How to fix Virtualbox error “Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)” on Ubuntu


I recently installed the latest version of Virtualbox (4.3.12) by downloading the deb files from on Ubuntu 14.04. The installation goes fine, but when trying to run Virtualbox, it reports the following error.

Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)

The VirtualBox Linux kernel driver (vboxdrv) is either not loaded or there is a permission problem with /dev/vboxdrv. Please reinstall the kernel module by executing

'/etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup'

as root. If it is available in your distribution, you should install the DKMS package first. This package keeps track of Linux kernel changes and recompiles the vboxdrv kernel module if necessary.

Looks like some kernel driver has to be compiled for Virtualbox to run properly. But this is easy enough on Ubuntu and does not require a lot of effort. And here are the steps to do the necessary.

First install the kernel headers and build tools.

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential module-assistant 
$ sudo m-a prepare

And now compile virtualbox kernel driver with the commanded as reported by the error message earlier.

$ sudo /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup

The compilation should go fine and finish within a few minutes with an output similar to what is shown below.

$ sudo /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup
Stopping VirtualBox kernel modules ...done.
Recompiling VirtualBox kernel modules ...done.
Starting VirtualBox kernel modules ...done.

Now run Virtualbox again and it should run fine.

Last Updated On : 12th July 2014

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  • bryan

    great… Thanks

  • ONeZetty

    I got “sudo: /etc/init.d/vboxdrv: command not found” o_OU

    • s4d54a

      Try typing ‘setup’ after ….drv

  • Brad McInnes

    I ran the first part, and I got the message “0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 202 not upgraded.” which I thought was rather strange. Then I ran the second part and I got ” /etc/init.d/vboxdrv: command not found”. Does anybody know why, or how to fix this?

  • valentina guerrero

    Thanks very much!!!

  • Δανιδας!!!

    Thanks a lot…

  • sfsdfsd

    more distributions?

  • RoseHosting

    Very concise tutorial. However, you may need to do this again if you update the kernel.