How to Install VirtualBox on Debian 11 Bullseye

How to Install VirtualBox on Debian 11 (Bullseye): A Step-by-Step Guide

This tutorial shows the easiest way to install VirtualBox on Debian 11, a general-purpose full virtualizer app for x86 hardware.

VirtualBox is cross-platform, free, and open-source software that allows you to virtualize the x86 computing architecture. It has allowed open source enthusiasts and IT professionals to host many operating systems on a single host machine for years.

Although VirtualBox is primarily aimed at home users, it is also commonly utilized in professional environments.

Unfortunately, in Debian’s case, due to a lack of cooperation from upstream on security support for older releases, VirtualBox is not available for installation in the official Debian stable repositories.

However, there is an effortless way to install VirtualBox on Debian 11, which we will show you in this guide.

Install VirtualBox on Debian 11 (Bullseye)

The tutorial will be using the sudo command and assuming you have sudo privileges.

Step 1: Download and Import VirtualBox’s GPG Keys

To ensure that the packages we receive to install the VirtualBox are genuine, first, we should download and import the VirtualBox signed GPG keys on our Debian 11 system.

To do so, type the following commands:

wget -q https://www.virtualbox.org/download/oracle_vbox_2016.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -
wget -q https://www.virtualbox.org/download/oracle_vbox.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -
Download and Import VirtualBox’s GPG Keys

Don’t worry about the “Warning: apt-key is deprecated” message. It is only informative and does not indicate an actual error.

Step 2: Add VirtualBox Repository for Debian 11

After importing the GPG keys, we’ll add the official VirtualBox repository to our Debian 11 system. This implies that the update package will be made available with the rest of your system’s regular updates if a new version is released.

To accomplish it, type the command shown below.

echo "deb [arch=amd64] http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian bullseye contrib" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/virtualbox.list
Add VirtualBox Repository for Debian 11

Step 3: Run System Update

Before we proceed with VirtualBox installation on our Debian 11 system, we should update the list of available packages. So, run the below command to update the APT repositories index.

sudo apt update
Updating the list of available packages

As you can see, our new VirtualBox repository is now available and ready to be used.

Step 4: Install VirtualBox on Debian 11 (Bullseye)

Everything is already prepared for the actual installation. Now, to install VirtualBox on Debian 11, run the following commands:

sudo apt install virtualbox-7.0

When prompted, type Y to confirm that you want to install it and press Enter.

Installing VirtualBox on Debian 11 (Bullseye)

That’s all. The VirtualBox is installed and ready to be used on your Debian 11 Linux system.

Step 5: Install VirtualBox Extension Pack

This is an optional step, but I strongly encourage it because it will make working with VirtualBox on your Debian system easier and more convenient. VirtualBox Extension Pack unlocks many great features such as:

  • USB 2 and USB 3 support
  • VirtualBox Remote Desktop Protocol (VRDP)
  • Host webcam passthrough
  • Disk image encryption with AES algorithm
  • Intel PXE boot ROM

One peculiarity should be highlighted here. The VirtualBox Extension Pack’s version must match the version of VirtualBox installed on your Debian 11 system. The simplest method to check this is to run:

sudo dpkg -l | grep virtualbox
Check installed VirtualBox version

As you can see, the version of Virtualbox installed is 7.0.0. Therefore, the Extension Pack with the same version must then be downloaded.

So, use the below wget command to download the Extension Pack for VirtualBox.

If your installation is different, simply replace both places containing 7.0.0 in the command below with the current version. In addition, you can also go straight to the downloads page and look at the available versions.

wget https://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/7.0.0/Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack-7.0.0.vbox-extpack

Next, to install the VirtualBox Extension pack, run the vboxmanage command as follows:

sudo vboxmanage extpack install Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack-7.0.0.vbox-extpack

When prompted to agree the Oracle’s license terms and conditions, type y to confirm and press Enter.

Installing VirtualBox Extension Pack

You can verify that the extension pack was installed correctly by running:

vboxmanage list extpacks
List installed VirtualBox Extension Packs

Step 6: Running VirtualBox on Debian 11

Now you can start using VirtualBox by launching it from the desktop environment’s application menu.

Starting VirtualBox
VirtualBox 7 installed on Debian 11 (Bullseye)

Conclusion

That concludes our guide on installing VirtualBox on Debian 11 (Bullseye). We hope you find this guide useful. Thanks for your time!

We recommend checking the official documentation for individuals who want to learn more about the features offered by VirtualBox and how to use them effectively.

Your feedback and comments are most welcome.

Bobby Borisov
Bobby Borisov

Bobby is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, Bobby has worked as a Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

8 Comments

  1. Hello,

    I try it several but sitill the same problem in point 4.

    [email protected]:~# apt install virtualbox-6.1
    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree… Done
    Reading state information… Done
    E: Unable to locate package virtualbox-6.1
    E: Couldn’t find any package by glob ‘virtualbox-6.1’

    • Hi Gustavo,

      The tutorial has been updated with the recently released version of VirtualBox 7.
      Please, repeat the steps and be sure you don’t miss any.

      Best,
      Bobby

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *