After installing Ubuntu in virtual box you may notice that Auto-resize guest display is greyed out and there aren't any 16:9 resolutions available from the Displays applet, just nasty 4:3 ones.

You try Install Guest Additions from the Machine menu and it fails. You try sudo apt-get install virtualbox-guest-additions and it fails.

So what do you do?

The Problem

VirtualBox is always updating to a newer version. Ubuntu is not backporting the updates (and rightly so - if you're using Ubuntu LTS, it makes sense that you wouldn't be upgrading VBox either).

Right around a month after the newest release of Ubuntu both tend to be in sync, but shortly after they fall out and it's always confusing.

The Solution

The solution I found is three-fold

  1. Install the Ubuntu's guest additions first, this ensures you have the dependencies

    sudo apt-get install -y

  2. Remove Ubuntu's guest additions, as they probably don't correspond to your current version of VirtualBox

    sudo apt-get remove --purge virtualbox-guest-additions

  3. Install them again from Machine -> Install Guest Additions and say yes to any warning about installing over an existing version.

With that procedure I was finally able to set my resolution to 1366x768, just as I had hoped in my heart.

By AJ ONeal

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