Virtualbox tips - tested on Virtualbox 6.0.4 running on Debian 10.2 host

These tips are for Virtualbox (tested on version 6.0.4 of Virtualbox running on Debian 10.2 Stable host), especially targeted to somewhat experienced users who have successfully installed Virtualbox Guest Additions on their guest, for example those in the community who wish to build LFS on a VM. I am not sure if the same tips will be useful for Virtualbox running on other hosts.

I was finding that guests kept causing crashes due to erratic mouse behaviour as the mouse moved from guest to host or vice-versa, or even mouse pointer being lost within the guest itself, especially if guest was run full-screen without a bordering Virtualbox bordering window on the host. The mouse problems were occuring under Gnome, XFCE and KDE all on the same hardware and OS. After many, many hours, I’ve finally managed to reduce crashes to zero on my system!

The tips have been tested with the following guests: Debian 10.2 Stable, Fedora 31, Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS.

Referring to settings window:

General: Advanced tab, disable Shared Clipboard, disable Drag’n’drop.
System: Motherboard tab, set Pointing Device to PS/2 Mouse, enable I/O APIC
Display: Screen tab, set Graphics Controller to VMSVGA, disable 3D Acceleration

Run the guest in a maximised Virtualbox window on the host not in full-screen mode

Hope that’s of some use :slight_smile:

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I do not have the issues that you have described here and my settings are quite different so I do not think this is a universal thing but thanks for sharing your experience.

General: I use shared clipboard but only Host to Guest
System: my pointing device is USB Tablet, I do have I/O APIC enabled
Display: I have VboxVGA as the Graphics Controller but I do have 3D Acceleration disabled

This just to say there might be something else going on if you want to try these settings for science. :smiley:

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@MichaelTunnell Whatever was going on on my system, I sure am glad it’s stopped now! The problem is as far as I can see it could be in host DE, Virtualbox settings for mouse, display driver, problem with guest additions, problem with guest or guest DE… etc etc. What’s been most disconcerting for me is that the same problems exist across the three distros I tried, as mentioned above, and it’s only those settings that solved the problems for all of them, or seems to have done.

Some of this is based on what I was reading from the manual(!) such as 3D support currently being experimental, which the GUI doesn’t seem to hint at :confused:

@MichaelTunnell Thanks for your feedback :slight_smile: For scientific purposes I ran some further tests as follows:

  1. Left all of the settings according to my own values as above, but tried enabling host-guest clipboard sharing as you suggested. No crashes resulted in any of the three VMs tried (Debian 10.2, Fedora 31, Ubuntu 18.04.3) :+1: I then got adventurous and tried bidirectional clipboard sharing, still no crashes on any of the VMs :+1:

  2. Switched back to all the settings according to my own values as above, but tried switching pointing device to USB Tablet as you suggested. Debian remained rock-solid, no crashes, no problems even when VM was in full-screen mode or in non-maximised or maximised non-full-screen mode i.e. inside a bordered window. :+1: This was a real joy to see as this is the setup I’d like to use for building LFS. Ubuntu likewise remained pretty solid though sometimes lost pointer in full-screen mode, but recovered it using keyboard shortcut Ctrl-F to toggle-off full-screen mode. Fedora 31 started losing pointer unrecoverably in these tests though whether or not in full-screen mode and the VM had to be shut down. It wouldn’t recover using Ctrl-F. Upshot of this is I’m wondering if recent updates on my Debian host and guest and Ubuntu guest have managed to patch something, so hopefully Fedora will be fixed too. Meantime Fedora works fine with PS/2 Mouse as input :+1:

I have not run tests on switching Display settings to VboxVGA as on p51 of the current pdf version, the manual states that VMSVGA is the default for Linux guests and that VBoxVGA should be used for legacy guest OSes. I think on my system I was getting a warning that this driver would not be supported as of the next version, before I changed to VMSVGA but I’m not certain.

I’m just looking forward to a stable VM now for when I build LFS!