Troubleshooting "No Bootable Medium Found" Error in VirtualBox

Seeing 'FATAL: Could not read from the boot medium! System Halted' or 'No Bootable Medium Found' error with VirtualBox? Here's how to fix it.
Warp Terminal

Many VirtualBox users have experienced at least once the message โ€˜FATAL: Could not read from the boot medium! System halted.โ€˜ Sometimes it is also shown โ€˜No Bootable Medium Found! System haltedโ€˜.

This error is more common when trying to start a new virtual machine, but it is not impossible to happen at an existing virtual machine if the virtual hard drive is missing.

This problem has to do purely with VirtualBox and can be experienced on any host operating system, be it Windows, Mac OS or Linux. Bootable Medium Found Virtualbox

What causes this โ€œCould not read from the boot mediumโ€ error?

There are two main reasons behind this issue:

  • VirtualBox doesnโ€™t point to an operating system, either a mounted iso or a virtual hard disk with a bootable OS. When you create a virtual machine for the first time, you need to mount a bootable iso like Ubuntu. If you mount a bootable iso before you start your virtual machine, you will be successful in booting up the system.
  • The CD/ DVD storage device controller is configured as SATA. Another issue can appear if you accidentally mount the bootable iso to a SATA storage device controller instead of IDE. VirtualBox works without any problems when a SATA storage device points to a virtual hard drive, but this is not the case for a bootable iso.

How to solve it?

If you are not sure which of the 2 reasons apply to you, I can show you a solution that covers both, and finally stop receiving the error message.

Step 1: Right-click on the virtual machine that isnโ€™t in a bootable state and click on settings.

2 Virtualbox Settings

Step 2: Once the settings menu is open, follow the steps access storage > Controller:IDE > Choose the bootable iso and click ok.

3 Virtualbox Ide Controller

Step 3: Start your virtual machine and you should be able to boot normally from the mounted iso.

4 Virtualbox Gentoo Boot


VirtualBox boot issue is very common and easy to fix but frustrating if you donโ€™t know what to do.

If you are a regular reader of Itโ€™s FOSS, you know already that virtualization technology is among my interests. If you discovered us recently and you are curious to start exploring the features of VirtualBox, I suggest to start experimenting with this guide that covers Fedora installation on VirtualBox, as you can go beyond a simple installation.

About the author


Dimitrios is an MSc Mechanical Engineer but a Linux enthusiast in heart. His machines are powered by Arch Linux but curiosity drives him to constantly test other distros. Challenge is part of his per

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