Home Oracle VirtualBox How To Fix “Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)” VirtualBox Error In Ubuntu

How To Fix “Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)” VirtualBox Error In Ubuntu

By sk
Published: Updated: 150.9K views

You installed VirtualBox on your Ubuntu system to run virtual machines. However, when you try to start a VM, you get the frustrating "Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)" error. This is one of the common problems with Virtualbox.

This problem prevents VirtualBox from working properly. In this guide, we provide step-by-step instructions to resolve it. By the end, your VirtualBox setup will run smoothly, letting you utilize virtual machines without errors.


I use Oracle VirtualBox to test various Linux and Unix distributions. I've tested many virtual machines in VirtualBox over the years.

Today, I started Ubuntu 18.04 server VM in my Ubuntu 18.04 desktop and I encountered with the following error:

Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)

The VirtualBox Linux kernel driver (vboxdrv) is either not loaded or there is a permission problem with /dev/vboxdrv. Please reinstall virtualbox-dkms package and load the kernel module by executing

'modprobe vboxdrv'

as root.

where: suplibOsInit what: 3 VERR_VM_DRIVER_NOT_INSTALLED (-1908) - The support driver is not installed. On linux, open returned ENOENT.
Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908) virtualbox ubuntu

"Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)" Error in Ubuntu

I clicked OK to close the message box and and then noticed another one in the background.

Failed to open a session for the virtual machine Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Server.

The virtual machine 'Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Server' has terminated unexpectedly during startup with exit code 1 (0x1).

Result Code: 
NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x80004005)
IMachine {85cd948e-a71f-4289-281e-0ca7ad48cd89}
The virtual machine Ubuntu has terminated unexpectedly during startup with exit code 1 (0x1)

The virtual machine has terminated unexpectedly during startup with exit code 1 (0x1)

I didn't know what to do first. So, I ran the following command to check if it helps.

$ sudo modprobe vboxdrv

And, I got this error:

modprobe: FATAL: Module vboxdrv not found in directory /lib/modules/5.0.0-23-generic

After carefully reading the both error messages, I realized that I should update the Virtualbox application.

If you ever run into the "Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)" error with VirtualBox in Ubuntu and its variants like Linux Mint, all you have to do is just reinstall or update the "virtualbox-dkms" package using command:

$ sudo apt install virtualbox-dkms

Or, it is much better to update the whole system:

$ sudo apt upgrade

Now the error has gone and I could start VMs from VirtualBox without any issues.

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Thomas Blackk August 6, 2021 - 2:20 pm

thanks worked on ubuntu (reboot was required)

sk August 6, 2021 - 5:35 pm

Glad I could help.

Jake October 31, 2021 - 3:44 am

Didn’t work. Output here:

sudo apt install virtualbox-dkms
Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information… Done
You might want to run ‘apt –fix-broken install’ to correct these.
The following packages have unmet dependencies:
systemd-timesyncd : Depends: systemd (= 245.4-4ubuntu3.6)
E: Unmet dependencies. Try ‘apt –fix-broken install’ with no packages (or specify a solution).

sk October 31, 2021 - 11:05 am

Have you tried this command?

sudo apt --fix-broken install

Eswar November 3, 2021 - 4:03 pm

I am facing same issue but didn’t get resolved. I am using Ubuntu 20

AD February 28, 2022 - 11:08 am

Thank you it`s solve my problem

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