I would like to adjust the screen resolution for my Debian 8.1 Virtual Machine (running in VirtualBox 5 on 64-bit Windows 10) from 1024x768 to 1366x768 (which for me would be full screen). Neither "Seamless Mode" nor "Auto-resize Guest Display" options are allowed under the, "View" drop-down menu. I have six other Virtual machines installed on my PC, for each of the following OSs (each 64-bit):

  • Fedora 22
  • Linux Mint 17.2
  • Mageia 5
  • Manjaro Linux
  • openSUSE 13.2
  • Sabayon Linux 15.08

all but the Fedora 22 machine runs seamless mode just fine (i.e., full screen occupies all 1366x768 pixels of my screen and not just 1024x768 of it). Fedora 22 has the same issue as Debian: it runs 1024x768 screen resolution, when it is supposed to be occupying the whole screen. I have attempted to change the screen resolution from within the guest machine itself, but I notice for both Debian and Fedora 1024x768 is the largest display they are allowing. If you are wondering why I am mentioning this Fedora glitch, it is in case it helps you in solving my problem with my Debian machine, this question is just about the Debian machine (although if your answer is applicable to the Fedora machine too a brief mention of this fact would be appreciated). I have installed the Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack (version 5.0.0r101573), if you are wondering. I have enabled 3D acceleration and bidirectional clipboard (although the clipboard does not appear to be working for either machine) with 64 MB display memory, 4096 MB RAM, 64 GB HDD (for Debian, that is; Fedora is using 128 GB) and any other helpful detail I will be happy to provide. Keep in mind my programming and technical knowledge is limited, so please keep the technical discourse in your answer to a minimum.

3 Answers 3


The issue was essentially the result of my misunderstanding of how to properly install VirtualBox guest modules. I thought everything was done on the host, I did not realize these systems required me to follow a guide like this on the guest OS too. After I followed this guide (with slight adjustments for the Debian system as the guide is for Red Hat-based systems using the yum/DNF package management system) both guest systems were able to run seamless mode no-problem. To provide an example of how I'd like answers to my questions here to be formatted I am going to give the details of what exactly I did.


I first signed into the administrative (root) account by running:


then I ran Host+D (to insert the guest additions ISO), after adding a blank disk to my virtual machine. I then ran:

mkdir /media/VirtualBoxGuestAdditions
mount -r /dev/cdrom /media/VirtualBoxGuestAdditions
export KERN_DIR=/usr/src/kernels/`uname -r`
cd /media/VirtualBoxGuestAdditions

For Fedora 22 I merely added the line:

dnf install gcc kernel-devel kernel-headers dkms make bzip2 perl

before the 4th line (i.e., the cd line).


I know this question realtes to different versions but it might be usefull for someone that has installed the latest version of VirtualBox (5.2)

My setup:

  • VirtualBox 5.2.0 r118431
  • Host OS: Windows 10
  • Guest OS: Linux Debian 9.2.1 with XFCE
  • Guest Additions ISO: VBoxGuestAdditions_5.2.1-118447 (please note that this is not the ISO you get with the default installer, there is a note on virtualbox site to download a newer version)

The following commands must be run in super user mode on guest OS rebooted:

mkdir -p /lib/modules/$(uname -r)/build/include/drm

touch /lib/modules/$(uname -r)/build/include/drm/drm_rect.h

The VBoxLinuxAdditions.run must be executed again, and then guest OS need a reboot

There is also a newer Guest Additions ISO in the development downloads which should fix this problem Virtualbox Test builds


UPDATE (11/4/2017):

New version VBoxGuestAdditions_5.2.1-118918.iso has been linked on the VirtualBox download page

  • I get Permission denied if I try to execute VBoxLinuxAdditions.run as root Mar 18, 2018 at 9:52

This is an old question but I still couldn't get it to work using the virtual box guest addition's so here's a different way to go about it: change the resolution in the GRUB2 bootloader.

  1. In Debian log into root
  2. Run

    cd /etc/default/
  3. Open the file grub with permissions with you favorite editor ie:

    sudo nano grub
  4. Look for the GRUB_GFXMODE line then replace it with the following:


In my case DesiredResolution=1280x1024. The resolution here must be a supported resolution. You can find a list of supported resolution by booting up to grub, running the grub shell then executing the vbeinfo command.

  1. Run

  2. Restart your machine.

  3. done

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