How to Install VirtualBox 6.1 on Ubuntu 20.04

VirtualBox is a free and open-source hypervisor for x86 and x86-64 virtualization, which the Oracle Corporation develops. The software targets users wishing to create virtual environments for servers and desktops that allow users and administrations to run multiple guest operating systems on a single computer for either testing methods or production use. VirtualBox may be installed on Windows, macOS, Linux, Solaris, and OpenSolaris.

The following tutorial will teach you how to install VirtualBox on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa by importing the official virtual box repository and installing the most up-to-date version using the command line terminal. The extra benefit for users using this method is that you will receive them instantly from the VirtualBox repository when updates drop.

Update Ubuntu

First, before you begin, perform a quick update to your system to ensure all existing packages are up-to-date to avoid any conflicts during the installation of VirtualBox.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Install Required Packages

The following dependencies will need to be installed to install the application successfully. Most of these packages are already on your system, but running the command can help ensure they are installed.

sudo apt install wget apt-transport-https gnupg2 -y

If you skip and encounter issues, return and just run the command.

Import GPG Key & Repository

Import the GPG Key

The first step in installing VirtualBox latest build is first to add the GPG key to verify the authenticity of the packages.

sudo wget -O- | gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/virtualbox.gpg

Import VirtualBox Repository

The next step is to import the official repository from VirtualBox now.

echo deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/virtualbox.gpg] focal contrib | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/virtualbox.list

Now, update your repository list to reflect the new additions.

sudo apt update

Install VirtualBox

With the setup complete, execute the installation command to install VirtualBox.

sudo apt install virtualbox-6.1 -y

Optionally, ensure that the VirtualBox installation was pulled directly from the source repository and check the current version installed using the apt-cache policy command.

apt-cache policy virtualbox-6.1

Example output:

check virtualbox version installed ubuntu 20.04 lts
check virtualbox version installed ubuntu 20.04 lts

Confirm if VirtualBox was installed successfully. Check the current status as follows.

systemctl status vboxdrv

Example output:

check virtualbox status ubuntu 20.04 lts
check virtualbox status ubuntu 20.04 lts

If by chance this has not been activated, which by default it is when installing, use the following command to activate the service and enable it to be active from system boot.

sudo systemctl enable vboxdrv --now

How to Launch VirtualBox

VirtualBox can be launched immediately from your terminal if open with the following command.


However, many users on desktops would use the following desktop path.

Activities > Show Applications > Oracle VM VirtualBox


launch virtualbox ubuntu 20.04 lts
launch virtualbox ubuntu 20.04 lts

Once open, you will arrive at the main screen, where you can begin to create virtual machines. It is very similar for users coming from VMWare, and users new to virtual machines should check out the VirtualBox user manual.


virtualbox ubuntu 20.04 lts
virtualbox ubuntu 20.04 lts
successfully install virtualbox 6.1 ubuntu 20.04 lts
successfully install virtualbox 6.1 ubuntu 20.04 lts

How to Update/Upgrade VirtualBox

Updating VirtualBox can be done using the command line terminal with the following standard commands you would have used at the start of the tutorial to check your system for updates.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Most newer Linux users usually set up some automatic updates or rely on the notifications from their desktop, especially from a Windows-type background. You should always check using the terminal at least once a week to ensure you are not missing any updates. The terminal method will grab all available updates, ensuring your system is up-to-date.

How to Remove/Uninstall VirtualBox

The removal of VirtualBox is straightforward. For users that want to remove the software entirely, use the following command.

sudo apt autoremove virtualbox* --purge -y

Note that this will delete all data, including all database data added with the –purge flag. Do not use the purge end flag if you wish to keep the data.

Next, remove the repository sources file using the following command.

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

Optionally, you can remove the GPG key if you prefer.

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

Comments and Conclusion

Overall, out of the many virtual machine software on the market, VirtualBox is one of the top players supplying an excellent selection of host and client combinations such as Windows from XP onwards, any Linux level 2.4 or better, Windows NT, Server 2003, Solaris, OpenSolaris, and even OpenBSD Unix.


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