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When exploring the linux world we see many beautiful distro’s out there. Some of them tempt us into installing them on a virtual machine and eventually maybe on a ssd.

A virtual machine is an application in which a complete operating system can run like Windows, Mac or Linux. You can try out different virtual machine applications like

  • vmware
  • gnome-boxes
  • or virtualbox

We are going to use virtualbox to test out our newly downloaded iso of Archlabs 4.0 on Archlabs 4.0. This tutorial applies to all archlinux setups whatever the desktop environment is.

The concept of this article is one of story telling.

The journey is more important than the destiny.

What challenges do they throw at us and how can we solve them?

If you just want to know how to install virtualbox, you should know that archlinux has an excellent wiki on the matter OR skip to the conclusion near the bottom of the page.

Archlabs has many AUR helpers/installers available.

  • packer
  • pacaur
  • yaourt

Installing virtualbox is easily done via terminal.

packer virtualbox

During installation packer asks us to make a choice. We decide to install



Let us open the virtualbox application and change the settings depending on your personal hardware.

  • cpu cores
  • memory
  • video memory
  • iso of archlabs



Let us now click on start. Unfortunately we get kernel errors thrown at us and we need to solve them.

At this point it might be you just need to reboot. The famous sentence from ITCrowd :

Did you try turning it off and on again?

Many issues have been solved by this little sentence…

This a picture of the error we now have to solve.

After reboot we still get errors….

What can it be?

We did install the latest kernel aka linux-lts. Kernels and virtualbox (and its drivers) go hand in hand.

Maybe there is no match between them… We install the headers of the linux-lts kernel to resolve the issue.

sudo pacman -S linux-lts-headers


Let us see if a reboot fixes things.

Installing linux-lts-headers was successful but did not result in a functional virtualbox.

Remember at the beginning when we installed virtualbox we got two choices.

  • virtualbox-host-modules-arch
  • virtualbox-host-dkms

We had chosen virtualbox-host-modules-arch which would have worked IF we had the standard kernel : linux or 4.10.

Let us now choose the other option

  • virtualbox-host-dkms
sudo pacman -S virtualbox-host-dkms

Pacman will ask to remove the virtualbox-host-modules-arch. Remove them.

Reboot again.

Virtualbox is now functional. 



If you have the linux kernel installed (version 4.10 today), you use virtualbox-host-modules-arch to run virtualbox.

sudo pacman -S virtualbox virtualbox-host-modules-arch

If you have linux-lts kernel installed (version 4.9 today), you must use virtualbox-host-dkms and install linux-lts-headers to run virtualbox. If you did not install the linux-lts-headers or the linux-headers, pacman will ask for them if you install virtualbox-host-dkms.

sudo pacman -S virtualbox virtualbox-host-dkms linux-lts-headers

And the golden tip remains :

Did you try turning it off and on again?

Then it is up to us to install archlabs in virtualbox.

The calamares installer takes care of that without the use of the terminal or command prompt. You will get 7 or so graphical screens to type in your country, keyboard etc. The installation of archlabs has been documented as well in this article.


This will be the end-result of our virtualbox exercise.