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kexts for VirtualBox do not load

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I tried running VirtualBox on the latest macos 12.4 and it’s getting harder with every macos release. Not the installation part (brew works perfectly here), but running it, which requires a kernel extension, which the user is supposed to approve in System Preferences. Well, the problem was I couldn’t because that option wouldn’t present itself, there wasn’t a button to approve the kext from “Oracle America” as blogs write.

Attempts to fix this

Rebooting the OS and reinstalling the program didn’t work.

Trying to load the extension manually (as suggested at

$ sudo kextload -b org.virtualbox.kext.VBoxDrv
Executing: /usr/bin/kmutil load -b org.virtualbox.kext.VBoxDrv
Error Domain=KMErrorDomain Code=27 "Extension with identifiers org.virtualbox.kext.VBoxDrv not approved to load. Please approve using System Preferences." UserInfo={NSLocalizedDescription=Extension with identifiers org.virtualbox.kext.VBoxDrv not approved to load. Please approve using System Preferences.}

prints the message, but System Preferences continues to display nothing.

kextstat | grep -v doesn’t list any VirtualBox kexts. Not surprising.

Obviously if I try to run a VM, I get a “Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)” message.

The cause

I discovered that I had to turn on my internet and also allow syspolicyd access to (it is enabled by default in Little Snitch, but I’d disabled it because it does leak some data to apple). After allowing it, and forcing the kext loading with kextload, syspolicyd makes a connection and then, finally, System Preferences shows the approval (reading something like “Oh, please dear user, you’ve struggled so much, here is your option to gracefully allow this strange extension, but do make sure that we, Apple, know what’s best for you and you won’t play for long.” :/ ).

Looks like (although I haven’t tested specifically) the internet access for syspolicyd is required after every reboot. If so, it’s very sad because one wouldn’t be able to use VirtualBox after rebooting in an airplane for example (unless some system security features are disabled).


There is also an idea here to spctl kext-consent add VB5E2TV963 in the recovery mode; I haven’t tried it yet. But after approving the kext locally the “normal” way:

$ sudo spctl kext-consent list
spctl: no kext consent configuration found.

apparently the kext isn’t added as a consent.