How to fix Virtualbox error “Kernel driver not installed rc= 1908” on Ubuntu

What is virtualBox?

VirtualBox is a free and open-source software currently being developed by Oracle Corporation. It is, when installed on a machine, allows you to run more than one operating system at a time. This way, you can run software written for one operating system on another (for example, Windows software on Linux or a Mac) without having to reboot to use it.

What is the error?

The runtime error is as follows:

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 the kernel module by executing

‘/etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup’

as root. Users of Ubuntu, Fedora or Mandriva should install the DKMS package first. This package keeps track of Linux kernel changes and recompiles the vboxdrv kernel module if necessary.

What does the error mean?

As written in the error message itself, there is a package in Linux called DKMS wich keep track of the Linux kernel changes. vboxdrv is a VirtualBox kernel module which needs to be recompiled each time when there is a Linux kernel upgrade. If DKMS is installed properly, it will do the necessary.

What is the solution?

So, we need to download dkms and tell the module to recompile vboxdrv. Which means,

$ sudo apt install dkms

will install the DKMS package. And,

$ sudo /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup

will recompile it.

If the above doesn’t work, then we might need to reinstall DKMS and then enable it manually as follows:

$ sudo apt-get remove virtualbox-dkms

$ sudo apt-get install virtualbox-dkms

After that You can enable it manually

$ sudo modprobe vboxdrv

$ sudo modprobe vboxnetflt


I have posted a video tutorial on the fix. Please make sure that your issue is the same before posting negative comments.

If your problem is different, please use askubuntu Q&A

Leave a Comment

View Comments

Recent Posts

How to migrate from LastPass to Bitwarden

As a LastPass user, you might have noticed the changes introduced last day. The message… Read More

2 years ago

Amazon AWS network security checklist

This post presents with a few bunches of AWS network security checklist. It is basically… Read More

3 years ago

The long curated web security checklist based on OWASP

What is this web security checklist? Here is a curated web security checklist for developers… Read More

3 years ago

Penetration Testing for dummies – Part 3: Networking basics

In the last part of the blog series we have seen the history of internet… Read More

4 years ago

Penetration Testing for dummies – Part 2: Understanding web applications

Welcome back budding pen-testers. :) In the first part of the blog series we have… Read More

4 years ago

How to enable SSH on Google Cloud Compute Engine

Last day I was riddling with Evilginx, a phishing attack tool. It needs to be… Read More

4 years ago