Recently I updated VirtualBox to the latest release (as of this writing, 5.1.26). As per usual, when I opened VirtualBox for the first time (after the update), it prompted me to download and install the newer extension pack. In standard fashion, I walked through the steps, only to find out that the installation of the extension pack had failed. This could cause problems, as I depend upon VirtualBox daily. I had to get this resolved, otherwise VirtualBox would prompt me to install the extension pack every time I opened the software, and certain features (such as support for USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 devices, VirtualBox RDP, disk encryption, NVMe and PXE boot for Intel cards) would likely fail.

The solution came by way of manual installation. If you find yourself in this same situation, get ready to use the terminal window, otherwise you might be waiting around until the next release of VirtualBox.

The fix

The first thing you must do is download the latest release of the extensionpack. This particular download is platform independent and will end in the .vbox-extpack extension. I will be demonstrating on Elementary OS, but the process is similar, regardless of your platform. Download that file and open a terminal window. Change into the directory containing the downloaded file and issue the command:

sudo VBoxManage extpack install --replace Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack-XXX.vbox-extpack

Where XXX is the release number.

You will have to agree to the EULA (Figure A) and the installation will continue and complete.

Figure A

Once the installation finishes, you might think you’re done. If, however, you open VirtualBox again, you’ll see the same message. There’s one more command to issue to complete the process. Go back to your terminal window and issue the command:

sudo VBoxManage extpack cleanup

After that command completes, you should be able to open up VirtualBox and no longer see the warning that your Extension Pack is out of date. Congratulations, you’ve resolved that frustrating issue.

SEE: Basics of VMWare vSphere & ESXi Virtualization Software (TechRepublic Academy)

Hopefully this won’t happen again

It’s a rare occasion that I’ve witnessed VirtualBox break like this. Even so, the platform continued to function (even while the extension pack was the wrong release). Fortunately, the command line tools came to the rescue. Should the same issue occur again, you now have the tools to quickly fix it.