Why is my VirtualBox VM not starting properly?


I’ve just wasted quite a bit of time trying to figure out why one of my VirtualBox VMs wasn’t starting properly, so I thought I would share the experience here in case anyone else has a similar issue…

It all started because I decided to fire up an OL6 VM, that I hadn’t used for a little while. It started up fine and I figured I should probably patch the OS and the VirtualBox Guest Additions. The first thing I did was a “yum update” to bring it up to OL6.4 and the the latest UEK2. Once that was complete I did a reboot and that is where the issue started. The VM booted in the normal fashion, but then hung at this point.


I was able to SSH to the VM, so I knew it wasn’t a complete disaster, but something was definitely wrong.

I tried an interactive startup, just to see if the main part of the startup was actually OK, as the white bar suggests. Sure enough, everything started as expected, then just hung after the last prompt.

Next, I started up in single user mode. That went fine, so I switched to full user mode using “init 3”. That was also went OK. Rather than doing “init 5” I just typed “startx”, which produced a big pile of garbage. So X was mangled, but I wasn’t getting kicked back to the prompt.

Before embarking on a mission to fix X I decided to upgrade the VirtualBox Guest Additions. That removed the old 4.2.6 version and installed the 4.2.10 version. Once complete I rebooted and everything worked fine. 🙂

Normally I try to keep my Linux kernels and VirtualBox Guest Additions up to date, but even when I’ve let VMs like this fall by the wayside I’ve not encountered this before.

Anyway, I can chalk that up to experience. 🙂



Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

2 thoughts on “Why is my VirtualBox VM not starting properly?”

Comments are closed.