How To Increase Screen Resolution with VirtualBox and Ubuntu

I have solved the problem of lack of usable choices of screen resolution when operating “Ubuntu” inside “virtual box” (which is running on your windows PC – as rolled out with the DVD from Linux Format Mag “Building a great website”). It was annoying to not be able to operate the Virtual Box window at my 1680×1050 resolution.

The clue was in reading the pdf that came with VirtualBox (or view the help file contents in Virtual box). Reading section 4 talks about “guest additions” which need to be installed to enable better video resolutions and other stuff. It seems hard at first if you don’t know linux (like me) but here are some simple instructions.

1. Start Virtual box and log into Ubuntu.

2. Hit the right ctrl key so you can get your mouse pointer outside the virtual machine.

3.Go to top of virtual window, click on devices then select “Install Guest Additions”
You will see a window pop up inside Ubuntu showing you that there are some new files mounted in a virtual CDROM drive. One of those files should be

You must run the file with some admin permissions so do that this way…

4. Click inside the Ubuntu screen again then go to Applications – Accessories then Terminal. The terminal window is where you will run the file from, but first we must navigate to the correct directory.

5. type this… cd /media/cdrom0 (then hit enter, there is a space after cd!)

6. next type… dir (You should see amongst the files displayed

7. now type… sudo sh ./ (yes, that is a full stop before the slash!)

after you hit enter and it has done its stuff, the files are now accessable from Ubuntu.

8. You now need to reboot the virtual machine or press Ctrl+Alt+backspace.

9. Log onto the Ubuntu desktop and this time go to System – Preferences then Screen Resolution. You should now have more options than the three low res options you had at the beginning of the day!