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How to install VirtualBox Guest Additions on Windows guest?

written by Anand June 22, 2015

If you want performance and convenience out of your virtual machine (VM) you must install VirtualBox Guest Additions on Windows. We have shown you how to install Virtual Box on Ubuntu / Debian and Windows 7, 8, and 10. But the vanilla VirtualBox has quite a few annoyances like inability to run guest OSes in fullscreen, sharing clipboard, etc. On top of that there is room for improved performance of VirtualBox machines. Install VirtualBox Guest Additions on Windows, eliminate these issues, and take your virtual machines to a new level.

What are VirtualBox Guest Additions?

Guest Additions are extra features that make VirtualBox even more powerful. Some examples of features added by VirtualBox Guest additions are listed below:

  • Better Screen resolution – allows fullscreen operation
  • Automatic resizing of appliance window
  • Seamless mode – guest OS blends in with host OS
  • Shared Clipboard between host and guest OSes
  • Improved performance of guest OS
  • Drag and Drop between guest and host OSes

Installing VirtualBox Guest Additions on Windows guest OSes is the first thing I do after creating a VM. Now let us see how to install Guest Additions in VirtualBox.

Recommended HTPC / Home Server Builds 2017:

Install VirtualBox Guest Additions on Windows

One thing to keep in mind is that Guest Additions, as the name says, are additions to the Guest OS and not the host OS. Therefore, in this case the guest OS running on the virtual machine is Windows (7, 8.X, and 10). The host OS on which VirtualBox is installed can be anything. This is a perfect setup where your host OS is Linux and would like to get on to Windows for few tasks here and there. [Read: Install VirtualBox Guest Additions on Ubuntu and Debian]

Windows VirtualBox Guest Additions setup is extremely simple. You do not have to download Oracle VirtualBox Guest Additions CD. All you have to do is, when Windows virtual appliance is running, go to Devices->Insert Guest Additions CD image as shown in the picture below. This will mount the VBox Guest Additions CD as a drive for installation.

Insert VBox Guest Additions CD

Insert VBox Guest Additions CD

Now open My Computer or My PC, and open the Guest Additions CD. The picture below shows VBox Windows 10 with Guest Additions CD open. Find VBoxWindowsAdditions executable file and double click it to run it. Alternatively, you may also click on the executable file for your architecture (amd64 or x86) to install VirtualBox Guest Additions on Windows.

Run VBox Guest Additions Installer for Windows

Run VBox Guest Additions Installer for Windows

Leave the default options as is and click through the steps to start Guest Additions installation. That is it, just sit and watch. The installer will automatically prepare and install VBox Guest Additions on Windows.

Install VirtualBox Guest Additions on Windows

Install VirtualBox Guest Additions on Windows

Once the installation finishes, reboot your guest OS, and you are done. You should now be able to run the guest OS in fullscreen mode, drag and drop things between guest and host OS, share clipboards, and do much more. In my opinion, if you use VirtualBox then Guest Additions are a must-have. VirtualBox also offers what is known as Extension Pack, which adds some advanced features. But most users do not need the Extension Pack. Go ahead install VirtualBox Guest Additions on Windows guest OS and enjoy added performance and features.

Complete Guide to Setting Up a Home Server on VirtualBox Virtual Machine:
  1. Install VirtualBox - Windows 7/8/10 / Ubuntu/Debian
  2. Install VirtualBox Extension Pack - Linux and Windows Host
  3. Install Guest OS on Virtual Box - Ubuntu Server
  4. Install VirtualBox Guest Additions - Windows Guest / Linux Guest
  5. Update VirtualBox Guest Additions - Windows Guest / Linux Guest
  6. Setup VirtualBox Shared Folder - Windows and Linux
  7. Mount VirtualBox Shared Folder - Windows Guest / Ubuntu Guest
  8. Access USB Drive on VM - Windows and Linux Guest
  9. Configure Home Server on VirtualBox - Ubuntu Server

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Rob June 22, 2015 - 2:57 pm

Thanks for the info, I’m currently playing with a windows 7 host machine with 2 NICs. Do you know how to bind 1 NIC to the guest OS so that I can separate network traffic between the host and guest OS?


Anand June 23, 2015 - 11:32 am

Rob, there is an option to bridge network adapters under Networks. I am away from my VBox right now.

But I do have an article on that scheduled for publication in July.

Cliff December 21, 2015 - 2:20 am

Worth mentioning – If you are running VirtualBbox 5.0.1x, the menu that Displays the [Device] option to allow the user to add the VirtualBox Guest Additions CD is off by default. . To engage the feature, make sure that all VM’s are powered down, right-click the associated VHD and select [Settings]. On the left side of the dialog window, click the [User Interface] icon. On the right side of the screen you will see the {Files, Machine, View, Input, Devices…} menu, Click on the {Devices} down arrow to expand the selections and check {Insert Guest Additions CD image…] Collapse the {Devices} sub menu and click the check box directly to the right of the Files., Machine, View, Input, Devices,…} menu, .then click OK. When the VM is powered up, the menu will show up at the top of the Guest VM screen.

Interestingly, the changes in the User interface will make the change globally; all other VM VHD’s will be changes to display this menu as well.

Hope this helps!

Bill Hills June 28, 2016 - 7:41 pm

Hi Cliff, I followed your process and made sure the selection was set in the devices.
I did not see the menu at the top of the Guest VM screen. I have not seen it anywhere so far.
I am running Windows 10 host with Windows XP SP3 and the latest Virtualbox 5.0.22.
Hope you may have some insight.

Anand June 29, 2016 - 8:23 am


The top menu is from VirtualBox that is running the guest OS and not within the guest OS itself. If you do not see the top menu, try click on the window head and pressing Alt key. That may bring up the menu. The menu can also be hidden sometimes, if this is the case take your mouse pointer to various ends of the screen and it may bring up the menu.

Ivan January 24, 2016 - 7:42 pm

The correct link to the Extension Pack is now https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VirtualBox#VirtualBox_Extension_Pack

You can update your article.

Thank you.

Anand January 27, 2016 - 9:31 pm

Thanks. Done.

Kevin Wilcoxon February 21, 2016 - 10:10 pm

My question is why doesn’t Virtualbox spell this out themselves? Thank goodness for people like you!!!

Hrvoje Kevic January 27, 2017 - 7:31 am

this is what I questioned myself…
And I second this Thank you note


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