VirtualBox Administration Notes

(Note: This post probably won’t be touched again due to my switching to KVM.)

This is a placeholder for some notes about command-line installation and administration of VirtualBox, Oracle’s free virtualization suite. Most tasks can be handled from the VirtualBox GUI, but to work on a terminal-only server, you will need to interact with the VboxManage command line interface.

The VirtualBox end-user documentation is excellent, and most of these notes are taken directly from it unless otherwise noted.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a headless server set up right now. I’ll just leave the most basic start/stop commands here, and will add more to this post when I have the environment back up and running.

Quick Command Cheat-Sheet

Check what’s registered/running

Show all VMs
VBoxManage list vms

Show running VMs
VBoxManage list runningvms



Start up a VM
VBoxManage startvm “your_vm” &

Start up a headless VM (no GUI)
VBoxHeadless -startvm “your_vm” &

Hibernate a VM
VBoxManage controlvm “your_vm” savestate

ACPI power down signal
VBoxManage controlvm “your_vm” acpipowerbutton

Poweroff a VM (pull the plug)
VBoxManage controlvm “your_vm” poweroff


Cleaning House

Unregister and Delete a VM
VBoxManage unregistervm “your_vm” –delete


Leave a Comment