I am currently using Ubuntu 18.04 and VirtualBox GUI Version 5.2.18 and I faced the following bug:

Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)

The VirtualBox Linux kernel driver (vboxdrv) is either not loaded or there is a permission problem with /dev/vboxdrv. Please reinstall virtualbox-dkms package and load the kernel module by executing

'modprobe vboxdrv'

as root.

where: suplibOsInit what: 3 VERR_VM_DRIVER_NOT_INSTALLED (-1908) - The support driver is not installed. On linux, open returned ENOENT.

I don't know how to fix it and it is quite annoying because I am unable to start any VM.

Edit: I already tried:

sudo apt-get install dkms build-essential linux-headers-generic


sudo apt-get install dkms
sudo /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup


sudo modprobe vboxdrv

The output is modprobe: ERROR: could not insert 'vboxdrv': Operation not permitted

But none of them works works.

  • Could you please at least tell me why you downvoted my question and/or how can I improve it?
    – Ced
    Apr 1, 2019 at 14:04
  • 1
    @GAD3R thanks for your comment, you can find the output below: insmod /lib/modules/4.18.0-16-generic/updates/dkms/vboxdrv.ko modprobe: ERROR: could not insert 'vboxdrv': Operation not permitted
    – Ced
    Apr 1, 2019 at 15:04
  • 1
    You have to run modprobe with sudo. Apr 1, 2019 at 17:11
  • None of the commands you posted in your question would have reinstalled VirtualBox, as the error you received suggests that you do. You should try apt-get install virtualbox and see if that helps with your issues. Since VirtualBox utilizes a kernel module, you would need to make sure that module gets rebuilt every time your installed kernel changes. Apr 1, 2019 at 20:37
  • @MichaelHampton I updated my question, using modprobe with sudo didn't solved my problem @GracefulRestart you can find the output below virtualbox is already the newest version (5.2.18-dfsg-2~ubuntu18.04.3).
    – Ced
    Apr 2, 2019 at 7:32

2 Answers 2


If your system has UEFI firmware and Secure Boot is enabled, that might explain why you aren't "permitted" to load (unsigned) kernel modules.

Ubuntu is supposed to have an automated the signing process for third-party modules, but it is possible that the process hasn't worked as expected. For example, if you've updated your system's UEFI firmware ("BIOS update") since installing Ubuntu, the update may have caused a full reset of the system NVRAM. In that case, this command should start the re-enrollment process:

sudo update-secureboot-policy --enroll-key

If the auto-generated key is already enrolled, or in a few other possible cases, this command will simply print out a message about the state of Secure Boot key on your system, so it should be safe to try it anyway, and the message might be informative.

But if the key needs to be re-enrolled, the command will ask you to set a password. Then you'll need to reboot the system once, and immediately after rebooting, the component responsible for re-enrolling the key will request you to enter that password again. This procedure is designed to ensure that a Secure Boot key cannot be enrolled by without the user knowing what is going on. Once the key is successfully enrolled, that password will never be needed again, so there will be no need to store it for long term.

But if that does not solve the problem, something else might be wrong.

To get more information, you should look at the tail end of the kernel message buffer (dmesg command output) after attempting to load the module. In other words, please do this:

sudo modprobe vboxdrv
sudo dmesg | tail -30

The output should include a bit more verbose description on why the module loading is failing. If the Secure Boot key was not the problem, then please add the results of the second command to your original question.

  • 1
    I simply disabled secure boot in the BIOS setup. I guess that works too.
    – Nicolay77
    May 31, 2019 at 20:46
  • @Nicolay77 Your comment was the solution to my issue.
    – Ced
    Dec 26, 2019 at 20:23
  • on WSL2 i get EFI variables are not supported on this system
    – Alice
    Jul 2, 2021 at 5:17

I had the same issue. Found this when I googled for solution.

Apparently sudo apt install virtualbox fixed the problem on my case.


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