Skip to content

Instantly share code, notes, and snippets.

What would you like to do?
Mounting VirtualBox shared folders on Ubuntu Server 16.04 LTS

Mounting VirtualBox shared folders on Ubuntu Server 16.04 LTS

This guide will walk you through steps on how to setup a VirtualBox shared folder inside your Ubuntu Server guest. Tested on Ubuntu Server 16.04.3 LTS (Xenial Xerus)


  1. Open VirtualBox

  2. Right-click your VM, then click Settings

  3. Go to Shared Folders section

  4. Add a new shared folder

  5. On Add Share prompt, select the Folder Path in your host that you want to be accessible inside your VM.

  6. In the Folder Name field, type shared

  7. Uncheck Read-only and Auto-mount, and check Make Permanent

  8. Start your VM

  9. Once your VM is up and running, go to Devices menu -> Insert Guest Additions CD image menu

  10. Use the following command to mount the CD:

sudo mount /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom
  1. Install dependencies for VirtualBox guest additions:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-`uname -r`
  1. Run installation script for the guest additions:
sudo /media/cdrom/./
  1. Reboot VM
sudo shutdown -r now
  1. Create "shared" directory in your home
mkdir ~/shared
  1. Mount the shared folder from the host to your ~/shared directory
sudo mount -t vboxsf shared ~/shared
  1. The host folder should now be accessible inside the VM.
cd ~/shared

Make the mount folder persistent

This directory mount we just made is temporary and it will disappear on next reboot. To make this permanent, we'll set it so that it will mount our ~/shared directory on system startup

  1. Edit fstab file in /etc directory
sudo nano /etc/fstab
  1. Add the following line to fstab (separated by tabs) and press Ctrl+O to Save.
shared	/home/<username>/shared	vboxsf	defaults	0	0
  1. Edit modules
sudo nano /etc/modules
  1. Add the following line to /etc/modules and save
  1. Reboot the vm and log-in again
shutdown -r now
  1. Go to your home directory and check to see if the file is highlighted in green.
cd ~

If it is then congratulations! You successfully linked the directory within your vm with your host folder.


How to point apache's web directory to our folder in the host.

  1. Remove apache's old html directory (WARNING! Backup your data if necessary)
sudo rm -rf /var/www/html	
  1. Add a symbolic link in its place
sudo ln -s ~/shared /var/www/html

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link

commented Jun 15, 2018

Some systems may need option comment=systemd.automount in their fstab entry (source).


This comment has been minimized.

Copy link

commented Dec 7, 2018

this guide is a right way,Many thanks! I found so many ways, but all can't work except this.
below code can mount folder as root user

sudo mount -t vboxsf shared ~/shared

but we hope mount folder as ubuntu user or other, try this:

sudo mount -t vboxsf -o uid=1000,gid=1000 shared ~/shared

ps: through id commond get uid and gid


This comment has been minimized.

Copy link

commented Feb 5, 2019

Great writeup, however if you plan on sharing your apache's web directory through this method, i assume you would face permission issues since you would not be unable to change the group of the contents inside the shared folder. Do correct me if I'm wrong here please.


This comment has been minimized.

Copy link

commented Feb 14, 2019

Nice job, only the mounting of the cdrom is a bit wrong. First, you should create a /media/cdrom if the user doesn't have it already sudo mkdir /media/cdrom. The command should be sudo mount -t iso9660 /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom not sudo mount /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom (Reference: Nice job otherwise!


This comment has been minimized.

Copy link
Owner Author

commented Mar 5, 2019

Hi everyone. I'm really surprised that my gist was getting some user engagement (comments, stars, forks, etc). To be honest I wrote this just for my own reference and I didn't expect it would rank well on Google and get some traffic.

Took me this long to notice since I usually don't get notifications when somebody comments on my gist.

@fursserg @ssy341
While I was making this I used a fresh new install of Ubuntu Server 16.04.3 LTS with default VM settings on VirtualBox (with Windows 7 SP1 as host) so if you're using a different setup from mine then chances are you might get some different results.

As far as I can remember I didn't encountered any issues with Apache with regards to file permissions. It could be an issue if you're using linux as host. I used Win 7 while I was testing this so that could be a factor.

Thank you very much for the tip. I was just about to upgrade my guest to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and I found out that CD-ROM mounting no longer works as expected. Maybe I should make a new version of this guide for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS when I have the time.


This comment has been minimized.

Copy link

commented May 21, 2019

I am using VertualBox 6 and Ubuntu 18.04. I do not see a checkbox that says "Make Permanent" as stated in step 7. On step 10 I get "mount: /media/cdrom: mount point does not exist." error, and on step 15 I get "/sbin/mount.vboxsf: mounting failed with the error: Protocol error" error. Let me know if anyone knows what went wrong. Thanks!


This comment has been minimized.

Copy link

commented May 31, 2019

Host: Windows Server 2012 R2
Guest: Ubuntu Server 18.04 LTS

I had to additionally install following to get the shared folder mounted:

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-guest-utils virtualbox-guest-dkms

After rebooting, the shared folder appears under /media; vboxadd-service.service still fails for me though.


This comment has been minimized.

Copy link

commented Jun 18, 2019

Well, according to the chosen answer here, you could just skip steps 9 - 13 if the guest OS is Ubuntu, this works well when host OS is either Windows or Mac OS.

Sign up for free to join this conversation on GitHub. Already have an account? Sign in to comment
You can’t perform that action at this time.