How to Install VirtualBox 7.0 on Debian 12, 11 or 10

VirtualBox 7, the latest version of the renowned open-source virtualization software, offers many new features and improvements tailored for Debian users. This guide will focus on how to install VirtualBox 7.0 on Debian 12 Bookworm, Debian 11 Bullseye, or Debian 10 Buster using the official APT repository.

Key Features of VirtualBox 7 for Debian Users

  • Full VM Encryption: Enhanced security measures include the ability to encrypt virtual machines, safeguarding your data thoroughly.
  • Cloud VM Integration: VirtualBox 7 allows for seamless management of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure virtual machines alongside your local VMs.
  • Performance Monitoring: A new utility has been added to the GUI, offering real-time performance statistics for virtual machines.
  • Guest Control Improvements: The latest version simplifies maintenance by automatically updating Guest Additions for Linux guests.
  • Enhanced 3D Support: Improved graphics capabilities are now available thanks to new 3D support based on DirectX 11.
  • Virtual TPM Devices: Virtual TPM 1.2 and 2.0 devices have been added for cryptographic operations, offering a secure and isolated environment.

With these robust features, VirtualBox 7.0 elevates the virtualization experience, offering Debian users a secure, efficient, and user-friendly platform. Stay tuned for the step-by-step guide on installing VirtualBox 7.0 on your Debian system.

Section 1: Import VirtualBox APT Repository into Debian 12, 11 or 10

Step 1: Updating Your Debian System Before VirtualBox Installation

Before we dive into the installation of VirtualBox 7.0, it’s crucial to ensure your Debian system is up-to-date. Keeping your system’s packages current helps avoid any potential hiccups during installation due to outdated software components.

First, let’s update the package list on your Debian system. This step keeps your system informed about the latest available versions of each package. Open your terminal and run the following command:

sudo apt update

After updating the package list, let’s upgrade the packages themselves. This step will replace any outdated packages with their latest versions. You can do this by executing the following command:

sudo apt upgrade

Step 2: Install Initial Packages Required By VirtualBox on Debian

For a successful installation of VirtualBox, specific prerequisite packages must be present on your system. While most of these packages are likely already installed on your Debian system, it’s always a good practice to double-check.

Run the following command to ensure all the required dependencies are installed:

sudo apt install dirmngr ca-certificates software-properties-common apt-transport-https curl -y

If you encounter installation issues in the following steps, consider revisiting this step and re-running the command.

Step 3: Import VirtualBox GPG Key on Debian

To ensure the authenticity and integrity of the packages that will be installed, we need to import a GPG (GNU Privacy Guard) key. The GPG key is part of a public key cryptography system that verifies that the installed packages are genuine and sourced from the official VirtualBox repository.

To import the GPG key, execute the following command:

curl -fSsL | gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/virtualbox.gpg > /dev/null

Step 4: Adding the VirtualBox Repository on Debian

The following command is compatible with all currently supported stable releases of Debian, which at this time are Bookworm, Bullseye, and Buster.

Now, let’s add the VirtualBox repository to your system. This repository contains the VirtualBox packages we will install in the following steps.

Run the following command to add the repository:

echo "deb [arch=$( dpkg --print-architecture ) signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/virtualbox.gpg] $(lsb_release -cs) contrib" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/virtualbox-7.list

After adding the VirtualBox repository, update your system’s repository list again. This step ensures that your system recognizes the newly added VirtualBox repository. You can do this by executing the following command:

sudo apt update

You’ve successfully incorporated the VirtualBox APT repository into your system with these steps. You’re now ready to proceed with the installation of VirtualBox 7.0.

Section 2: Install VirtualBox 7.0 on Debian 12, 11 or 10

Now that we’ve successfully incorporated the VirtualBox repository let’s install VirtualBox 7.0 on your Debian system.

Step 1: Install VirtualBox 7.0 and Debian Headers

The first step is to install VirtualBox 7.0 and the corresponding Debian headers for your system’s kernel version. These headers are necessary for VirtualBox to function correctly. Run the following command to install VirtualBox 7.0 and the appropriate Linux headers:

sudo apt install virtualbox-7.0 linux-headers-$(uname -r) -y

This command instructs Debian to fetch and install VirtualBox 7.0 and the suitable Linux headers from the repository for your specific kernel version.

Step 2: Verifying VirtualBox Installation on Debian

As an optional but recommended step, you can verify that the VirtualBox installation was sourced from the repository we added earlier. We can use the apt-cache policy command for this, which provides information about the installed package’s priority, version number, and origin repository.

Run the following command to check the installation:

apt-cache policy virtualbox-7.0

Upon executing the command, you’ll receive an output similar to the following:

Screenshot of apt-cache policy command for VirtualBox 7 on Debian Linux.Pin
Using apt-cache policy to verify VirtualBox 7 details on Debian Linux.

Carefully examine the output, ensuring that the version number matches VirtualBox 7.0 and the repository is indeed the official VirtualBox repository we previously added.

Step 3: Checking the VirtualBox Service Status on Debian

With the installation confirmed, let’s check the current status of the vboxdrv service. This service is responsible for managing VirtualBox kernel modules. We can check the service status by executing the following command:

systemctl status vboxdrv

This command provides the service’s status, detailing whether it’s active or running. Here’s an example of what you might see:

Screenshot of systemctl command showing vboxdrv status with VirtualBox 7 on Debian Linux.Pin
Using systemctl to check the vboxdrv status after installing VirtualBox 7 on Debian Linux.

You should see an output indicating that the service is active, which signifies a successful installation.

Step 4: Enabling and Starting the VirtualBox Service (If Required)

In some cases, the vboxdrv service may not be activated by default after the installation. To start the service and set it to run automatically at system boot, use the following command:

sudo systemctl enable vboxdrv --now

Running this command ensures the VirtualBox service operates correctly and your system is ready for VirtualBox 7 usage.

Section 3: Initiating VirtualBox 7.0 on Debian 12, 11 or 10

With VirtualBox 7.0 successfully installed and the essential service confirmed as operational, we can now initialize the application. This enables us to begin creating and managing our virtual machines.

Starting VirtualBox via the Terminal on Debian (Optional)

VirtualBox can be launched via a simple command for those who prefer working directly from the terminal. To do so, enter the following command in your terminal:


This command starts up the VirtualBox application, giving you the power to manage your virtual machines directly from your terminal.

Launching VirtualBox from the Desktop on Debian

Launching VirtualBox through the desktop environment may be more convenient for users who favor a graphical interface. It can quickly be done by following these steps:

  1. Locate the Activities option at the top of your screen and click on it.
  2. Choose Show Applications from the dropdown menu.
  3. Find and select Oracle VM Virtualbox from the list of applications.
Screenshot of launching VirtualBox 7 on Debian Linux through the application GUI icon.Pin
Quick launch of VirtualBox 7 on Debian Linux using the application’s graphical user interface icon.
Screenshot of a successfully launched VirtualBox 7 interface on Debian Linux.Pin
Proof of a successful VirtualBox 7 installation and launch on Debian Linux.

Section 4: Install VirtualBox Extension Pack on Debian 12, 11, or 10 (Optional)

The VirtualBox Extension Pack is an optional but highly beneficial add-on that can significantly enhance your VirtualBox experience by providing several advantageous features. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to install it.

Step 1: Download the VirtualBox 7.0 Extension Pack on Debian

The Extension Pack version you download should match the version of VirtualBox installed on your Debian system. To determine your VirtualBox version, execute the following command:

vboxmanage -v | cut -dr -f1

This command will return the version number in a format similar to ‘7.0.x’. With this information, you can proceed to download the appropriate Extension Pack using the wget command:


In this command, replace each instance of ‘7.0.x’ in the URL with your specific VirtualBox version.

Step 2: Install the VirtualBox 7.0 Extension Pack on Debian

To install the Extension Pack that you just downloaded, use the vboxmanage command:

sudo vboxmanage extpack install Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack-7.0.x.vbox-extpack

During this installation process, you will be asked to agree to Oracle’s license terms and conditions. Type “y” and press Enter to confirm your agreement.

Step 3: Verifying the Version of the Installed Extension Pack on Debian

To validate the version of the Extension Pack that you installed, use the following command:

vboxmanage list extpacks

This command will display vital information about the installed Extension Packs, including their version numbers.

Screenshot showing the VirtualBox 7 extension pack listed and installed on Debian Linux.Pin
Demonstration of the VirtualBox 7 extension pack being successfully listed and installed on Debian Linux.

Step 4: Adding User to the vboxusers Group on Debian

Before using VirtualBox, your user account must be added to the vboxusers group. This can be achieved by running:

sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers $USER

You’ll need to reboot your system for these changes to take effect. After logging back in, verify that your user account has been successfully added to the vboxusers group by using:

groups $USER

This command generates a list of groups your user account is affiliated with. Confirm that vboxusers is part of this list. After these steps, you will be fully equipped to enjoy the enhanced features of the VirtualBox Extension Pack.

Section 5: Additional Commands for VirtualBox on Debian

This section provides insights into various supplementary commands and strategies that can streamline the management of VirtualBox on your Debian system.

Keeping VirtualBox Updated on Debian 12, 11 or 10

Ensuring that your VirtualBox installation is consistently updated is paramount. This can be achieved by using the terminal to inspect and implement updates. Use the following command to perform this action:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Uninstalling VirtualBox 7.0 on Debian 12, 11 or 10

If at any point you decide to remove VirtualBox from your system entirely, the following command allows you to do so:

sudo apt autoremove virtualbox-7.0 --purge

Take note that using the --purge flag will eliminate all data, including any associated database data, of VirtualBox. If you wish to retain your data, omit the --purge flag from the command.

Removing the VirtualBox 7.0 Repository Sources File from Debian

If you wish to remove the repository sources file, you can accomplish this by executing the following command:

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/virtualbox-7.list

Option to Remove the VirtualBox GPG Key

Finally, if you choose to delete the GPG key as well, this can be achieved using the command below:

sudo rm /usr/share/keyrings/virtualbox.gpg

With these commands and techniques, you can effectively manage your VirtualBox installation, ensuring it remains updated and removing it entirely if necessary.


This guide has offered a comprehensive walkthrough for installing VirtualBox 7.0 on Debian 12 Bookworm, Debian 11 Bullseye, or Debian 10 Buster. We’ve covered updating your Debian system, installing dependencies, adding the GPG key, and including the VirtualBox repository. The guide also addresses the actual VirtualBox 7.0 installation process, confirming the installation, checking VirtualBox service status, and launching the service. We’ve briefly discussed the optional VirtualBox Extension Pack installation for added features. Additionally, we’ve shared supplementary commands and techniques to manage your VirtualBox setup, such as updates and uninstallation instructions if needed.

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