Recommended VirtualBox Version for use with Whonix ™

From Whonix


Recommended VirtualBox Version[edit]

It is strongly advised to use the recommended VirtualBox version with Whonix ™, otherwise there can be issues. [1]

Info Recommended VirtualBox version.

Download and install.

Icon-sha512.png sha256 (Windows, macOS)

Choose your Linux distribution if listed below or "Linux host operating systems" for generic instructions if not listed here.

Logo-linux-500x500.png Linux host operating systems:

Hosts using a non-Debian operating system:

  • Install VirtualBox as per the normal mechanism for your Linux distribution. No special instructions for Whonix ™ are required. The installation of a recent VirtualBox host software is unspecific to Whonix ™. Consult the documentation of your Linux distribution.
  • Whonix ™ has has been tested with, expects VirtualBox version latest.
  • For example the outdated VirtualBox version 5.2.18 is incompatible.

info General recommendations for users using Linux as a host operating system:

  • Linux kernel version:
    • The recommended host Linux kernel version is the same version that Debian bullseye is using, see linux-image-amd64.
    • Newer host Linux kernel versions are likely to break VirtualBox VMs in many ways since these are unsupported by VirtualBox. [2]
  • Host operating system: The recommended host Linux distributions are:
    • preferebly the stable version of Kicksecure ™ 16, or
    • Debian Linux version bullseye.

Logo-ubuntusvg.png Ubuntu:

Ubuntu hosts:

Ubuntu bionic (18.04LTS) APT repository ships only VirtualBox version 5.2.18 and Whonix ™ will probably not work.

You might want to release-upgrade to Ubuntu hirsute (21.04) and install the virtualbox package from the hirsute-updates backports repository which provides at time of writing VirtualBox version 6.1.26.

See also above "Linux host operating systems".

Logo-debian-500x500.png Debian:

Debian host operating systems:

  • These instructions are for host operating systems running Debian bullseye, which is recommended.
  • Other Debian releases might work, but this is untested. In case of other Debian releases, see also above "Linux host operating systems".
  • To acquire the Recommended VirtualBox version tested with Whonix ™, package virtualbox should be installed from Debian fasttrack repository according to the following instructions. [3]

1. On the host.

Open a terminal.

2. Add Debian the fasttrack repository.

Update the package lists.

sudo apt update

Install the Debian fasttrack signing key.

sudo apt install fasttrack-archive-keyring

Add the Debian fasttrack repository.

echo 'deb bullseye-fasttrack main contrib non-free' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/fasttrack.list

3. Update the package lists again. [4]

sudo apt update

4. Install VirtualBox and Linux kernel headers.

sudo apt install virtualbox linux-headers-$(dpkg --print-architecture)

5. Add your current user to group vboxusers. [5]

sudo adduser $(whoami) vboxusers

6. Done.

The procedure of installing the VirtualBox host software is complete.

Kicksecure-basic-logo.png Kicksecure ™:

Kicksecure ™ host operating systems:

1. On the host.

Open a terminal.

2. Update package lists.

sudo apt update

3. Install VirtualBox and Linux kernel headers.

sudo apt install virtualbox linux-headers-$(dpkg --print-architecture)

4. Add your current user to group vboxusers. [5]

sudo adduser $(whoami) vboxusers

6. Done.

The procedure of installing the VirtualBox host software is complete.

Latest VirtualBox Version[edit]

The latest version of VirtualBox can be seen on, and VirtualBox announcements newsletter archive.

Alternatively the version number can be seen on the VirtualBox Wikipedia page, although there might be times when Wikipedia is outdated.

The user could also consider to subscribe to the VirtualBox announcements newsletter.

See Also[edit]


Novice or intermediate users can generally ignore footnotes (like 1) unless experiencing difficulties or having questions. See also introduction chapter Whonix ™ Footnotes and References.

  1. Whonix ™ was built and tested with VirtualBox version latest. Newer VirtualBox versions not listed on the stable version of Whonix ™ for VirtuallBox, testers-only version of Whonix ™ for VirtuallBox or otherwise in Whonix ™ News are untested by Whonix ™ developers. This can cause issues such as instability (VirtualBox VMs not starting, VMs suddenly closing, host freezing, VM black screen). It is advised to wait until newer versions of VirtualBox are recommended for use with Whonix ™.

    Newer VirtualBox versions are hard to install on Debian bullseye. Perhaps the VirtualBox host software is available (even as a Debian package) from the repository, but VirtualBox guest additions are not available as a Debian package. Using an older version of VirtualBox guest additions (like the pre-installed ones) might lead to broken functionality such as an inability to resize the VM or general instability. Installation of VirtualBox guest additions from ISO might also cause issues.

  3. This is non-ideal but required since VirtualBox in unavailable in official Debian bullseye repository and difficult to install due to VirtualBox Installation Challenges. Alternatively you could install VirtualBox from the Oracle ( Repository, but this comes with different risks. VirtualBox might be updated by VirtualBox developers before being tested with Whonix ™ which could then lead to issues. (Described in footnote here.)
  4. This is to acquire the Debian fasttrack repository package sources.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Optional: See: Also spams ~/.config/VirtualBox/VBoxSVC.log log if not done.