VirtualBox bug causes display problems in Chrome and Chromium

VirtualBox Display Bug Chrome

VirtualBox bug freezing display

While working on a virtual machine running Ubuntu 12.04 recently, I encountered some behavior in Chromium and Chrome that made me start to regret uninstalling Firefox. When links or menu items were clicked, the browsers would appear unresponsive as if they were frozen. If the browser window was moved or minimized, the rendered portion of the page would stay where it was on the screen, blocking other items. Quite often, these problems would lead to VirtualBox crashing entirely. Even relatively simple pages could cause Chromium and Chrome to hang and crash.

Based on the posts, this VirtualBox bug seems to be tied to VirtualBox’s 3D acceleration handling and has been seen in Linux Mint and Xubuntu as well. Luckily, these rendering issues can be avoided by disabling 3D acceleration.

Bug workaround

Rather than completely disable all 3D acceleration, it turns out there’s a command line switch that will tell Chromium and Chrome what to do!


Open the appropriate file for your situation.


Just append the flag to the end of the Exec= lines in your file.

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=google-chrome-stable %U --blacklist-accelerated-compositing
[Desktop Action NewWindow]
Exec=google-chrome-stable --blacklist-accelerated-compositing
[Desktop Action Incognito]
Exec=google-chrome-stable --incognito --blacklist-accelerated-compositing
[Desktop Action TempProfile]
Exec=google-chrome-stable --temp-profile --blacklist-accelerated-compositing

14 responses to “VirtualBox bug causes display problems in Chrome and Chromium”

  1. Otherwise you can disable the flag “Accelerated 2D canvas” under the chrome://flags. If you can’t get to there due to the black screen, first disable the 3D Acceleration in the machine settings and re-enable it after

  2. This didn’t work for me, but something else did! Found this tip:

    Chrome -> Settings, click ‘Advanced’
    Scroll to bottom to find ‘System’ section
    Uncheck “Use hardware acceleration when available”

    • Thanks for that tip T. Greg O’Neil. Changing the System setting in Chrome finally resolved this for me (I had to turn off 3d acceleration first just so I could see the settings page, then shutdown, turn on 3D acceleration and now Chrome works fine in VirtualBox.

  3. Following instructions from T. Greg O’Neil to uncheck “Use hardware acceleration when available” fixed the problem for me running Chrome in a Linux Mint 17.3 Guest, using vbox 5.0.24. Thanks! Curious as to why firefox runs fine with acceleration and chrome does not.

  4. I can report the same problem on Mint 17.3 and Chrome 53.0.2785.101. I was using an old version of Chrome (47 something) for a long time with no problem. Just decided to update tonight since Google was telling me I was out of date, and now whenever I launch chrome, I get a completely unusable screen and have to reboot. So ridiculous.

    The –blacklist-accelerated-compositing line unfortunately did not seem to fix, so I have disabled video acceleration on my vm so I can and least get chrome to launch and will disable acceleration from chrome settings before reenabling on my vm.

  5. “–blacklist-accelerated-compositing” did not work.

    However ” –disable-gpu” worked perfectly:


    Exec=chromium-browser –disable-gpu

    Exec=chromium-browser –incognito –disable-gpu

    Exec=chromium-browser –temp-profile –disable-gpu

    Exec=chromium-browser –temp-profile –disable-gpu

  6. Was having this issue with Electron on Ubuntu – adding this to the package.json fixed the issue
    “start”:”electron –blacklist-accelerated-composting .”

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