Annoying VirtualBox Setup On Flywheel Startup

Once I installed VirtualBox on my Mac to install Windows then I removed that app. Why this happens to me and how to fix this issue?

Local uses VirtualBox—that’s why it’s part of the installation process.

Removing VirtualBox will remove the virtual machine that Local uses to run Docker.

I removed VirtualBox, but still flywheel asking for setup. And if I click on Let’s Go button it bring back entire VirtualBox machine setup on my applications!!!

We’re looking into moving away from VirtualBox on macOS down the road. For now, VirtualBox is required for Local to function.

Before I install VirtualBox Flywheel doesn’t need to install VirtualBox, why now need it? Is it required in the new version of Flywheel? if so then which version it doesn’t require VirtualBox? I want to use that version. Don’t go with dependency, people hate dependency.

I need to know which version of Flywheel doesn’t required stupid VirtualBox? I’ll use that version until you get rid of such dependency. Thanks

#shame #virtualbox #flywheel #dependency #annoyed

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Dear mohsinworld,

the first time you installed Flywheel, you already had VirtualBox installed, so it did not need to perform that install. Then after Virtualbox was removed, Flywheel felt the pain, and attempted to re-install it.

Flywheel runs the websites inside a virtual Linux computer, this provides isolation and a running environment that is as close to the server environment as is possible to get. This is the main feature of flywheel, which uses docker, and virtualbox is the tool that docker uses to provide it.

I know that virtualbox looks to be a bit resource hungry, but looking at my imac, it is actually using a grand total of 26.5Mb of memory while idle, and 3.5% of one of my many cpus. This is acceptable.

In the fullness of time, there is a version of docker that does not require the entirety of virtualbox, and you may look forward this, but in the meantime, your options are Flywheel with virtualbox or perhaps some other tool like MAMP or XAMPPS. Personally I am not looking forward to it, because I use an old Mac Pro at home and that cant run the docker without virtualbox.

best regards


Then VirtualBox is must require since the beginning? I thought it’s the new requirements!!!

I have been using Local from day one when it was Pressmatic and it had always required Virtualbox.

It will be great when @clay and Flywheel can obviate this dependency but that will come in the fullness of time.

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@clay I delete virtualbox and as you know all gone. I’m stuck.
But all my files in Local folder are there and I got this Demo Site running.
Can a just pull this Demo back to Local or I need to re-install the DB?
How can I do that?

Hi Andrei,

Sorry for the trouble!

If your demo site on Flywheel is up-to-date I would recommend just using Flywheel Connect to pull down the site.

Otherwise, you’ll need to follow the steps in the following post to restore your sites: How can I restore a site from a Local site folder?

Hi all, just thought I’d chip in - I tried the flywheel install many times as well with the same issues above. The worst part is that each time, the failed install corrupted my existing install of virtualbox which runs multiple VMs which we (being a small company) use in production for our dns, gateway and other infrastructure stuff. Not only would the flywheel install hang, it would randomly kill the virtualbox process, leaving each of our existing vms in a hung state and needing recovery.

Turns out that the flywheel install was doing its own installation of virtualbox despite there being an existing installation on the host machine. The version that fw tries to install is not the current version, therefore, it messes up the virtualbox install and the existing vms in the process before failing to install itself.

This is extremely, extremely poor coding. Sorry, but it must be said. No seasoned developer would make such a grave mistake over a simple nested if/then/else clause or similar approach required at the start of the installation:

– If virtualbox is detected on the host && if the version is less than what flywheel needs, give user option to upgrade or select cancel, else if it does not exist, install virtualbox.

Even a simple prerequisites note would do the job. Virtualbox is a breeze to install and most, if not all users can deal with it. It becomes poor practice on your dev’s part when the Virtualbox installation is forced on the machine, with no regard for versioning etc. and then failing to get even its own install right. Whether it’s docker or any other container or explanation is meaningless. We, as devs, use these tools all the time - the “correct” way, I add.

All the hallmarks of an outsourced project with little communication and apparently no testing. Sorry for the harsh feedback, but do take it as constructive.

Good luck with rolling this out to paying clients :slight_smile:

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Hi @indigotechbd,

First off I just want to say thanks for the feedback! You definitely brought up some great points. I’ll try to address them individually.

If VirtualBox exists and the version is below the version that Local needs, it will run VirtualBox’s installer which will automatically handle upgrading existing installations of VirtualBox. This is the first time I’ve heard of it trying to install VirtualBox in a second location.

Local already skips the VirtualBox step if it sees a version greater than what Local requires. I do agree that more options need to be shown if an upgrade of VirtualBox is needed.

I understand the sentiment but there is a much more diverse group than just developers that use Local.

Again, I appreciate the feedback and we’ll be making improvements based off of it!

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Hi Clay,

Thanks - I’m glad you took the feedback in the spirit it was delivered and minus the (understandable!) angst that goes with having to install and reinstall something that really should be seamless.

Just want to clarify what I meant about the last point where you mention that Flywheel is used by a much wider community than developers. I totally agree with you here and that’s precisely what I’m trying to point out - if issues with your install have developers running around in circles (note: I have 20+ years IT experience in investments banking in City of London - hardly a hobbyist when when it comes to technology) - anyway, if it has developers confused, your users don’t have a hope in hell of figuring out how to “fix” things - which they shouldn’t have to in the first place. The end result will be lack of user confidence and bad press for your otherwise excellent piece of software (which has a lovely UI too). So, all is not lost, but please take this as a mantra - if devs can’t use it, your users have no chance and they will flock to the next alternative. Just a word of friendly advice backed by real-world experience.

Good luck with your project. I’m installing it on a separate VM to keep it ringfenced away from our other apps. No issues with it working that way.



I too am disappointed at such a hostile install process - I wish I’d known that VirtualBox was a prerequisite, I’d never have bothered even trying to install Local. My dev env is Docker and Docker and VirtualBox can not co-exist with the Windows HyperVisor.

When the local install starts, the radio boxes on my W10 machine are greyed out and so you cannot choose what is presented as a choice between VB or not - annoying! Needs at least a drop-down explaining.

The first chance I get I abort the install but am not sure what it has done to my machine. Can you please help me discover? Has it half-installed something? Is there an install log? A ‘verified uninstalled cleanly’ process?

Second thing is, is there a way I can get an alert when native docker is supported? Don’t want to continually check back here but would like to know when\if it ever happens.

Sorry for the bad installation experience! There is no choice between VirtualBox or no VirtualBox with Local at this time.

The only buttons you should’ve seen after clicking on the “Let’s Go” button are Disable Hyper-V and Restart Computer and Quit Local. If you saw something different, please let us know!

Please see How do I uninstall Local on Windows? - FAQ - Local Community for instructions on how to fully uninstall Local.

Yup! We will send out an e-mail when Local supports Hyper-V.

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It worked for me after removing local-by-flywheel instance from virtualbox and tried a fresh install of local by flywheel.

But I lost all sites databases, but its fine since it was available in my cloud.

Don’t forgot to check delete all while removing local-by-flywheel from virtualbox

I’d love to hear your answer for this one @indigotechbd, sorry to dig up an old thread but I can’t help myself. Why is someone with ‘20 years experience’ running their development environment on the same machine that is running all your production VMs?

I think it’s pretty harsh to throw out such criticism when you’re doing something like that. Especially the jab about paying clients - I’d hope to never be paying a company that does something that reckless with their production systems.

Maybe if you’re testing an unknown software you could behave like the rest of us and not install it on a critical machine.

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