How to copy and paste between a host machine and VirtualBox VM

VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise and home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature-rich, high-performance product for enterprise customers. But it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 3. In this guide, you will learn how to copy and paste between a host machine and VirtualBox VM. Presently, VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, macOS, Solaris hosts etc, Here are some related guides: How to install Oracle VirtualBox on a Mac device, how to fix “Failed to open session in VirtualBox to install Windows 11 Image” ​, and how to install and configure Ubuntu Linux on VirtualBox.

This is worth configuring as it makes life absolutely easy for IT System administrators. This will help you a lot by not manually inputting text etc. Or searching for items by opening new web browsers inside of the virtual machine to copy and paste. Please see Associate SSH Public key with Azure Linux VM, and how to “Copy Deployment Share between Servers without using linked Deployment Shares“.


Ensure the VirtualBox guest additions for a whole lot of capabilities. Without the Guest Additions installed, copy and paste will not work. On how to install virtual machine Guest Addition, see the following link.

Copy and Paste Setup for Virtualbox VMs

To configure the bidirectional shared clipboard has to be configured on all individual VM running in VirtualBox.

  • Launch VirtualBox and
  • Select the guest VM

Next, click on the settings button. or right-click on the VM and click on settings or press Ctrl + S on your keyboard

  • Select Advanced
  • Under the Shared Clipboard, select “Bidirectional”

You can also enable the “Drag and Drop” feature and finally, click on ok.

This is all that needs to be done. When you log back into the virtual machine, you can now copy and paste text between the host device and the VM. The Drag’n’Drop feature lets you select a whole data file from the host to the guest or vice versa.

I hope you found this blog post helpful on how to copy and paste between a host machine and VirtualBox VM. Please let me know in the comment section if you have any questions.

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