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

Subscribe to get updates delivered to your inbox

About Silver Moon

Php developer, blogger and Linux enthusiast. He can be reached at [email protected]. Or find him on

24 Comments + Add Comment

  • Worked perfectly!!!

  • Not work

    /etc/init.d/vboxdrv: /usr/share/virtualbox/src/vboxhost/do_dkms: not found
    (Failed, trying without DKMS)
    Recompiling VirtualBox kernel modules …failed!

  • ı took —> sudo: /etc/init.d/vboxdrv: command not found ????

  • This is beautiful! Works majestically!

  • I Put sudo /ect/init.d/vboxdrv setup Command Not Found.

    • Try this:
      sudo /sbin/rcvboxdrv setup

      • Same error

      • i get sudo /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup
        sudo: /etc/init.d/vboxdrv: command not found
        :( more than one weak and no solution !!!

  • Deu certo!

  • It works fine. thankyou very much!

  • Thanks a lot!

  • Wow. You, dear madam / sir deserve a medal.

    Thanks a lot.

  • Thanks , helped me :)

  • worked awesomely ! thanks to author … ^_^

  • i’m getting….Please help with a possible solution

    Stopping VirtualBox kernel modules …done.
    Recompiling VirtualBox kernel modules …failed!
    (Look at /var/log/vbox-install.log to find out what went wrong)

  • great… Thanks

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

    • Try typing ‘setup’ after ….drv

  • 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?

    • ‘sudo apt-get update’ and then ‘sudo apt-get upgrade’

  • Thanks very much!!!

  • Thanks a lot…

  • more distributions?

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

Leave a comment