Enable Copy/Paste Between VirtualBox Host and Guests

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to you copy and paste clipboard content between VirtualBox host and guest machines.

We’ve written quite a bit about VirtualBox and virtualization software on this site. We wrote that VirtualBox is a very critical tool for IT professionals and students learning to become IT pros.

This brief tutorial is going to describe the steps needed to drag n’ drop content between VirtualBox host computer and guest machines. It’s a very useful feature that you’ll love.

Before you can use all these features that come with VirtualBox, you must first install VirtualBox’s guest addition tool. This tool comes with VirtualBox host software and can be installed easily.

After the guest addition tool is installed, go to and select the guest machine and click Settings as shown below:

Ubuntu guest copy and paste

Then select General –> Advanced and change the options for Shared Clipboard and Drag n’ Drop to Bidirectional as shown in the image below.

ubuntu copy and paste host guest

This is how to enable clipboard and content copy and paste between the host machine and guest machines.

As we said earlier, this will only work if the guest addition tool is installed. This guide applies to both Linux and Windows systems.

When these features are enabled, you’ll be able to copy and paste text and other content between the host computer and the guest systems. This can be Windows host pasting to Linux guest and vice versa.

In addition to enabling the copy/paste and drag ‘n drop, you’ll also enable mouse integration with the guest and video performance improvement.

That’s it!


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