Ubuntu: Virtualbox does not run: NS_ERROR_FAILURE


here is ubuntu 12.10

virtual-box is somehow not working:

I was trying to install win7 on to an usb-hard-disk.

boinc is switched off and RAM-size is set to 4096 MB (too big ? of possible 8 Gibi )

report of virtual-box is:

the com-object for virtualbox could not be created.    the application is now ended.    Start tag expected, '<' not found.    Location: '/home/$user/.VirtualBox/VirtualBox.xml', line 1 (0), column 1.    /build/buildd/virtualbox-4.1.18-dfsg/src/VBox/Main/src-server/VirtualBoxImpl.cpp[484] (nsresult VirtualBox::init()).    Fehlercode:NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x80004005)  Komponente:VirtualBox  Interface:IVirtualBox {c28be65f-1a8f-43b4-81f1-eb60cb516e66}  

comment of me: why is virtualbox installing xml into folder of $user in .VirtualBox ? should it not be on usb-harddisk ? (with 500 Gibi )

first installation attempt was breaking off (with win7 in 64Bit) should I try virtual-box (ubuntu 64Bit) with win7 in 32Bit ? should I leave RAM-size of virtual-box to default 512 MB ?

thanks for reply


The most simple decision, that i found:

  1. enter into the folder /home/$user/.VirtualBox/
  2. find there file VirtualBox.xml-prev, this is backed up the configurations of Virtual Box
  3. delete VirtualBox.xml
  4. and change name VirtualBox.xml-prev to VirtualBox.xml.


Probably due to some updates. It happened to me. A simple command can fix the problem :

sudo /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup


There seems to be nothing wrong with your Virtual Box settings. However the error you see may be related to a previous fail to install Windows leaving unwanted reference to this installation in your Virtual Box settings (that are usually and correctly located in your $HOME).

The issue also may also have come from an installation to a removable drive. Installing the virtual disk .vdi file to an external USB drive is possible but it may lead to unwanted side effects from changed media location or mount points. In addition we then need to make sure the virtualbox user has read and write access to this external drive. Also we obviously should then not access this USB drive from the virtual OS.

To solve the issue you may find a solution in the following question where people recommend reinstalling Virtual Box:


The file /home/$user/.VirtualBox/VirtualBox.xml is not valid. It's not valid XML. More then likely you edited the file by hand or some other tool did.

Your ram sizes and everything else seem fine.

Can you pastie the config file, maybe it's something easy we can fix.


I had installed VirtualBox from universal repository, and I solved with this command:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure virtualbox-dkms  


Run the following commands in terminal:

ls -la .VirtualBox/VirtualBox.xml*  cp .VirtualBox/VirtualBox.xml-prev .VirtualBox/VirtualBox.xml  


If you're using Oracle Virtualbox you can try recompiling everything by running /sbin/vboxconfig as root which executes vboxdrv.sh. This works with Ubuntu 16.04 and Virtualbox 5.1


I had such an error because ~/.config/VirtualBox/VirtualBox.xml was empty. Just deleting it made it work for me.

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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