How to Transfer a VirtualBox PC to Another Computer

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How to Transfer a VirtualBox PC to Another Computer
VirtualBox makes it simple to share virtual machines (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

VirtualBox allows Windows users to experiment with the Linux operating system. Linux users can try out all the latest Linux distributions and leave their current, working systems intact. VirtualBox also allows you to transfer and install a virtual machine you created on one computer to another computer running VirtualBox or another virtual machine client which recognises the OVF or "Open Virtualization Format" packaging standard.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Launch the VirtualBox application on the computer containing the virtual machine you will transfer.

  2. 2

    Click the "File" menu. Select the "Export Appliance" option.

  3. 3

    Select the virtual machine you want to export. Click the "Next" button. Click the "Next" button again.

  4. 4

    Use the default directory that VirtualBox suggests to export the "OVF" file to or click "Choose" to select another directory. Click the "Finish" button.

  5. 5

    Use your system's file manager to open the directory containing the three files produced by VirtualBox. These files will have the ".mf", ".ovf" and ".vmdk" file extensions.

  6. 6

    Use the file manager to copy these files to a CD or DVD, thumb drive, or shared network folder you will use to transfer the virtual machine between computers. Copy these files to a folder on your target computer.

  7. 7

    Launch VirtualBox on the target machine. Click the "File" menu. Select the "Import Appliance" option. Click the "Choose" button.

  8. 8

    Use VirtualBox's file manager to locate the directory containing the three exported virtual machine files. Select the file with the ".ovf" extension. Click the "Open" button.

  9. 9

    Click the "Next" button. Click the "Finish" button to complete installation of the virtual machine.

Tips and warnings

  • You can not transfer a VirtualBox virtual machine unless all three files produced by the exporting process are present. An archiving utility lets you package all three into a single file. Collect these files in an archive using your system's standard compression and archiving utility.
  • The Open Virtualization Format packaging standard is constantly improving. Each new version may make changes to the OVF format that are incompatible with versions of VirtualBox that are not up to date. Select the "Legacy OVF 0.9" when exporting your VirtualBox virtual machines if you are unsure what version of VirtualBox is running on the target computer.

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