The purpose of VirtualBox Guest Additions is to enable some very important features in virtual machine. They help get you a full screen of the installed guest Operating System, enable drag and drop of files from the guest OS to the host OS. Furthermore, you will enjoy the copy and paste to clipboard feature. Once I installed Pop!_OS on VirtualBox, I realized that I could not do any of the above functions. The virtual machine window was so small and boring to work with, but with VirtualBox guest additions, everything then made sense.

The following guide will help you on the quest to enjoy the features listed above, with just a few steps to follow and you are good to go. To do so, you have to install the guest additions into the virtual machine once you have the guest Operating System. Guest additions have got device drivers and system applications that aid in providing better functionality and usage of the guest OS.

Step 1. Set Up Guest OS on VirtualBox

Before you can get the guest additions, you need to have set up your virtual machine first because this is where the guest additions will be installed. You can follow our guide on how to install Pop!_OS on VirtualBox.

Step 2. Prepare Virtual Machine for Guest Addition Installation

Before you install VirtualBox guest additions on Pop!_OS, you need to first update and upgrade the package list on the guest OS.

  • To update, use sudo apt update. Open the terminal on your virtual machine and type the command above, just as follows;
  • To upgrade, run the following command on your terminal, sudo apt upgrage;

Then type (Y) to allow the upgrade to continue.

  • Power Off the virtual machine by clicking on (X) at the top right of your terminal. Choose power-off the machine and proceed to tap OK. Just like as shown on the image below;
  • Once the virtual machine has been powered off, open virtualBox, then select the guest OS you are dealing with. Click on settings, general, then advanced, you will see both shared clipboard and drag and drop features. Tap on the downward arrows on their right and choose bidirectional for both, so as to enable the features. The whole process is shown on the image below;

Once done, click on start to get Pop!_OS running again.

Step 3. Install VirtualBox Guest Additions Dependencies on Pop!_OS

The virtual machine is ready, all that is remaining is to install the dependencies required for Guest Additions. The following command will help you install guest additions dependencies, you just have to run it on your terminal, then type your administrative password, an type (Y) to agree;

sudo apt install build-essential dkms linux-headers-$(uname -r)

Step 4. Insert Guest Additions CD Image

On the same VirtualBox window, at the top left corner, tap on devices and choose insert guest additions CD image.

To insert the CD image, you need to tap on the option of run, on the small window that ops up, just like the image below portrays.

Once this is done, you will see that you are able to switch to full screen mode. Just tap on view, then choose full screen and switch. You will attain a full screen, just like the one shown below;

Step 5. Enable Shared Clipboard, Drag and Drop with VirtualBox Guest Additions

You can enable shared clipboard where you can copy and paste text from the host OS to the virtual machine and vice versa, and being able to share files from the virtual machine to the host OS and vice versa. To do this, you need to run the following command on your terminal;

sudo apt install virtualbox-guest-dkms

This is the way it will look like on your terminal;

[email protected]:~$ sudo apt install virtualbox-guest-dkms
[sudo] password for cheronohvalentine: 
Sorry, try again.
[sudo] password for cheronohvalentine: 
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  virtualbox-guest-dkms
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 625 kB of archives.
After this operation, 7,381 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 http://ppa.launchpad.net/system76/pop/ubuntu groovy/main amd64 virtualbox-guest-dkms all 6.1.18-dfsg-3ubuntu1pop0~1616428609~20.10~08b7cc4 [625 kB]
Fetched 625 kB in 2s (341 kB/s)                
Selecting previously unselected package virtualbox-guest-dkms.
(Reading database ... 212402 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../virtualbox-guest-dkms_6.1.18-dfsg-3ubuntu1pop0~1616428609~20.10~08b7cc4_all.deb ...
Unpacking virtualbox-guest-dkms (6.1.18-dfsg-3ubuntu1pop0~1616428609~20.10~08b7cc4) ...
Setting up virtualbox-guest-dkms (6.1.18-dfsg-3ubuntu1pop0~1616428609~20.10~08b7cc4) ...
Loading new virtualbox-guest-6.1.18 DKMS files...
Building for 5.11.0-7612-generic
Building initial module for 5.11.0-7612-generic
Done.

vboxguest.ko:
Running module version sanity check.
 - Original module
   - Found /lib/modules/5.11.0-7612-generic/kernel/drivers/virt/vboxguest/vboxguest.ko
   - Storing in /var/lib/dkms/virtualbox-guest/original_module/5.11.0-7612-generic/x86_64/
   - Archiving for uninstallation purposes
 - Installation
   - Installing to /lib/modules/5.11.0-7612-generic/updates/

vboxsf.ko:
Running module version sanity check.
 - Original module
   - Found /lib/modules/5.11.0-7612-generic/kernel/fs/vboxsf/vboxsf.ko
   - Storing in /var/lib/dkms/virtualbox-guest/original_module/5.11.0-7612-generic/x86_64/
   - Archiving for uninstallation purposes
 - Installation
   - Installing to /lib/modules/5.11.0-7612-generic/updates/

depmod...

DKMS: install completed.

With the above command, you are now able to enjoy the features of drag and drag, and shared clipboard.

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