How to Turn On VirtualBox EFI

To boot modern operating systems like Windows 11, you need to EFI partition. Here is how to enable or turn on VirtualBox EFI in simple steps.

EFI or UEFI is the modern alternative to the good old BIOS and its related partition. If you don’t know, EFI is what’s responsible for storing data related to UEFI. This includes the data related to system checks, hardware info, initial boot process, and more. UEFI and EFI work hand in hand to verify and hand over control to the operating system. The operating system won’t install or boot properly without an EFI partition. This is true for Windows 11 and some Linux distributions.

By default, the VirtualBox application will automatically enable the EFI partition when you try to install a new operating system. However, if you have not updated VirtualBox to the latest version, modified VirtualBox settings, or any other reason, there might be situations where it doesn’t enable the EFI mode.

In that case, you have to turn on EFI in VirtualBox manually. Thankfully, it is pretty easy to enable VirtualBox EFI. All it takes is a few clicks, and you are good to go.

Difference between UEFI and EFI

People often use EFI and UEFI interchangeably. However, there is a difference. UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) is the same as BIOS with modern features and flexibility. On the other hand, EFI is a storage partition used by UEFI to store the data related to system initialization, startup, and some additional essential information.

Turn on EFI in VirtualBox

To enable the EFI in VirtualBox, you need to change its settings. It is pretty simple to do. Let me show you how.

  1. Open the VirtualBox application.
  2. Choose the virtual machine on the sidebar.
  3. Click the “Settings” option.
  4. Choose “System” on the sidebar.
  5. Select the “Enable EFI (special OSes only)” checkbox.
  6. Click the “Ok” button.
  7. Close and relaunch VirtualBox.
  8. With that, you have enabled EFI in VirtualBox.

Steps with a bit more detail:

You need to enable EFI on a per virtual machine basis. That means you have to edit the target virtual machine settings for which you want to turn on the EFI feature.

To start, search and open VirtualBox from the Start menu. After opening it, select the virtual machine of your choice from the left sidebar.

The above action will show an additional option on the top bar. Here, click the “Settings” option.

As soon as you do that, VirtualBox opens the virtual machine settings. Here, go to the “System” tab. After that, select the “Enable EFI (special OSes only)” checkbox.

Finally, click the “Ok” button and restart the VirtualBox application.

After rebooting, the EFI partition is enabled for that particular virtual machine.

Important note: Some operating systems might not boot in the virtual machine after enabling EFI. In that case, you have to correct the boot record or reinstall the OS.

That is all. It is that simple to enable or turn on EFI in VirtualBox.

I hope this simple and easy VirtualBox how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need some help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.

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