2.23. Starting Virtual Machines During System Boot

You can start VMs automatically during system boot on Linux, Oracle Solaris, and Mac OS X platforms for all users.

2.23.1. Linux: Starting the Autostart Service With init

On Linux, the autostart service is activated by setting two variables in /etc/default/virtualbox. The first one is VBOXAUTOSTART_DB which contains an absolute path to the autostart database directory. The directory should have write access for every user who should be able to start virtual machines automatically. Furthermore the directory should have the sticky bit set. The second variable is VBOXAUTOSTART_CONFIG which points the service to the autostart configuration file which is used during boot to determine whether to allow individual users to start a VM automatically and configure startup delays. The configuration file can be placed in /etc/vbox and contains several options. One is default_policy which controls whether the autostart service allows or denies to start a VM for users which are not in the exception list. The exception list starts with exception_list and contains a comma separated list with usernames. Furthermore a separate startup delay can be configured for every user to avoid overloading the host. A sample configuration is given below:

# Default policy is to deny starting a VM, the other option is "allow".
default_policy = deny

# Bob is allowed to start virtual machines but starting them
# will be delayed for 10 seconds
bob = {
    allow = true
    startup_delay = 10
}

# Alice is not allowed to start virtual machines, useful to exclude certain users
# if the default policy is set to allow.
alice = {
    allow = false
}
      

Every user who wants to enable autostart for individual machines has to set the path to the autostart database directory with the following command:

VBoxManage setproperty autostartdbpath <Autostart directory>

2.23.2. Oracle Solaris: Starting the Autostart Service With SMF

On Oracle Solaris hosts, the Oracle VM VirtualBox autostart daemon is integrated into the SMF framework. To enable it you have to point the service to an existing configuration file which has the same format as on Linux, see Section 2.23.1, “Linux: Starting the Autostart Service With init”. For example:

svccfg -s svc:/application/virtualbox/autostart:default setprop \
  config/config=/etc/vbox/autostart.cfg

When everything is configured correctly you can start the Oracle VM VirtualBox autostart service with the following command:

svcadm enable svc:/application/virtualbox/autostart:default

For more information about SMF, please refer to the Oracle Solaris documentation.

2.23.3. Mac OS X: Starting the Autostart Service With launchd

On Mac OS X, launchd is used to start the Oracle VM VirtualBox autostart service. An example configuration file can be found in /Applications/VirtualBox.app/Contents/MacOS/org.virtualbox.vboxautostart.plist. To enable the service copy the file to /Library/LaunchDaemons and change the Disabled key from true to false. Furthermore replace the second parameter to an existing configuration file which has the same format as on Linux, see Section 2.23.1, “Linux: Starting the Autostart Service With init”.

To manually start the service use the following command:

launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.virtualbox.vboxautostart.plist

For additional information on how launchd services can be configured see:

http://developer.apple.com/mac/library/documentation/MacOSX/Conceptual/BPSystemStartup/BPSystemStartup.html.