Virtualized puzzle with Vagrant & Virtualbox

Oh noez! Mai VM iz not bootin after distro updatz! Halp!

Well, sometimes you update something on your distro and suddently your VMs stop working. The fix can be very easy but I tend to always forget it so “I’ll remember it so you don’t have to” as the Nostalgia Critic would say ;)

The symptoms

After some updates and a reboot, your VMs will not start up anymore. If you’re using Vagrant, it usually complains like this :

hoshin@inawen:~/dev/ansiTest % vagrant up
The provider 'virtualbox' that was requested to back the machine
'default' is reporting that it isn't usable on this system. The
reason is shown below:

VirtualBox is complaining that the installation is incomplete. Please
run `VBoxManage --version` to see the error message which should contain
instructions on how to fix this error.

And, VBoxManage will shout at you like this

hoshin@inawen:~/dev/ansiTest % VBoxManage --version 
WARNING: The character device /dev/vboxdrv does not exist.
	 Please install the virtualbox-dkms package and the appropriate
	 headers, most likely linux-headers-generic.

	 You will not be able to start VMs until this problem is fixed.

On a more general note, Vagrant or VirtualBox will say that the

is not available anymore and that
might be your friend, or that you should ensure that
should be installed. But, if you’re like me, those packages are already installed so spamming installation commands won’t do you any good.

The (very simple) fix

On my end, the fix was really simple … reinstalling :

hoshin@inawen:~/dev/ansiTest % aptitude reinstall virtualbox-dkms

Caution : for those of you running the “OSE” version of VirtualBox, don’t forget that you’ll proably want to reinstall the

parckage rather than the

Hope that helps ;)

Martin Bahier

Martin Bahier
Software Craftsman during the day, gamer at night. Or both, depends on my mood

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