Getting past "running udev" when installing in VirtualBox


I was having a problem today trying to install NixOS in a VirtualBox guest machine on a macOS host where it would never get past “running udev…”. After a bunch of futzing I finally got it to work so I figured I’d post this in case anyone else has the same issue. Also maybe someone might want to update the instructions at

The symptoms were it would go through stage 1 and end up at “running udev…” and never print anything else after that.

What fixed it was going into the virtual machine settings, Display, Screen, and changing “Graphics Controller” to “VBoxVGA”. After doing this, it was able to get through the boot process and bring me to the root login.


I believe you can also boot with nomodeset kernel option to fix this issue.


That was one of the installer options, but I had no idea what that meant, nor did I even know that the installer was wedged due to a graphics controller issue until I tried changing the value.