How to change the Windows screen size in VirtualBox?

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 11, 2022
Updated • Jun 12, 2022
Windows tips

Oracle's VirtualBox virtualization software is a popular choice for users who want to test new operating system versions. If you install Windows in VirtualBox, you may notice that you can't change the default screen resolution of 1024x768.

virtualbox screen resolutions locked

The low resolution may be sufficient for some tasks, but many may benefit from larger resolutions. The View > Virtual Screen menu of the VirtualBox application lists all available resolutions and scaling options.

The "resize to" options are all inactive, as they are grayed out and not selectable. The scaling options are unlocked and available, though.

Thankfully, it is rather easy to unlock all supported screen resolutions in VirtualBox. The following instructions explain in detail how that is done.

Fixing the Screen Size of Windows in VirtualBox

virtualbox insert guest additions cd image

The fix requires the installation of Guest Additions; this may sound intimidating at first, but it is a straightforward process that completes in a matter of minutes on most systems. The description may sound as if you'd need to insert a CD image, but this is not the case. VirtualBox mounts a virtual CD image when the option is selected.

To get started, select Devices > Insert Guest Additions CD image. All that it does is mount the Guest Additions CD in VirtualBox, so that you may access its contents. You will hear a sound that indicates that the CD has been mounted.

Next, open File Explorer on the system and open the the CD drive "Virtual Guest Additions".

virtualbox windows additions

The root menu lists three guest additions for Windows. There are also additions for other operating systems, including Linux and Solaris.

The three Windows guest additions are for different architectures.

  • VBoxWindowsAdditions is an automatic selector. Pick this one.
  • VboxWindowsAdditions-amd64 is 64-bit systems.
  • VboxWindowsAdditions-x86 is for 32-bit systems.

virtualbox install windows additions

Right-click on one of the files and select open from the context menu to start the installation in the virtual machine. You may double-click on the file to start the installation.

Windows displays a User Account Control prompt, which you need to allow by selecting Yes.

install oracle vm virtualbox guest additions

The installer launches after you have selected Yes. Select next on the first page that is displayed.

virtualbox guest additions install

The page that follows displays the destination folder for the files that will be installed. You may change it, but most users may want to keep the default path. Select Next to proceed.

virtualbox guest additions installation folder

The final screen displays the components that will be installed. You may disable the creation of a start menu entry, but the two remaining components will be installed. Select the install button to proceed.

virtualbox components

The installer displays its actions once you hit the install button.

It is necessary to reboot the virtual machine to finalize the installation. You may do so right away by selecting "reboot now", or at a later point in time. Select finish to exit the installer.

All screen resolutions are unlocked after the restart. Select View > Virtual Screen X to select a different resolution. Please note that it may take a few seconds before the resolutions become available.

virtualbox unlocked resolutions

The physical display limits the available resolution; you can't go beyond the maximum resolution that is supported by the display.

How to change the Windows screen size in VirtualBox?
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How to change the Windows screen size in VirtualBox?
Find out how to change the screen resolution of a Windows virtual machine in Oracle's VirtualBox software.
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  1. Tom Hawack said on October 15, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    I don’t know how reliable ‘Windows Defender Firewall’, because here on Windows 7 with the OS’s firewall, some applications phone home although I’ve added an inbound and an outbound rule to block them. For instance, ‘EditPad’ Lite which attempts to connect to connect to and which fails to do so only because I block that connection with a DNSCrypt-proxy blacklist rule, and here what shows DNSCrypt-proxy query log : A REJECT 0ms quad9-dnscrypt-ip4-filter-pri

    quad9 is the DNS used with DNSCrypt-proxy. This means that Windows Firewall does not prevent an application added to its filters to connect to the Web, not always anyway.

    So I do hope Windows Defender Firewall does a better job.

    1. jan said on October 17, 2019 at 4:48 pm

      Hi Tom,
      You write:”I don’t know how reliable ‘Windows Defender Firewall….”.
      Let me tell you, based on my own experience, that firewall is really a POS (Piece Of Shit). It is really unreliable

  2. Stv said on October 15, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    Every software is able to write a firewall condition under windows i think, Windows Firewall is a trash

    The first software that i always install (when i need internet in vboxed windows) is Simple Wall.

    1. Cor said on October 15, 2019 at 9:22 pm

      I also really like his version of Chromium

      1. owl said on October 24, 2019 at 10:12 am
        I also, “Simple Wall” is a favorite. That’s enough.

        henrypp/chromium: Chromium builds with codecs | GitHub
        Chromium builds with codecs
        Download latest stable Chromium binaries (64-bit and 32-bit) |
        It is very interesting.
        And, “Notes” There are must-see value.

  3. ULBoom said on October 15, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    There’s an easy page for blocking/allowing programs to go out in the main firewall window, click on:
    Allow and App or feature through Windows Firewall.

    Otherwise, good overview of rules creation. I’ve never had a program sneak out if its rule is set up right.

    Yes, Windows defaults to letting most anything through as do other firewalls I’ve used. Probably preferrable to blocking everything except in critical security situations.

  4. B said on October 15, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    To quickly achieve the same end result as the steps above, I always install “OneClickFirewall” – less complex than anything like WFC, it just gives you a right click context menu on any exe for “Block internet access” and “Restore internet access”. Very handy!

    1. Rush said on October 16, 2019 at 7:42 pm

      @ B

      I downloaded the OCF program but I did not install it.

      Virus Total found one two red engines:

      Antiy-AVL – Trojan/Win32.Fuerboos


      MaxSecure – Trojan.Malware.7164915.susgen

  5. Paul(us) said on October 15, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    Nice article Ashwin.

    Sometimes I like to quit (disable the Internet connection temporarily) all internet connection than I use the free software program for windows Net disabler v.1. 0 ( Latest release ’17-02-21).

  6. Software tester 0101 said on October 15, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    Here is the easiest methode to block Windows programs from accessing the internet ; Application name is FAB (Firewall Application blocker) it is a Portable freeware , usage is just drag and drop the Application icon

  7. Ray said on October 16, 2019 at 12:29 am

    Thanks Ashwin. I always forget about the internals of Windows Firewall.

    Just set up some outbound rules to block some apps that shouldn’t have internet access. Thanks again!

  8. Dave said on October 16, 2019 at 4:17 am

    Ashwin, it doesn’t work.

    Try this. Install steam and login. Rules wil be automatically created to allow steam.

    Now log out and close steam. Change the firewall rules to block.

    Open steam again and login in.

    Go back to the firewall to find new allow rules created for it.

    Basically, anyone willing to pay microsoft to be added to a “trusted list” gets a free ticket past the windows firewall wether you want them to or not.

    Now go get Windows Firewall Control (I reccomend finding a pre MWB version) and install it and setup it up. Then turn on secure rules. Now repaet the steps with Steam and it will stay blocked.

  9. limonec said on October 16, 2019 at 5:45 am

    Fast, free and simple solution for the beginners and non-professional: Firewall App Blocker

    1. The Gobbler said on October 16, 2020 at 9:02 am

      Sordum’s Firewall App Blocker is great. Just right-click any exe file and it gets blocked in Windows Firewall, without going through all those steps. Also note, this feature is also in Sordum’s Easy Context Menu. All free.

  10. Parry Hotter said on October 16, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    The heck with all of that. Just use a superior and much easier to use front end for the built in firewall. Malwarebytes Windows Firewall Control is excellent.

  11. Petter said on October 16, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    I’ll just put this here: TinyWall

  12. Jafp said on December 17, 2019 at 7:40 pm

    What gets me most is that large number of windows processes is trying to get access to internet. Why? Windows DOES not need access to internet even to install it and can run without internet. The only possible exception being network management.
    Just another case of spyware?
    MS should be legislated to provide full description and reasons for those services demand for access as it is potentially abusing privacy.

    1. Hank said on October 16, 2020 at 9:08 am


      Your logic is sketchy and lacks reasonable facts. Perhaps you need to be legislated.

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