Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a VirtualBox VM set up on OS X Lion. How do I have it automatically start when I log into my account?

share|improve this question
See… but open the VM file to boot it rather than the VB app. – user588 May 22 '12 at 4:07

Add the .VDI file for the VM you wish to auto run to your System Preferences > Users > Login Item. You can find the .VDI file in the folder of the VM. The default name of the folder VirtualBox saves these to is called VirtualBox VMs.

share|improve this answer

You have to add the .vbox file to the startup items rather than the .vdi like dennis.hempler said. The .vbox is specially designed for booting VMs without opening the app.

share|improve this answer

I added terminal to open at login from the dock, added Virtualbox to also open at login at startup. Put a shell command to start up my VM. You can set that in Terminal app preferences under shell tab, there is a startup command you can enter.

The following is mine.

VBoxManage startvm VirtualBox --type headless

Where VirtualBox is your box name whatever that may be. Headless means it doesn't launch a window from VB.

share|improve this answer
of course... one doesn't need VirtualBox app to open at login. – Barry Docherty May 25 '15 at 15:23
relies on keeping your terminal program running on the machine. If you close and reopen it it will run the command again and spit out an error message that the box is running already. – Barry Docherty May 25 '15 at 15:41

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.