When you’re using Oracle’s VirtualBox to run your virtual machines, you might occasionally encounter the issue of a missing menu bar at the top of the VM window. This menu bar, which contains important options like “File”, “Machine”, “View”, “Input”, “Devices”, “Help”, and more, is crucial for navigating and controlling your virtual machine. If it disappears or becomes invisible, it could hinder your usage significantly.
This guide will help you troubleshoot and resolve this problem, whether you’re using Windows 10 or the newer Windows 11 as your host system, or any other operating system in your VM.
Show the menu bar again in VirtualBox
An immediate solution to a missing menu bar is to make it temporarily visible with a specific keyboard shortcut: the Right Control + Home keys. This combination acts as a direct call to the temporary menu bar regardless of your current VM setting. The right Control key is known as the “Host Key” in VirtualBox, and it’s used for various shortcut commands.
Once the temporary menu bar is visible, you have to traverse through the tabs to ensure its permanent visibility. Here’s how to do it:
- Click on “View” from the temporary menu bar that appeared.
- In the dropdown, move your cursor to “Menu Bar”.
- From the side options, click on “Show Menu Bar”.
Clicking on “Show Menu Bar” ensures that your menu bar is always visible, irrespective of the mode or window size.
Also see: How to Show Menu Bar in Chrome
Enable the menu bar via User Interface settings
Another method to bring back your missing menu bar revolves around VirtualBox settings, particularly those concerned with the user interface. Here’s how you can enable the menu bar via the user interface settings:
- Open the Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager window. This is the main interface that you see when you start VirtualBox.
- Select the problematic VM from the list. You can do this by simply clicking on its name in the list on the left side.
- Once you’ve selected the VM, click on the “Settings” button on the toolbar at the top. This will open a new settings window.
- In the settings window, click on “User Interface” from the list on the left pane. This will show you various options related to the user interface of the VM.
- Look for the checkbox next to the menu bar option in this section. This checkbox determines whether or not the menu bar should be displayed. If it’s unchecked, the menu bar will not be displayed. Click on the checkbox to enable it.
After following these steps, your menu bar should be visible again every time you start that VM.
Other issue: VirtualBox Windows 11 or 10 Stuck on Boot Logo
Check if VirtualBox is in scale mode
VirtualBox provides different modes for the convenience of the users, one of which is “Scale Mode”. In scale mode, the VM window is resized to fit the screen, and certain elements, including the menu bar, can often be hidden to maximize the display area.
To exit the scale mode and bring back your menu bar, you have to use the Right Control + C combination. This command switches the VM from scale mode back to windowed mode, where the menu bar is typically visible.
Related resource: How to Open VMDK File in Windows 11
Ensure VirtualBox is in windowed mode
Similar to the scale mode, full-screen mode in VirtualBox can also hide your menu bar. This mode is designed to provide an immersive experience by hiding all VirtualBox-specific bars and showing only the guest operating system.
To exit full-screen mode and switch back to windowed mode, you need to press Right Control + F. This command will immediately exit the full-screen mode and bring back your VM into windowed mode. Once in windowed mode, you should be able to see the menu bar again.
Sometimes, despite all efforts, software glitches may persist. If your menu bar is still not showing in the VM window, it’s worth trying to reinstall VirtualBox:
- Backup all your data. This includes any virtual machines you have.
- Uninstall VirtualBox from your system. You can do this from the “Add or Remove Programs” tool in Windows.
- Once VirtualBox has been removed, restart your computer.
- Go to the VirtualBox website and download the latest version of the software.
- Install VirtualBox and check if the issue is resolved.
The menu bar in VirtualBox serves as a navigator to various settings and features. When it goes missing, the user experience may decline due to the inconvenient access to many necessary functionalities. However, by following the troubleshooting methods explained above, you can quickly restore the menu bar and resume your work smoothly.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that VirtualBox’s viewing modes (scale mode and full-screen mode) can hide the menu bar to maximize the display area. Therefore, ensuring that VirtualBox is in the correct mode, preferably windowed mode, is vital. Additionally, the menu bar’s visibility should be enabled in the “User Interface” settings.