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I have a web development VM (VirtualBox 5.1.38) with a webserver and database. The VM mounts the web application directory as a shared folder from my host.

Serving the application works just fine, but when I make changes to the application files on the host system and reload the page in my browser they changes are not picked up inside the VM until I reboot it.

What is going on here?

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There seems to be a bug with the Linux vboxsf driver in VirtualBox 5.x. Shared folders are getting cached when they're not supposed to. It's supposedly fixed in version 6.0.6.

If you can't update you can work around the issue by manually clearing the cache inside the VM before reloading the page in the browser:

echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches
by (335) 2 9