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 unavailable 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 use 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 -O- -q https://www.virtualbox.org/download/oracle_vbox_2016.asc | sudo gpg --dearmour -o /usr/share/keyrings/oracle_vbox_2016.gpg
Notice that the command produces no output.
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 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/oracle_vbox_2016.gpg] http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian bullseye contrib" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/virtualbox.list
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
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
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.
So, to verify the exact version of the installed locally VirtualBox, you can use
vboxmanage, a build-in VirtualBox’s command:
vboxmanage -v | cut -dr -f1
As you can see, the version of Virtualbox installed is
7.0.6. 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, replace both places containing
7.0.6 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.
Next, to install the VirtualBox Extension pack, run the
vboxmanage command as follows:
sudo vboxmanage extpack install Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack-7.0.6.vbox-extpack
When prompted to agree the Oracle’s license terms and conditions, type
y to confirm and press
You can verify that the extension pack was installed correctly by running:
vboxmanage list extpacks
Step 6: Add User to vboxusers Group
Before using VirtualBox, you should add your user account to the
vboxusers group. This is quick and simple to accomplish by running:
sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers $USER
Now perform a reboot. After login, check that you are in the
vboxusers group with this command:
Step 7: Running VirtualBox on Debian 11
You can start using VirtualBox by launching it from the desktop environment’s application menu.
That concludes our guide on installing VirtualBox on Debian 11 (Bullseye). We hope you find this guide helpful. 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.
awesome step by step guide — it worked 100% as given —thanx -thanx
Glad to have been of help! 🙂
Best guide, I have found so far.
0 problem during install.
Thank you very much for your kind words! I am happy to have been of help.
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’
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.
Thanks so much! This worked flawlessly. I was surprised when I couldn’t find it in the usual repositories.
Great help, as for the others no problem thanks to your clear and precise help. Thank you very much!
many thanks for your article. I think it’s not a good idea to ignore the deprecated message of apt-key. There’s a good reason for it. Ignoring this messages would cause the system to accept signatures from the third-party keyholder on all other repositories configured on the system. This is bad. A better way would be:
1. wget -q https://www.virtualbox.org/download/oracle_vbox_2016.asc -O- | gpg –dearmour -o /usr/share/keyrings/oracle_vbox_2016.gpg
2. echo “deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/oracle_vbox_2016.gpg] http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian bullseye contrib” | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/virtualbox.list
BTW: There’s no need to use “oracle_vbox.asc” AFAIK.
I completely agree with the points you made. Thanks for that!
The necessary changes have been made, and the guide has been updated.