I use Oracle Virtualbox 4.2.18 as a guest Linux environment on my Mac OSX, so I can use it to host an Oracle DB (11G R2).

The problem I have is that every day at various points the system time of the virtual box instance is out of sync with the actual time. Generally it falls up to 10 mins behind and after a while it corrects itself. It is a particular annoyance since it means my Oracle database systime is also incorrect and this affects the processing of some transactions.

So my question is, is there any way I can rectify this problem?

  • 10 minutes fall in how long? 11 minutes :-) or hours/days? – garethTheRed Dec 5 '14 at 12:08
  • Two questions: Do you have virtualbox guest additions installed on the guest? Do you have ntpd running on the guest? The combination doesn't play well. – Dan Garthwaite Dec 5 '14 at 12:35
  • I've noticed the fall happen a couple of times a day so let's say after around 4 hours. – raghera Dec 5 '14 at 14:03
  • Yes Dan I have guest additions and ntpd running on the guest. – raghera Dec 5 '14 at 14:16

The VirtualBox guest additions will install /usr/sbin/VBoxService and you may use this to force an immediate time sync.

$ sudo /usr/sbin/VBoxService --timesync-set-start

The Virtualbox manual states in part:

The VirtualBox Guest Additions ensure that the guest's system time 
is synchronized with the host time. 

Time synchronization is described in more detail on this blog post: Better Time Synchronization with VirtualBox Guest Additions

I would not run ntpd on a VM Guest. The guest should get time data from the host, not over the network.

This question has also been raised and answered on superuser.stackexchange.com and other SE sites.


At time of writing there's a Virtual Box ticket open pertaining to badly performed time sync by the virtual box guest additions service.

The mentioned workaround (which worked for me) is to change the VM settings as such:

  • Set the System → acceleration → paravirualization interface dropdown to "none"


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