Debugging Virtual Machines

Error message: Hardware acceleration not available

This error pop-up message may be raised by VirtualBox (or other hypervisors) because of a setting in the BIOS of the host system. To fix the error:

  • Reboot the computer.

  • Enter the boot menu during start-up: At the very beginning of the system start, typically press the F2 or DEL key. Depending on the computer, other keys might apply (e.g., F12 - watch the screen for information on how to access Setup).

  • The boot manager opens. Use the arrow keys to navigate to the Advanced settings, hit enter, and go to CPU Configuration.

  • In the CPU Configuration, go to Secure Virtual Machine. If there is a [Disabled] flag, hit the enter key to switch to [Enabled].

  • Press Esc, go to Exit > Save changes and exit (or just hit the F10 key). Confirm. The system will reboot now.

  • Back in Windows re-run VirtualBox and start a VM. The error message should no longer appear.

Graphical User Interfaces crashing

Using OpenGL with virtual machines on VirtualBox is still in an experimental phase and may fails, in particular with nvidia graphic cards. To install nvidia drivers, enable non-free packages and install nvidia-detect to retrieve a suitable driver:

  • Open etc/apt/sources.list and change the busterrepository definition (example for server in Germany):

    • original: deb http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ buster main

    • to: deb-src http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ buster main non-free

  • In Terminal update repositories and install nvidia-detect

sudo apt update
sudo apt -y install nvidia-detect

Then, install the nvidia driver (or whatever the previous command recommended):

sudo apt install nvidia-driver

Reboot Debian to finalize:

systemctl reboot