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

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< VirtualBox

Black screen? → See this. Aborted Status? → See this. Guru Mediation? → 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 6.1.18.
  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. Tux.png Linux users only: Add your current user to group vboxusers. [3]
    sudo adduser $(whoami) vboxusers

  8. Windows logo - 2012.svg.png Windows users only: consider running Whonix ™ from a Linux computer rather than Windows computer, see Host Operating System Selection. [4]
  9. Do you have virtualizers other than VirtualBox installed at the same time such as Vmware.jpeg VMware, Hyper-V or Kvmbanner-logo26.png KVM? If you never heard of these product names or do not know what that means then this probably is not your issue. Otherwise don't; see the footnote for further information. [5]
  10. Perhaps a Low RAM issue? Free up Additional Memory Resources and try Whonix-Gateway ™ CLI RAM Saving Mode as per Advice for Systems with Low RAM.
  11. Exclude basic hardware issues.
  12. Run memtestx86+.
  13. Try a non-Whonix VM.
  14. Windows logo - 2012.svg.png Windows 10 users only: Hash Sum mismatch? [archive]



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. [6]

  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 [7]:

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.) [8]
  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. [9]

Workaround 4: Virtual Console

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

Slow Video Playback[edit]


What's better or worse for security, enable VirtualBox hardware-accelerated graphics (3D Acceleration) or disabling CPU mitigations? Please consider resolving that question through Free Support Principle and let us know what you found out. Please use a dedicated forum thread for that.


Host Crash[edit]

Same as below Aborted Status.

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. Apply General VirtualBox Troubleshooting Steps.
  3. Consider reporting a bug against upstream VirtualBox [archive] -- VirtualBox bugtracker [archive] / VirtualBox forums [archive]. Logs are useful for developers to isolate the problem. [10]

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.

Guru Mediation[edit]

Whonix ™ provides VM images that operate inside of the VM. Whatever occurs inside a VM should never lead to a Guru Mediation of the host virtualization software, VirtualBox.

Posting a screenshot of the Guru Mediation screen is probably not required since these all look very similar. [11]

VirtualBox Guru Meditation

A critical error has occurred while running the virtual machine and the machine execution has been stopped.

For help, please see the Community section on [archive] or your support contract. Please provide the contents of the log file VBox.log and the image file VBox.png, which you can find in the /home/sk/VirtualBox VMs/Ubuntu 20.04 Server/Logs directory, as well as a description of what you were doing when this error happened. Note that you can also access the above files by selecting Show Log from the Machine menu of the main VirtualBox window.

Press OK if you want to power off the machine or press Ignore if you want to leave it as is for debugging. Please note that debugging requires special knowledge and tools, so it is recommended to press OK now.

The above text does not contain any technical details which would help to advise how to fix the issue since VirtualBox Guru Meditation can happen for a wide variety of reasons.

Without the contents of the log, probably nobody will be able to help.

  1. Apply General VirtualBox Troubleshooting Steps.
  2. Consider looking through the log for yourself. Use search engines to search for any error messages if you can identify any. Likely the issue has already been discussed by others and likely there is already a solution for the issue described in the same place. Specifically useful it might be to search the offical VirtualBox website since that is presumed the place where most VirtualBox developers and experts are. Try the following search term to limit search results to the VirtualBox website (this is a feature which most search engines support), error message here. Replace error message here with the text you actually want to investigate.
  3. Consider reporting a bug against upstream VirtualBox [archive] -- VirtualBox bugtracker [archive] / VirtualBox forums [archive]. Log is required by VirtualBox developers to be able to isolate the problem.

To capture the VirtualBox log:

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


NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x80004005)

Quote VirtualBox forum moderator [archive]

NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x80004005) is a general failure message when loading a VM. Subsequent lines in the error dialog will give the exact cause of the error. You do NOT have the same error just because you see the generic leader. If you don't provide a log or the supplemental error description then we can't help you.

While this is not the same error as Guru Mediation, all the same information and advice from that chapter applies. Therefore please follow chapter Guru Mediation.

Kernel driver not installed[edit]

error happening in case Linux kernel headers package (linux-headers-amd64) is missing
output of sudo vboxconfig in case Linux kernel headers package (linux-headers-amd64) is missing

Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)

If this is happening on Linux based host operating systems, this is probably because the Linux headers package matching the currently running Linux image package is not installed.

Quote Recommended VirtualBox Version:

Instructions for installing VirtualBox on Debian.png Debian Tux.png Linux can be found for example on the Whonix old logo.png Whonix ™ for VirtualBox with XFCE page, which contains the following text.

* Linux Tux.png: please press expand on the right side.

Once expanded, the recommended instructions will explain how to install VirtualBox.

Instructions on how to install VirtualBox on Debian include, quote:

4. Install VirtualBox and Linux kernel headers.

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-6.1 linux-headers-$(dpkg --print-architecture)

This issue is unspecific to Whonix ™. Not only Whonix ™ VMs will be unable to start. All VMs from any vendor and/or self-created VMs will fail to start. It is a host operating system and VirtualBox issue. If above instructions did not fix the issue, the user can also access to further support resources, see also chapter #Try a non-Whonix VM.

For support requests, please provide the following debug output. Is package linux-headers-amd64 installed? To check, run:

dpkg -l | grep linux-headers-amd64

Is package linux-image-amd64 installed? To check, run:

dpkg -l | grep linux-image-amd64

Assign Less Virtual CPUs[edit]

Try assigning less virtual CPUs. [12]

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 ™ installation screenshots (VirtualBox/XFCE and click expand button) 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.

Try a non-Whonix VM[edit]

  1. "Forget" about Whonix ™ for a moment and imagine you had never heard of the platform. Test the VirtualBox host software first.
  2. Try a VM other than Whonix ™ such as for example Debian buster.
  3. If that does not fix the issue, that means the root issue is not caused by Whonix ™. Therefore it is recommended to attempt to resolve the issue as per Free Support Principle.

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].

See Also[edit]


  1. Installation of VirtualBox guest additions from CD might also cause issues. [archive]
  2. Host freezing reported with newer kernel version: [archive]
  3. Optional: See: [archive] Also spams ~/.config/VirtualBox/VBoxSVC.log log if not done.
  4. A user reported issues which were gone once switching to Linux [archive].
  5. Virtualizers are incompatible with co-installation of other virtualizers at the same time. This is virtualizer specific, not a Whonix ™ specific limitation. Uninstall any other virtualizers and perhaps re-install VirtualBox if it still not functional. [archive]
  6. VirtualBox VMSVGA graphics controller is based on the VMware graphics controller.
  7. VBoxManage modifyvm Whonix-Gateway-XFCE --graphicscontroller vmsvga

    VBoxManage modifyvm Whonix-Gateway-XFCE --graphicscontroller vboxvga

    VBoxManage modifyvm Whonix-Gateway-XFCE --graphicscontroller vboxsvga

  8. [archive]
  9. 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.

  10. [archive]
  11. 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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