Access VirtualBox Shared Folder from Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) Guest Machine

If you’ve been following this blog, then you probably know a thing or two about VirtualBox. That’s because we’ve written a lot about it. If you don’t know what VirtualBox is, then let me give you a brief summary.

VirtualBox is a virtualization software that lets you run multiple guest operating systems ( Windows, Linux, Mac OSX and few others) from a single computer known as the host computer.

The host computer should have more than enough resources (CPU, RAM, Hard Drive) to host as many guest operating systems as you want. Hosts with fewer resources will run fewer guest OSs.

Now that you know a thing about VirtualBox, let’s move on to what this post is about. This post is going to show you how to access host folders from Ubuntu guest machines. Remember guest machines run inside a host machine as a separate entity. You can’t just access files and folders from the host machine without first enabling shared folders.

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Before you can enable shared folders on the host machine, you must first install VirtualBox guest additions software on the guest machines. This software allows the guest machine to completely integrate with the host for seamless operations.

Without the guest additions software, the guest machines will not operate as smoothly as they supposed to, including accessing shared folders.

So, first install the guest addition software using this guide if you haven’t done it.

Next, open VirtualBox from the host machine and select the guest OS you wish to edit, then select Settings –> Shared Folders. Hit the add button (plus sign) and browse to the folder you wish to access from the guest machine. When you’re done, close out.




Now, launch Ubuntu and run this commands to add your account to VirtualBox group.

sudo adduser USERNAME vboxsf

Replace USERNAME with your account name in Ubuntu.

When you’re done, restart the Ubuntu guest machine and go to the /media/ directory. From Nautilus click Computer / File System –> Media folder and inside it you’ll see a folder beginning with sf_




That’s it! Put content in the folder on the host machine and access it from the Ubuntu guest machine folder.


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12 thoughts on “Access VirtualBox Shared Folder from Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) Guest Machine”

  1. One important tip that could have saved me a couple of hours:
    1. You have to install guest additions before you follow this tutorial
    2. Make sure that the version of you VirtualBox is newer than the version of the guest OS. Otherwise, the guest additions might not be compatible with the kernel.

  2. i am using a sony vaio t11 windows 8 host machine and ubuntu 12.04 on virtual box. your directions were easy and the shared folder appeared but when i clicked on it, the computer said i did not have the permission to see the contents! please help

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