Enabling Webcam in VirtualBox Guest OS on Windows Host

This post shows steps to enable webcams in a VirtualBox guest OS on Windows host. OS/software and the version I used are below. I tested it with Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Dell Precision 3510.

Host: Windows 10 running VirtualBox 5.2.6.
Guest: Ubuntu Linux 16.04.03 / Mac OS X High Sierra


Here is the steps.

1. Install ‘Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack’
VirtualBox Extension Pack is required in order to use webcams in VirtualBox guest OS. [1]

1-1. From the VirtualBox Download page, download the extension pack which has the save version as your VirtualBox. In my case, my VirtualBox is v5.2.6 so I downloaded this:

1-2. Launch “Oracle VirtualBox Manager” and navigate to “File” -> “Preferences”.

1-3. In ‘Preferences’ window, select ‘Extensions’.

1-4. Press ‘Add new package’ icon.

1-5. Select the extension pack and install it.


2. Attaching webcam to guest OS
2-1. Launch the guest OS.

2-2. Launch “Command Prompt” on Windows (Press the Win + R keys, then, type ‘cmd’ and enter) and go to VirtualBox folder.

2-3. List available cameras.

The result should be like below. In case of Surface Pro 4, it has 2 cameras (front and rear).

2-4. Attach webcam(s) you want to use. The number at the end of the line specifies the camera. In this example, if you want to attach the front camera, type like this:

* Replace “Ubuntu 16.04.3” with your guest OS name.
* You can attach multiple cameras if you want.


3. Verify (Ubuntu Guest)
In case of Linux, cheese is handy to test webcam functionality.

3-1. Install it if it’s not already.

3-2. Then, just type ‘cheese’ to launch. You should be able to see a video stream in newly opened ‘Cheese’ window.


4. Verify (Mac OS Guest)
In Mac OS X, I used ‘Photo Booth’ application to verify.

4-1. Launch ‘Spotlight Search’ by clicking the magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner of the screen.

4-2. Type ‘Photo Booth’ and enter to launch. You should be able to see a video stream in ‘Photo Booth’ window.


[1] Oracle VM VirtualBox User Manual 9.7. Webcam passthrough
[2] VirtualBox Download page
[3] Install VirtualBox Extension Pack on Linux and Windows
[4] Connecting a webcam to a VirtualBox guest OS



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