I have VirtualBox set up on a server. It was set up as a Bridged VM, and has an IP address. It's now running in headless mode, started with "VBoxHeadless -s PuppetMaster".

How can I find out what IP the VM is using VBoxManage?

8 Answers 8


I could find my Headless VB with the combination of following commands:

# Update arp table
for i in {1..254}; do ping -c 1 192.168.178.$i & done

# Find vm name
VBoxManage list runningvms

# Find MAC: subsitute vmname with your vm's name
VBoxManage showvminfo vmname

# Find IP: substitute vname-mac-addr with your vm's mac address in ':' notation
arp -a | grep vmname-mac-addr

But even easier: in linux, you can connect to the VB:

# Default VirtualBox Listening Port: 3389
rdesktop -N hostingserver:3389

This command will open a shell window, and you'll have direct access to the Headless VB, where you can retrieve your Headless VB IP: ip addr


Install guest additions and (assuming linux is the guest) you can run the following:

VBoxManage --nologo guestcontrol yourVirtualMachineName execute --image "/sbin/ifconfig"  --username yourUser --password yourPassword --wait-exit --wait-stdout -- -a
  • 1
    Format changed a bit now, you'll need VBoxManage --nologo guestcontrol yourVirtualMachineName --username yourUser --password yourPassword run -- /sbin/ifconfig -a
    – mike.dld
    Aug 5, 2016 at 13:37
VBoxManage guestproperty enumerate {`VBoxManage list runningvms | awk -F"{" '{print $2}'` | grep IP | awk -F"," '{print $2}' | awk '{print $2}'
  • Command works for a single VM. -- With multiple VMs filter by VM name, e.g.: VBoxManage list runningvms | grep vmname | awk ...
    – mschuett
    Jan 4, 2013 at 10:22
  • Or we can inquire about a specific VM. e.g. VBoxManage guestproperty get <vm-name> "/VirtualBox/GuestInfo/Net/0/V4/IP" | cut -f2 -d " "
    – Mohnish
    Aug 2, 2017 at 19:17

Not sure if VBoxManage can give you that information directly. What you can do is run the following command to see the network card configuration.

VBoxManage showvminfo PuppetMaster | egrep ^NIC

That will if nothing else will provide you with the MAC address, allowing you to find out the actual ip address by other means.

  • 2
    Any ideas on how to get the IP using the MAC address from the command line?
    – Jon Haddad
    Apr 2, 2010 at 18:22

You can get it directly using this command:

VBoxManage list bridgedifs
  • 2
    For me this shows only the address that I'm sharing, not what the client actually gets. Dec 13, 2019 at 23:03

From virtualbox.org forum --

VBoxManage guestproperty get <vm-name> "/VirtualBox/GuestInfo/Net/0/V4/IP" | cut -f2 -d " "

  • Nice option. Just noting comment from the forum: "From my testing, it seems the guest properties are only available if the guest VM has the Guest Additions installed." Indeed, I have no guest additions and get "No value set!".
    – Nagev
    Nov 22, 2022 at 12:28

Without guest additions, on a Windows host, and unable to rdesktop into the VM, this is what I did:

Get MAC of virtual machine (WSL Linux) and scan the network:

VBoxManage.exe showvminfo $vmname | grep MAC     # get MAC address
nmap 192.168.178.* -p 22 | grep open -B 5        # Find machines ready to SSH

The scan itself showed me the desired IP, but I can confirm it on the PowerShell, using the MAC I got earlier. For example:

arp -a | findstr -i 08-00-27-9A-49-B6

Output is like:        08-00-27-9a-49-b6     dynamic

And that confirms the IP address.


Here is a simple script I put together to get the IP of my Vbox VM.


Knowing my VM is named 'ubuntu22' uuid_raw=$(vboxmanage list runningvms | grep ubuntu) UUID "ubuntu22" {6eac6956-2952-425f-ba20-e865d0970e33} uuid=$(echo $uuid_raw | awk -F' ' '{print $2}' | sed s/{// | sed s/}//) echo "UUID ${uuid}" mac=$(vboxmanage showvminfo --details ${uuid} | grep MAC | awk -F'MAC: ' '{print $2}'| awk -F',' '{print $1}') arp -a | sed s/://g | grep -i $mac

Yields the following output:

UUID 90dcc1dc-e14d-4362-bc7e-c3f58698beb9
? ( at 080027fd0e63 [ether] on eno1

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