How to Fix: Nonexistent host networking interface (Virtualbox)

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Infopackets Reader Calli P. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I we just upgraded our server machine which includes all brand new hardware. The new server hardware will act as a Hypervisor, and are currently using Virtualbox to run our 'server' virtual machine. After copying over the server virtual machine to the new hardware, however, Virtualbox won't boot the virtual machine, stating 'Nonexistent host networking interface, name Intel I210 Gigabit Network Connection (VERR_INTERNAL_ERROR)', with an E_FAIL error 0x80004005. I am not sure what to do and I need help! "

My response:

I asked Calli if she would like me to look into this using my remote desktop support service, and she agreed.

Below I will discuss my findings.

How to Fix: Nonexistent host networking interface (Virtualbox)

The error message Calli is receiving, "Nonexistent host networking interface," refers to an old networking adapter that was used for bridged networking between the old host machine (i.e. the old server) and the guest virtual machine on Virtualbox.

Effectively, bridged networking allows the guest to use the host's networking adapter as a tunnel to the outside world, including the Internet and the local area network (LAN).

The reason Calli is receiving this error message is because the new server hardware has a different network adapter than the old, and as a result - rather strangely - the Virtualbox virtual machine would fail to boot.

For reference, the full error code is:

Nonexistent host networking interface, name Intel I210 Gigabit Network Connection (VERR_INTERNAL_ERROR)
Result Code: E_FAIL (0x80004005)
Component: ConsoleWrap
Interface: IConsole {872da645-4a9b-1727-bee2-5585105b9eed}

Using NAT Instead of Bridged Networking

Intermediate solutions on Internet in various forum posts suggested setting the network interface on the virtual machine to use NAT (network address translation) instead of bridged networking.

Changing the network adapter to use NAT in fact did work, however, it also changed the IP address of the virtual machine to a completely different subnet, which then caused various programs and mapped network drives inside the virtual machine to stop working.

Unfortunately, setting the virtual machine from NAT back to bridged produced the same error "Nonexistent host networking interface".

Generating a New MAC Address

Other forum posts suggested refreshing the network interface to include a new MAC address, but this option was greyed out in Virtualbox.

Clone Virtual Machine: Generate New MAC Address

Using an old trick from VMware Workstation, I also tried to clone the virtual machine into a new full clone and during the setup, told it to "Generate new MAC address for all networking adapters" in hopes that this would fix the problem.

Unfortunately this did not work and the dreaded "Nonexistent host networking interface" persisted.

The Solution

The one solution that did work for me, however, was to disable the network adapter entirely, then boot the virtual machine. While the virtual machine was loaded, I then changed the network adapter to bridged networking.

The setting finally took and I was able to acquire the same subnet as the rest of the network and had access to the Internet. After that, I rebooted the virtual machine to verify the settings would stick, and they did.

I hope that helps.

Additional Support

If this is over your head, or if your virtual machine still isn't working and you would like assistance with the "Nonexistent host networking interface" error, you can contact me for remote desktop support where I can connect to your machine and fix it for you. Simply contact me briefly describing the issue, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the CEO and owner of Since 2001, Dennis has dedicated his entire professional career helping others with technology-related issues with his unique style of writing in the form of questions-and-answers; click here to read all 2,000+ of Dennis' articles online this site. In 2014, Dennis shifted his focus to cyber crime mitigation, including technical support fraud and in 2019, sextortion. Dennis has received many accolades during his tenure: click here to view Dennis' credentials online; click here to see Dennis' Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science (1999); click here to read an article written about Dennis by Alan Gardyne of Associate Programs (2003). And finally, click here to view a recommendation for Dennis' services from the University of Florida (dated 2006).

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