Virtualbox – Debian VM Installation Issues

By | 28th December 2015

Virtual machine (VM) is handy for testing out configuration changes to Debian before applying to physical machine. If you have a powerful desktop / laptop, you may even be able to create a Debian VM as a development workstation or test server.

The VM setup and Debian installation is straight forward. A lot of resources are available on the web which details how to setup VM on Virtualbox and installing Debian so so I will not go into details here. I have created a Debian VM recently and here is some notes on how to resolve post installation issues.

Unable to boot VM immediately after installation

The installation completed, restart but the VM cannot be start with this error

This kernel requires the following feature not present on the CPU: pae

PAE stands for “Physical Address Extension” – the issue is resolved by enable PAE/NX option – Settings / System / Extended Featuers / check Enable PAE/NX option checkbox.

(See Resource 1 3.4.2 Processor tab for more details on PAE)

Unable to ssh to the VM from other machine

I always prefer to use PuTTY to ssh into Unix host for configuration. The newly created VM network is defaulted to NAT (network address translation) which enable it to connect to the network but not visible to other machine on the network. This effectively means that the host computer is the router to the new VM hence hide it from network.

To make it available to other network nodes, change the “Attached to” option from NAT to “Bridged Adapter” and then restart networking

> service networking restart

(See Resource 1 3.8 Network Settings for more details on networking options)

Please note that Debian default network interface to use DHCP – see /etc/network/interfaces.d/interface –

# The primary network interface
allow-hotplug eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

To see the IP address assigned, use ifconfig

> ifconfig
eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 08:00:27:3d:39:02
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          inet6 addr: fe80::a00:27ff:fe3d:3902/64 Scope:Link


  1. Oracle Virtualbox User Manual
  2. Guide – How to install Debian 8 “jessie” Xfce using netinst/minimal iso (Step-by-step with pictures)

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