Whonix ™ in VirtualBox - Troubleshooting - Whonix ™ does not Start?

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< VirtualBox


Black screen? → See this.

Topics on this page are sorted roughly in order of issue prevalence. More common issues are on top.

General VirtualBox Troubleshooting Steps[edit]

Ambox notice.png In many situations, the following steps will fix VirtualBox issues.

  1. Whonix old logo.png Use the stable version of Whonix ™ for VirtualBox
  2. Computer n screen.png Virtualbox logo.png Use the recommended VirtualBox host software version 6.1.14.
  3. Cli3.png Virtualbox logo.png To ensure the recommended version of VirtualBox guest additions is installed in Whonix ™, in both Whonix-Gateway ™ VM and Whonix-Workstation ™ VM run.
    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

  4. Cd-699786640.jpg Virtualbox logo.png Do not use VirtualBox guest additions from CD. [1]
  5. Tux.png Linux users only: use the recommended host Linux kernel version. That the same version as Debian buster is using linux-image-amd64 [archive]. [2]
  6. Tux.png Linux users only: use the recommended Linux distribution Debian Linux [archive] version buster as host operating system.
  7. Windows logo - 2012.svg.png Windows users only: consider running Whonix ™ from a Linux computer rather than Windows computer, see Host Operating System Selection. [3]



If the "Failed to load unit 'PATM' (VERR_SSM_FIELD_NOT_CONSECUTIVE)." error appears, VT-x must be enabled in BIOS settings, see instructions.

VT-x is disabled in BIOS[edit]


If the following error message appears.

Failed to open a session for the virtual machine Whonix-Gateway-XFCE.

VT-x is disabled in the BIOS.


AMD-V is disabled in the BIOS (or by the host OS).

Then enable VT-x in BIOS settings.

Enable VT-x in BIOS[edit]

Go to your BIOS settings. For basic instructions, see: How to Change Computer BIOS Settings [archive].

Then enable VT-x. This is sometimes also called AMD-V, virtualization, SVM mode or MIT perhaps under Advanced Core settings.

Updating/Upgrading while VMs are Running[edit]

Error In supR3HardenedWinReSpawn[edit]

VirtualBox supR3HardenedWinReSpawn.png
Do not update whilst the VMs are running, otherwise VirtualBox must be reinstalled.

VMMR0InitVM: Revision mismatch[edit]

debian kernel: VMMR0InitVM: Revision mismatch, r3=132055 r0=130347

This happens when upgrading VirtualBox on the host while existing VMs are still running. The solution is to shut down and restart all VMs.

Disk Space[edit]

E_INVALIDARG (0x80070057)[edit]

This might relate to a low disk space issue -- research the issue further with search engines.

Non-functional Shared Clipboard and Drag and Drop[edit]

If the shared clipboard and drag’n’drop to/from host is non-functional, this can relate to the version of guest additions installed in Whonix and/or the version of VirtualBox running on the host. [4]

  1. Apply General VirtualBox Troubleshooting Steps.
  2. VirtualBoxSettingsGeneralAdvanced tab'Check' shared clipboard and drag and drop

It might still not work, see: VirtualBox Guest Additions Bugs Reporting.

Screen Issues[edit]

Screen Resolution Bug[edit]

VirtualBox Screen Resolution Bug
Normal presentation

If the display presents like the image on the right-hand side, then you are affected by a screen resolution bug which only occurs in VirtualBox.

To correct the resolution, first apply the General VirtualBox Troubleshooting Steps.

If the issue still persists, try one of the following workarounds to correct the resolution.

VirtualBox Virtual Screen Menu Workaround

  1. Power off the VM.
  2. Restart the VM.
  3. Maximize the VM window after start of the VM as soon as possible.
  4. VirtualBox VM WindowViewVirtual Screen 1Choose any, resize to another resolution
  5. VirtualBox VM WindowViewAuto-resize Guest Display

Desktop Resolution Settings Workaround

If the method above did not work, another option is the following. Inside the virtual machine:

XFCE Start MenuSettingsDisplayResolution:Choose a higher resolution resolutionApply

VirtualBox VMSVGA Graphics Controller Setting Workaround

If it still does not work, a final option is the following.

Inside the virtual machine [5]:

On the host:

  1. Power off the VM.
  2. VirtualBoxclick a VMSettingsDisplayGraphics ControllerVMSVGAOK (This is already the case in newer Whonix ™ versions.)
  3. VirtualBoxclick a VMSettingsDisplayGraphics Controllerincrease slider for Video Memory to 128OK (This is already the case in newer Whonix ™ versions.)
  4. Restart the VM.
  5. Maximize the VM window after start of the VM as soon as possible.
  6. If necessary, try again one of above workarounds.

VirtualBox Guest Additions Bugs Reporting

Occasionally screen resolution problems might still persist, see: VirtualBox Guest Additions Bugs Reporting.

Black Screen[edit]

If a black screen appears, try the following possible solutions.

  1. Install the recommended version of the VirtualBox host software.
  2. Apply the General VirtualBox Troubleshooting Steps.
  3. Reboot.
  4. If the issue persists, try the following workarounds.

If this solution or any of the workarounds worked for you, please report this in Whonix ™ forums [archive].

Workaround 1: Try Other VirtualBox Virtual Graphics Controller Settings

  1. Power off the VM.
  2. VirtualBoxclick a VMSettingsDisplayGraphics ControllerVMSVGAOK (Or try other settings there.) [6]
  3. VirtualBoxclick a VMSettingsDisplayGraphics Controllerincrease slider for Video Memory to 128OK (This is already the case in newer Whonix ™ versions.)
  4. Restart the VM.

Workaround 2: Boot Once Without Virtual Graphics Adapter This Workaround has been reported functional on a Windows 10 host with both Intel and nVidia GPU capabilities. It is OK to try this workaround on any host operating system.

  1. Power off the VM.
  2. VirtualBoxclick a VMSettingsDisplayGraphics ControllerNoneOK
  3. Start the VM. Wait 2-3 minutes. (Since you've disabled the display, you will see nothing happening)
  4. Click the VirtualBox pane's [X] button. VirtualBox will offer a dialog with 3 options. If Send Shutdown signal is greyed out, cancel the dialog and try this step again every 10-20 seconds.
  5. Send Shutdown signal. If it doesn't shut down immediately, wait a short time and try again.
  6. Once the VM shuts down, restore the Graphics Controller to VMSVGA.
  7. Restart the VM.

If this workaround works, the screen will again be black for 2-3 minutes, but then chkdsk will run and the VM should start normally.

Workaround 3: nomodeset Kernel Parameter

Try to boot with the nomodeset kernel parameter. If that works, please post a forum report and then make the change permanent. [7]

Workaround 4: Virtual Console

If it is possible to switch to a virtual console, this can help with debugging.


Aborted Status[edit]

If the virtual machine ever shows an aborted status, perform these steps:

  1. Try to Assign Less Virtual CPUs; this may help to avoid the issue.
  2. Consider reporting a bug against upstream VirtualBox [archive] -- VirtualBox bugtracker [archive] / VirtualBox forums [archive]. Logs are useful for developers to isolate the problem. [8]

Whonix ™ provides VM images that operate inside of the VM. Whatever occurs inside a VM should never lead to a crash (status aborted) of the host virtualization software, VirtualBox.

To capture the VirtualBox log:

  1. VirtualBoxright click a VMShow Log...LogSaveOK
  2. Zip the log.
  3. Report to VirtualBox support.

Assign Less Virtual CPUs[edit]

Try assigning less virtual CPUs. [9]

In Whonix ™ and above 3 virtual CPUs is now the default setting; 4 were previously used. As a result, this workaround should no longer be required for most users.

  1. Power off the VM.
  2. VirtualBoxclick a VMSettingsSystemProcessorReduce to 3OK


If this error appears, sometimes it helps to:

  1. Try and convert the vmdk to vdi.
  2. Remove the old vmdk from the VM.
  3. Attach the new vdi.

Import Whonix ™ Images[edit]

Using the VirtualBox GUI to import Whonix ™ images should work well in most cases. If not, follow the steps below.

1. Check if there is enough free disk space.

2. Refer to the Whonix ™ Install Screenshots and/or Video Tutorials.

3. Delete any half-imported or otherwise broken virtual machine images.

4. Use the VBoxManage command line tool and copy the output.

VBoxManage unregistervm "Whonix-Gateway-XFCE" --delete

VBoxManage unregistervm "Whonix-Workstation-XFCE" --delete

5. Navigate to the folder where Whonix ™ was downloaded and import Whonix-Gateway ™ and Whonix-Workstation ™ by using the VBoxManage command line tool.

VBoxManage import Whonix-Gateway-XFCE-

6. Clean (anonymize) the output.

Remove operating system user name or any problematic paths.

7. Contact lead Whonix ™ developer Patrick Schleizer and send the output.

Submit a Bug Report[edit]

When reporting an issue in the Whonix ™ forums [archive], please add the exact steps which led to the problem. Also include as much relevant information as possible; see below.

  • Does the problem resolve itself if Whonix-Gateway ™ is launched without starting Whonix-Workstation ™?
  • Which Whonix ™ version was downloaded and from where?
  • Do both Whonix-Gateway ™ and Whonix-Workstation ™ have this issue?
  • Did you:
    • Only download, import Whonix ™ VMs and start Whonix ™?; or
    • Did you start Whonix ™, use Whonix ™, install more software and perform other activities before the black screen issues emerged?
  • Have you previously used older versions of Whonix ™ that worked?
  • What is the host operating system and version?
  • What is the VirtualBox version?
  • Can you switch to a virtual console? This can help with debugging.
  • How much RAM does the host have?

Bugs can also be reported against upstream VirtualBox [archive]: VirtualBox bugtracker [archive] / VirtualBox forums [archive]. Bug reports must be thorough otherwise it will not lead to a solution, see: bug reporting instructions [archive].


  1. Installation of VirtualBox guest additions from CD might also cause issues. [archive]
  2. Host freezing reported with newer kernel version: [archive]
  3. A user reported issues which were gone once switching to Linux [archive].
  4. VirtualBox VMSVGA graphics controller is based on the VMware graphics controller.
  5. VBoxManage modifyvm Whonix-Gateway-XFCE --graphicscontroller vmsvga

    VBoxManage modifyvm Whonix-Gateway-XFCE --graphicscontroller vboxvga

    VBoxManage modifyvm Whonix-Gateway-XFCE --graphicscontroller vboxsvga

  6. [archive]
  7. Reasons of vm to get into "aborted" state [archive]:

    Would you mind sharing with us one of those logs so that we can judge for ourselves? From a machine that got aborted? ZIP it before using the "Upload attachment" at the bottom of your reply form.

  8. VirtualBox ticket: VirtualBox should now prohibit assigning all physical CPUs to a VM and/or fix VirtualBox CPU assignment manual [archive].

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