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(similar to the question Uninstalling default VBoxGuestAdditions on Debian but a Ubuntu install, and the solution there isn't working for me?)

and really the issue seems to be with dpkg/apt-get not virtualbox or its linux guest additions:

host:/media/VBOXADDITIONS_4.2.10_84104$ dpkg -l | grep virtualbox
rc  virtualbox-guest-utils                 4.1.12-dfsg-2ubuntu0.2                  x86 virtualization solution - non-X11 guest utilities
rc  virtualbox-guest-x11                   4.1.12-dfsg-2ubuntu0.2                  x86 virtualization solution - X11 guest utilities
host:/media/VBOXADDITIONS_4.2.10_84104$ sudo apt-get remove virtualbox-guest-utils virtualbox-guest-x11
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Package virtualbox-guest-utils is not installed, so not removed

Package virtualbox-guest-x11 is not installed, so not removed
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 20 not upgraded.
host:/media/VBOXADDITIONS_4.2.10_84104$ sudo sh ./VBoxLinuxAdditions.run 
Verifying archive integrity... All good.
Uncompressing VirtualBox 4.2.10 Guest Additions for Linux..........
VirtualBox Guest Additions installer
You appear to have a version of the VBoxGuestAdditions software
on your system which was installed from a different source or using a
different type of installer.  If you installed it from a package from your
Linux distribution or if it is a default part of the system then we strongly
recommend that you cancel this installation and remove it properly before
installing this version.  If this is simply an older or a damaged
installation you may safely proceed.

Do you wish to continue anyway? [yes or no]

Cancelling installation.

so dpkg sees the virtualbox-guest-utils and virtualbox-guest-x11 but apt-get can't remove them?!

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

rc virtualbox-guest-utils 4.1.12-dfsg-2ubuntu0.2

The first two flags in this output tell you exactly what is going on:

The 'r' means the package is in remove state. It's still technically installed, but most of it is actually gone.

The 'c' means that the configuration files are still installed.

Read man dpkg-query for more information if you're interested.

This state (rc) is common - pretty much any time you remove a package with configuration files, it'll end up in this state.

To fix it, use the --purge option to either dpkg or apt-get remove to clean these entries up.

share|improve this answer
bingo bango! thanks so much Daniel, that did it. – rikb Mar 21 '13 at 5:19

Please consider that 3 versions of virtualbox exist:

  • Official virualBox
  • OSE virtualbox (OpenSource Edition) [You can find it in OSes repositories]
  • *.bin for other linuxes.

If you want to remove/install, you 'must' remove/install according to the virtualbox.org offer.

For example:

  • If you install OSE, it means with apt-get or yum, you need to remove with same.
  • if you want to install official vb, you need to download and work with rpm or dpkg, or use the virtualbox repo itself.
  • *.bin made for platforms you don't see in list of download page of VB.

If you have problems with apt-get or dpkg commands, please specify your problem.

share|improve this answer
This isn't really relevant. In this case the OP has both installed and removed the package with apt-get, however they haven't purged the configuration files, so there is still a trace of the package in dpkg output. This will happen for any package with configuration files, so isn't in any way specific to virtualbox. – Daniel Lawson Mar 20 '13 at 22:15
roger that! i'd down vote if i had the rep. – rikb Mar 21 '13 at 5:19
may be algorithm of vb installer considers some files that no important, i prefer to install it. – PersianGulf Mar 22 '13 at 4:36

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