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Virtualbox Guru Meditation Critical Error In Linux

By sk
Published: Last Updated on 5,360 Views

I have been testing KVM extensively this week. Today I learned that KVM and Oracle VirtualBox doesn't work at the same time. Up until today, I haven't had a chance to use two virtualization applications at a time, so I am completely unaware that KVM and virtualbox doesn't run simultaneously in Linux. When one of a KVM instance is running, I started a VM from VirtualBox, and it didn't start but showed a error box titled - Virtualbox Guru Meditation.

Please note that KVM and VirtualBox does work side by side without actually uninstalling anyone. However, I can't use them concurrently. This error is new to me, so I figured that posting this guide here will help someone.

KVM and VirtualBox doesn't work at the same time

Here is the full error message when I tried to start VM from oracle virtualbox when a KVM guest machine is already running:

Virtualbox Guru Meditation

A critical error has occurred while running the virtual machine and the machine execution has been stopped.

For help, please see the Community section on https://www.virtualbox.org or your support contract. Please provide the contents of the log file VBox.log and the image file VBox.png, which you can find in the /home/sk/VirtualBox VMs/Ubuntu 20.04 Server/Logs directory, as well as a description of what you were doing when this error happened. Note that you can also access the above files by selecting Show Log from the Machine menu of the main VirtualBox window.

Press OK if you want to power off the machine or press Ignore if you want to leave it as is for debugging. Please note that debugging requires special knowledge and tools, so it is recommended to press OK now.

Virtualbox Guru Meditation Error

Then I stopped the KVM guest, closed the KVM application and started VM from virtualbox, it worked!

I also tried it in reverse. I started a VM from virtualbox and then started a KVM guest, but the KVM guest doesn't start.

Error starting domain: internal error: process exited while connecting to monitor: ioctl(KVM_CREATE_VM) failed: 16 Device or resource busy
2020-07-08T11:28:43.524617Z qemu-system-x86_64: failed to initialize KVM: Device or resource busy

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/usr/share/virt-manager/virtManager/asyncjob.py", line 75, in cb_wrapper
    callback(asyncjob, *args, **kwargs)
  File "/usr/share/virt-manager/virtManager/asyncjob.py", line 111, in tmpcb
    callback(*args, **kwargs)
  File "/usr/share/virt-manager/virtManager/object/libvirtobject.py", line 66, in newfn
    ret = fn(self, *args, **kwargs)
  File "/usr/share/virt-manager/virtManager/object/domain.py", line 1279, in startup
  File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/libvirt.py", line 1234, in create
    if ret == -1: raise libvirtError ('virDomainCreate() failed', dom=self)
libvirt.libvirtError: internal error: process exited while connecting to monitor: ioctl(KVM_CREATE_VM) failed: 16 Device or resource busy
2020-07-08T11:28:43.524617Z qemu-system-x86_64: failed to initialize KVM: Device or resource busy

Error starting domain internal error process exited while connecting to monitor kvm

Then I stopped the VM and closed the Virtualbox application and started a KVM instance, it worked!

I even checked if kvm and vbox modules are running using "lsmod" command.

Find KVM modules with lsmod command:

$ sudo lsmod | grep kvm

Sample output:

kvm_intel             282624  0
kvm                   663552  1 kvm_intel

Find KVM modules in Linux

Find virtualbox modules:

$ sudo lsmod | grep vbox

Sample output:

vboxnetadp             28672  0
vboxnetflt             28672  0
vboxdrv               487424  2 vboxnetadp,vboxnetflt

Find Virtualbox modules in Linux

All modules are loaded.

After looking into the Virtualbox forum, I realized that this error occurs if we concurrently run multiple hypervisors at the same time on the same host.

So how to fix Virtualbox Guru Meditation error in Linux?

Actually, there is no FIX. You must use any one hypervisor at a time. Intel VT-x/AMD-V hardware virtualization extensions cannot be used from multiple different hypervisors running simultaneously on the same host. You should run only hypervisor on a single host. If you want to use another, close the currently running hypervisor and start the other one.

Another reason for virtualbox guru meditation is VT-x might be disabled in the BIOS. Make sure you have enabled it in your bios. Refer your system's manufacturer manual to enable VT in BIOS.

I can't use KVM and VirtualBox side by side

I don't have any issues with KVM and Virtualbox on my Ubuntu 20.04 system. I can be able to run both alongside each other.

Some of you might encounter with this error when running KVM and Virtualbox on the same host:


If you can't use Virtualbox alongside KVM, you can temporally disable kvm modules and then enable them when you want.

Unload the running KVM modules using command:

$ sudo rmmod kvm-intel

If it is AMD system, use this command instead:

$ sudo rmmod kvm-amd

Alternatively, you can use the following commands:

$ sudo modprobe -r kvm_intel
$ sudo modprobe -r kvm


$ sudo modprobe -r kvm_amd
$ sudo modprobe -r kvm

Now try to start Virtualbox VMs. It should should work now.

Enable KVM modules

To enable the KVM modules, you need to first find them where are they located in your disk. To do so, run:

$ sudo updatedb
$ sudo locate kvm

You should see output like below.


Look for "kvm-intel.ko" and "kvm.ko" entries. Enable these two modules using commands:

$ sudo insmod /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/arch/x86/kvm/kvm.ko
$ sudo insmod /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/arch/x86/kvm/kvm-intel.ko

On AMD systems, replace "kvm-intel.ko" with "kvm-amd.ko".

You can now run KVM instances. Please remember virtualbox VMs will not start until you turn off all KVM instances.

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1 comment

vince November 9, 2020 - 2:31 pm

Thank you very much for sharing this!


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