Set Custom Resolution in VirtualBox for Windows 8

Windows 8 doesn’t work with the included VirtualBox display driver, so by default you are limited to several 4:3 resolutions (full screen). If you want a different resolution or a widescreen resolution, it requires a command line entry to enable it. Here’s how:

1. First, close your virtual machine. Then, navigate to x:Program FilesOracleVirtualBox. Hold Shift and right click an open area of the window. Select “Open Command Window Here”. A command prompt window will open in exactly the correct directory to do the job.


2. Type VBoxManage.exe setextradata "Win 8 dev" CustomVideoMode1 1680x1050x32. You can edit the name in quotes to your Windows 8 virtual machine name, as well as the custom resolution (my monitor runs as 1680x1050x32).


3. Restart your VM, and you can now select from the custom resolution you just enabled.


65 Replies to “Set Custom Resolution in VirtualBox for Windows 8

  1. When i try your method, i get this error code,

    p, li { white-space: pre-wrap; }

    Result Code:
    E_FAIL (0x80004005)
    IConsole {1968b7d3-e3bf-4ceb-99e0-cb7c913317bb}, i also see something that says the bit count in custom mode was incorect. do you know how to fix this?

    1. Notice the p, li {white-space: pre-wrap;} CSS style-sheet code.
      The comment writer (lbrasteel) just needs to remove that.

  2. THANKS! I spent an hour trying to mess with inf files, but all I needed was:  

    VBoxManage.exe setextradata “Windows 8” CustomVideoMode1 1600x900x32

    Now the VM has the correct custom resolution using the Microsoft Basic video driver ( basicdisplay.sys ). 

    Keep up the great work!

  3. Didn’t work. The commands seemed to execute at the command line without any error.
    But I get no custom resolution to choose from.

    1. Make sure all other VirtualBox windows are closed.  I had to kill a vboxsvc.exe process before my changes would take.

      1. I have the same problem. I checked task manager but there is no programs related to vbox after shutdown. So I’m pretty sure there isn’t anything related to VBox when I do the command. But doesn’t work :/

  4. How would I do this if I am running VirtualBox in Linux Mint(or any other debian-based linux distro)??

    1. Same as in Windows:

      david@studio1558:~$ VBoxManage setextradata “Windows 7” “CustomVideoMode1” “1366x768x32”

      Notice that my virtual machine name is “Windows 7”.

  5. That was awesome!  I’m on a black macbook and used your instructions to finally get the 1280×800 resolution I needed.  I found the Vboxmanage file in the virtualbox app package contents/macosx folder.  I dragged that file to a terminal window and added to the end of it setextradata “name of my virtual machine” CustomVideoMode1 1280x800x32.  It dropped to the next line without error so far so good.  Fired up the vm and voila!  I still have the virtual display driver listed with the bang mark in device manager but I now get full screen cause the custom resolution is there to choose.Thanks so much you made my day!!

    1. Awesome, this worked on my mac also.

      FYI VBoxManage lives in your path so you don’t need to do anything special other than specify the full path of your VM.

  6. Thanks, it worked great, but only after I put the resolution in quotes, like this:  VBoxManage.exe setextradata “Windows 8 CP 64-bit” CustomVideoMode1 “1680x1050x32” and only after I power off the windows 8 system, not just sending the shut down signal.

  7. Eu procurei em diversos sites e essa foi a solução correta, o erro era que o meu prompt de comando começava com “C:UsersUsuário>” e eu não conseguia alterar esse inicio de jeito nenhum, MUITO OBRIGADO!!! Trabalho Maravilhoso!!

    1. I searched several sites and this was the correct solution, the error was that I started withcommand prompt “C:  Users  User>” and I could not change this start at all, THANK YOU! Wonderful work!

  8. Dude, I spent literally hours searching for a working driver for my Radeon that would allow me to select a 1366×768 resolution.  The only driver that the system would allow is the Microsoft Basic Display Driver.  The only modes available were 4:3 resolutions.  I was pulling my freeking hair out until I happened upon your post.  I cannot thank you enough!!!

    1. Hey, I have the 1366×768 and i closed Vbox and went into the command mode…typed everything out. did it several times. does not work..any suggestions or steps to what you did?

  9. Thank you very much! Worked like a charm and now I don’t have to install guest additions which really messes up most metro apps.

  10. I found this advice elsewhere and it worked great.  Any advice on getting Win8 on VirtualBox to recognize dual monitors?

  11. I’m getting the error “Could not find a registered machine named “….”

    Is the name of the Windows 8 virtual machine the one you name it in VirtualBox?

    1. I was also facing the problem, but it resolved.

      1. Virtual Machine name is case sensitive.
      2. Virtual Box Manager should also be closed in order to make this work

      I successfully installed new resolution
      Host: win7
      Guest: Win8
      New resolution set: 1366x768x32

    1. I am not 100% sure, but you could go to the directory where it is installed (/Applications/OpenSource/ and run the same command. I will have to test it on a Mac later and take a look. 

  12. Sorry Sir, but your method did not work on my system. I followed the steps very carefully, but there is no custom resolution after I log in to Windows 8 Release Preview x64.

  13. I had the same problem as you all, tried everything you said and it would still not work. I did some digging and came across this:
    Basically the guy says he has problems with the 1366x768x32 resolution (same as mine), he suggests the exact same thing as posted here and other forums, blogs and posts BUT he changes 1366 to 1360 in the command prompt. It works for me so I thought I’ll just post it here. 

  14. I finally worked out why this wouldn’t work on my VirtualBox Windows 8 installation.  I have VBoxGuestAdditions installed and needed to disable 3D acceleration in the Virtual Box Manager in order for it to work.  Custom resolutions now work perfectly!

  15. Did not work for me. I then installed the display driver from the guest extensions which enabled the Host+G shortcut (also worked in fullscreen)

  16. Works like charm..thank you!! (Was trying to set 1600*900 resolution on Windows XP virtual machine running on Windows 8 host)

  17. Does work with the current virtual box with windows 8. after executing this command, windows 8 fails to start (freezes on logo). Had to force shutdown, and start it up again. It booted up ok, but the changes did not take effect.

  18. VirtualBox has problems with shutting down virtual machines (e.g. long time).
    You’d like to contribute to code which implements the miracle of having localized error messages.

  19. I am having the same problem using Windows 2012 Server running in a Virtual Box 4.2.18 with Guest Additions installed. My Guest OS is Mac OS X 10.8. I have gone through the comments and tried out nearly everthing but failed – I always have one fixed resolution (1024×768). Has anyone successfully solved this with this or a similar configuration?

  20. This tip gave me the hint I needed to finally get it working:

    “Did not work for me. I then installed the display driver from the guest extensions which enabled the Host+G shortcut (also worked in fullscreen)”

    Here’s what I ended up doing:
    1. Install Windows 8.1 on VM
    2. Run the above command: VBoxManage.exe setextradata “GuestName” CustomVideoMode1 1900x1080x32 (several times, actually to add in all the resolutions I wanted)
    3. Install VirtualBox Guest Additions
    4. Extract the drivers from the Guest Additions according to the instructions in the D:64BitReadme.txt
    a. Open Command Prompt
    b. Type “D:”
    c. VBoxWindowsAdditions-amd64 /extract /D=C:Drivers

    5. Right Click on desktop, choose “Screen Resolution”
    6. Choose “Advanced Settings”
    7. On “Adapter” tab, choose ‘Properties’
    8. Choose “Driver” tab
    9. Click “Update Driver” button
    10. Click “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my comptuer” link.
    11. Choose “Microsoft Basic Display Adapter”
    12. Click Next.
    13. Restart, if prompted.
    14. Back on the Screen Resolution page, choose your new resolution from the ones you added from the command line.

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