If you're running Kali Linux inside a VirtualBox virtual machine, installing the Guest Additions software will help you get the most out of the system. VirtualBox Guest Additions will give the machine more capabilities, such as a shared clipboard with the host system, drag and drop file transfer, and automatic window resizing.

This makes copying data to and from a host system much more convenient. It also changes the VM's resolution automatically when its window is resized, so you don't need to change it manually. Guest Additions will work with just about any Linux distribution, but instructions can differ because of dependencies and package managers. Normally, Kali will automatically detect what platform the operating system has been installed on, and will include Guest Additions (if applicable) by default. If yours isn't working or you just need to know how to use the features, we've got you covered in this guide.

In this guide, we'll be going over the step by step instructions to get VirtualBox Guest Additions installed on Kali Linux. With these instructions, it doesn't matter what host system you're using, as long as the virtual machine is running Kali. This guide assumes that you've already installed Kali in the VM correctly.

In this tutorial you will learn:
  • How to install VirtualBox Guest Addition on Kali Linux
Installation of VirtualBox Guest Additions on Kali Linux
Installation of VirtualBox Guest Additions on Kali Linux
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Kali Linux
Software VirtualBox Guest Additions
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # - requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ - requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Install VirtualBox Guest Additions

Make sure your Kali virtual machine is powered on. Then, follow along with the steps below to install Guest Additions.

  1. Before starting, we need to make sure that Kali is up to date and has all new versions of software installed. Type the following commands in terminal to prepare the system.
    $ sudo apt update
    $ sudo apt full-upgrade
    $ sudo apt -y autoremove
    
  2. You should now be able to use Kali's apt package manager to install VirtualBox Guest Additions. Type the following command in terminal.
    $ sudo apt install virtualbox-guest-x11
    
    If the output tells you that the package is already installed, but you've observed that it's not working, you can reinstall it with the following command.
    $ sudo apt install -y --reinstall virtualbox-guest-x11
    

  3. SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER
    Subscribe to our NEWSLETTER and receive latest Linux news, jobs, career advice and tutorials.


  4. Guest Additions will now be installed, then it's required to restart the VM in order to enjoy the benefits.
    $ reboot
    

That's all there is to it. When Kali finishes loading back up, you'll be able to utilize the shared clipboard, drag and drop function, and automatic resolution resizing. Make sure you enable the shared clipboard and drag and drop option if you wish to use them, from inside the Devices menu.

Enable the shared clipboard and drag and drop features
Enable the shared clipboard and drag and drop features

Closing Thoughts

In this guide, we saw how to install VirtualBox Guest Additions on a Kali Linux VM. VirtualBox's Guest Additions software makes virtual machines much easier to use. Although Kali usually includes Guest Additions by default, this doesn't always work perfectly in the real world. You now know how to manually install the software, as well as enable its features from inside the VirtualBox menus.

FIND LATEST LINUX JOBS on LinuxCareers.com
Submit your RESUME, create a JOB ALERT.
LINUX CAREER NEWSLETTER
Subscribe to NEWSLETTER and receive latest news, jobs, career advice and tutorials.
DO YOU NEED ADDITIONAL HELP?
Get extra help by visiting our LINUX FORUM or simply use comments below.