just involved importing a bunch of .ova files.

The VMs created from my old .ova files work fine, as do any clones made of them. However, when I attempt to create any new virtual machines, they are unable to boot. This is true when I use the “New” function to install a .iso file into a VM (Linux Lite) and when I try to import a .ova (Whonix).

It doesn’t throw up any error messages I can see, but I admit I’m not very good at debugging.

For the new linux lite install, I started with the Virtualbox settings I’ve always used for it, then tried fiddling around a bunch, but nothing works. My old Linux Lite VMs and their clones continue to work fine with those settings. For the Whonix .ova, I use it with out-of-the-box settings, and they can’t boot, while I’m doing the same with my old VMs and their clones and they can. I can get to the boot option screen and try booting into recovery mode, but it still crashes.

I’ve been poking around for solutions to this off and on for a few weeks before bugging you all about it. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Host system: Ubuntu 18.04.4 on Dell Latitude E6430 with 7.7gb ram Virtualbox: 5.2.34_Ubuntu (just installing through the basic repos, I’d rather keep things simple in my host and not add other repositories)

Welcome to Whonix forums and thank you for your question!

Whonix XFCE version was build for VirtualBox version 6.1.4. Try upgrade VirtualBox.

VirtualBox issue. Not a Whonix issue.

VirtualBox is produced by virtualbox.org. Not whonix.org. For basic running of VirtualBox can get better support from your distribution and virtualbox.org as per https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Free_Support_Principle

Virtualbox: 5.2.34 is unsupported for running Whonix.

Thanks for the quick reply.

So the problem then as far as Whonix is concerned is that the current version of Whonix no longer works with the version of Virtualbox distributed in the base Ubuntu repos. I’ll get the current version of VB and report back.

In my ‘old’ machines that still work,

cat /etc/whonix_version

says it’s version 15, so I guess that means this VirtualBox version stopped being supported very recently? I keep my Whonix boxes up to date though, so I don’t understand why the old ones would work while the ova files newly downloaded from the site wouldn’t.

Thanks again for your help :slight_smile:

I can confirm that recent Whonix machines work fine in Virtualbox 6.1.6. It’s always a good idea to make sure that the guest additions in the machines, are a match (or very close) to the Virtualbox version running on your host otherwise you will have issues.


Because VirtualBox settings changed between releases. Upgrading inside of VM doesn’t upgrade VM settings on the host.

Just the major version. Only will be upgraded when changing release

Yes, that’s a problem. I can’t really support multiple host operating systems and VirtualBox versions at the same time with currently available resources.

Virtualizer installation is a major stumbling point for many users. Hence, future development direction for Whonix is Whonix-Host, which comes with a pre-installed and pre-configured virtualizer (KVM) by default. See:

added to wiki just now:

Hosts using a non-Debian OS: [image]

Install VirtualBox as per the normal mechanism for your Linux distribution. Whonix ™ has has been tested with, expects VirtualBox version 6.16 or higher.

For example VirtualBox version 5.2.18 has been reported to not be compatible.

Ubuntu hosts: Logo-ubuntusvg.png

Ubuntu bionic ( 18.04LTS ) APT repository ships only VirtualBox version 5.2.18 and Whonix ™ will probably not work.

You might want to release-upgrade to Ubuntu focal ( 20.04LTS ) which provides VirtualBox version 6.16 .

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