Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 9.45.00 PM

Vagrant: The guest machine entered an invalid state

Vagrant has been critical component of my development environment in 2013 and I really would not want to start a project without it anymore. Most of the companies I interviewed with this year were either working with Ops to get it setup or already using and loving it.

[Vagrant enables you to] create and configure lightweight, reproducible, and portable development environments.

The whole concept is really simple. You spin up a virtual machine with a base operating system and setup a handful of configuration files to install whatever software you need. Its all neatly packaged up in a way that makes it easy to distribute across entire teams and give everyone a consistent development environment on their machine. (If you haven’t already seen it you need to check out Puphpet!)

Okay, but how do I make Vagrant work?

I was setting Vagrant the other day when I got this really strange message about the machine being in a “power off” state.

Well what the hell does that mean?

Honestly, I never took the time to figure it out. What I can tell you is that Christoph Khouri (@ChristophKhouri) eventually found this one-off post in a forum somewhere that said to repair the file permissions. So, we opened up Disk Utility, selected the partition Vagrant was sitting on and clicked on “Repair Disk Permissions” in the First Aid tab.

Disk Utility

Bada bing bada boom. That solved the problem. Let me know if this worked for you or if you found another solution to this problem. If you know what causes this in the first place I would love to hear that too.

Posted by:

Jake A. Smith
Hi, my name is Jake A. Smith and I'm an addict.. err.. developer. I create things.


  1. Helder Correia -  October 31, 2013 - 2:18 am

    I’ll be damned… it worked! What a head scratcher, you saved my day. Thanks!

  2. Kalyan R Koduru -  December 30, 2013 - 2:19 am

    This seems to be an issue with Virtualbox. I ran into the same issue, and updated my permissions as suggested. But that didn’t work. However, i got this issue resolved with latest virtualbox version 4.3.6 ;)

  3. Sean Kennedy -  January 16, 2014 - 2:03 pm

    One time this worked for me — this latest time, however, VirtualBox itself became unresponsive and wouldn’t even open (OS X).

    I had to completely reinstall VirtualBox and then everything worked fine without any loss of data.

    Hopefully this will help other people having the same issue!

  4. Chris -  February 11, 2014 - 12:44 pm

    I’ve found that ‘sudo /Library/StartupItems/VirtualBox/VirtualBox restart’ works much quicker.


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