I have a VirtualBox VM running Windows 10 on a Linux host. It used to work just fine, but this day when I started it it hangs big time.

The VM’s window is just a black square, and also the host hangs up.  I can’t even switch to another console with Ctrl+Alt+F6.

How can I start troubleshooting this? (I don't have any snapshots to go back to.)

UPDATE: After:

Removed all Virtualbox packages:

apt auto-remove 'virtualbox*'

Reinstalled latest version (first add repositiory of needed (see virtualbox.org):

apt install virtualbox-5.2

It works again as of 2018-02-20 on 4.13.0-32-generic #35~16.04.1-Ubuntu.

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    You didn't perchance install any updates? – Gerard H. Pille Jan 15 '18 at 11:59
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    Have you tried accessing with a live USB without any updates? I'm having the same problem on Linux Mint 18.3 with the latest version of the kernel. I have a strong suspicion those meltdown/spectre patches have killed linux's ability to run any type of VM. @gerard-h-pile do you agree? – James Draper Jan 15 '18 at 16:57
  • @GerardH.Pille + James Draper !! That's right. I did install updates. That's a very probable reason. I will check that out and post back in a couple of days. – PetaspeedBeaver Jan 16 '18 at 1:15
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    @JamesDraper Was indeed the reason I asked. I'm afraid there's an interesting year ahead. – Gerard H. Pille Jan 16 '18 at 7:44
  • It was indeed the latest kernel update that caused the problem. Booted with the previous kernel today, and the VM runs 很好! (uname -a outputs 4.10.0-42-generic) So thankful for you help all, this must cause a lot of trouble for a lot of people at present. God bless. – PetaspeedBeaver Jan 16 '18 at 11:16

This can be due to a recent kernel update. You can try booting an older kernel.

You can create a GRUB menu entry for an older kernel (anything less than 4.13) by doing the following:

1) Find out which kernels you have installed by running this in the terminal:

$ls /boot/vmlinuz*

2) Then find the disk UUID that is you system root (not the swap):

$ll /dev/disk/by-uuid

3) Then then in a text file substitute those values into the menu entry below:

menuentry "Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon 64-bit, with Linux 4.10.0-38-generic" {
        linux   /boot/vmlinuz-X.X.X-XX-generic root=UUID=XXXX-YYYY ro  quiet splash
        initrd  /boot/initrd.img-X.X.X-XX-generic

4) Open the custom GRUB menu for editing:

$sudo nano /etc/grub.d/40_custom

5) Copy and paste your modified menu entry into 40_custom save. Then run:

$sudo update-grub

You could even set that to the grub default if you wanted too.

I would use this kernel with caution as time goes on for obvious reasons. Hopefully a patch for the patch will come soon but I wouldn't hold my breath.


Kernel update in last days is a reason. Try to boot to older kernel. I think some meltdown patch or something similar is a source of this problem.

How to boot to an older kernel

  1. Reboot and hold Shift when computer starts. Grub-menu opens.
  2. Choose "Advanced ..."
  3. Choose your preferred old kernel to boot from it.

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