7 Fixes For Kernel Driver Not Installed (rc=-1908) Error on Mac

I’m delighted to have you with me today as I recount a recent challenge I encountered on my Mac – the Kernel Driver Not Installed (rc=-1908) error. This one gave me quite a run for my money, but like all tech hurdles, it’s not insurmountable. Without further ado, let’s jump in.

A while back, I was attempting to install some new software using VirtualBox on my Mac. I was excited to use this fresh tool, but alas, my enthusiasm was cut short when I stumbled upon a message – “Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)”. If you’re here, chances are you’re all too familiar with this pesky hurdle.

Why the trouble you ask? The primary reason is because MacOS requires user consent to load new kernel extensions (KEXTs) since the introduction of the High Sierra update. This security measure can inadvertently block VirtualBox’s kernel extensions from loading. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

1. Reinstall VirtualBox

My first reaction was simple – let’s try reinstalling VirtualBox. I removed the program through the traditional uninstall method and then redownloaded it from the official VirtualBox website. After the reinstall, I restarted my Mac and… no dice. The error persisted.

Reinstall VirtualBox


2. Manually Allow VirtualBox in Security Settings

Undeterred, I dove into the belly of the beast – MacOS’s security settings. Here’s how you can do it: Open System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General. At the bottom, you’ll find an option stating ‘System software from developer “Oracle” was blocked from loading’. Just click the ‘Allow’ button next to it and you’re golden.

Well, in theory. For me, the problem persisted, leading me to solution three.

Manually Allow VirtualBox in Security Settings

3. Unload and Reload VirtualBox KEXTs

This step is a bit more technical, so brace yourself. You’ll need to fire up Terminal and execute some commands to manually unload and reload the kernel extensions.

This is how I did it: I first unloaded the VirtualBox KEXTs with sudo kextunload -b org.virtualbox.kext.VBoxDrv. Then I reloaded them using sudo kextload -b org.virtualbox.kext.VBoxDrv. It’s a simple unload-reload job that worked for some, but sadly, not for me.

Unload and Reload VirtualBox KEXTs

4. Disable SIP and Allow KEXTs

Next, I thought of disabling the System Integrity Protection (SIP) and allowing user-approved KEXTs. To do this, reboot your Mac, hold Command+R to enter the Recovery Mode, open Terminal, and execute csrutil disable and spctl kext-consent disable. After that, I rebooted my Mac once more, but the rc=-1908 error was persistent.

Disable SIP and Allow KEXTs

5. Running VirtualBox in Safe Mode

Then I thought, why not run my Mac in Safe Mode? I restarted my Mac, held down the Shift key until the Apple logo appeared, and voila, I was in Safe Mode. I tried running VirtualBox again. Unfortunately, my old nemesis, rc=-1908, was there to greet me.

Running VirtualBox in Safe Mode

6. Installing Older Version of VirtualBox

At my wits’ end, I considered going back to an older version of VirtualBox. They say “Old is Gold,” right? So, I uninstalled the current version and downloaded an older one from the VirtualBox Older Builds page. And would you believe it? It worked!

There’s an old adage – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In my case, it seemed the older version of VirtualBox wasn’t “broke” for my particular Mac configuration, and finally, I was rid of the rc=-1908 error!

There you have it, folks – my journey with the Kernel Driver Not Installed (rc=-1908) error. In this tech voyage, patience truly is a virtue. If one fix doesn’t work for you, try the next, and remember, persistence is key.

Stay tuned for more of my tech escapades and remember – we’re all just travelers in this vast digital landscape!

7. Updating Your MacOS to the Latest Version

  • Importance of OS updates for compatibility:
    • Bug Fixes and Improvements: MacOS updates often bring patches for known bugs, glitches, and vulnerabilities. An outdated OS may have issues that have been addressed in the newer versions, ensuring a smoother experience with software like VirtualBox.
    • Enhanced Security: Newer MacOS versions incorporate better security mechanisms. While this could sometimes lead to issues like rc=-1908, staying updated ensures you’re benefiting from the latest protections.
    • Software Dependencies: VirtualBox and similar software periodically update to remain compatible with newer OS versions. Running an outdated MacOS might lead to incompatibility with newer VirtualBox versions.
  • Steps to check and update MacOS:
    1. Apple Menu: Click on the Apple logo located at the top-left corner of your screen.
    2. About This Mac: This will open a window displaying details about your current MacOS version.
    3. Software Update: Click on the “Software Update” button to see if there are any available updates.
    4. Download & Install: If an update is available, you’ll be prompted to download and install it. Ensure you backup important data before proceeding.
    5. Restart: Most major updates will require a system restart. Once done, your Mac will boot up with the updated OS.

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Benjamin Johnson

Hey there, I'm Ben, the tech-savvy Founder and CEO of WinFixo.com. I've dedicated my life to helping fellow Windows users optimize their PCs for peak performance. Join me on this journey as we unlock the full potential of your Windows devices together!

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