How to Clone or Move a Virtual Machine with VirtualBox

When it comes to testing various operating systems on the PC without having to install them, it is using a virtual machine. These virtualization programs are becoming very widespread in recent times, applications such as the popular VirtualBox. That is why below we are going to tell you how to clone or move a virtual machine with VirtualBox .

And it is necessary to bear in mind that at the moment we have a large number of operating systems at our fingertips. Each with its own functions and features, as there is much beyond Windows . That is why, out of necessity or curiosity, we have the possibility to test a good part of them thanks to virtual machines. To test an alternative system to the one we have installed, nobody likes having to modify the computer. This is something that is especially evident if we work with it or do not have much knowledge.

Therefore, a good solution is the virtual machines that we are talking about. By that we mean programs that are installed on the PC and allow us to test other operating systems quickly, safely and virtually.

Advantages of using programs like VirtualBox

As we told you, in this sense we find a good number of proposals for virtualization. VirtualBox is one of the best known and used around the world. To give you an idea of what we are talking about, VirtualBox is an application that we find completely free for Windows, macOS , Linux and Solaris. It has support for a large number of operating systems that we can virtualize from here.

In fact, we could say that thanks to this software solution, we have the possibility of virtualizing practically any modern edition of Windows, Linux, or Solaris. In addition, all this from a simple user interface. Of course, although it is not complicated, virtualizing an operating system from an ISO image requires certain knowledge. It is worth mentioning that the program as such can be downloaded from this link .

It also has certain very interesting features for most users, such as the Guest Additions toolkit. These are installed with the loaded image and add the necessary drivers for the correct functioning of the virtual machines , among other things. At the same time it makes it easier for us to interact with the host operating system and it allows us to configure up to 32 CPUs .

At the same time to say that VirtualBox has support to work with USB devices, multiple screen resolutions, snapshot system, or cloning of virtual machines.

How to copy or clone a virtual machine in VirtualBox

In fact, it is in this last section that we want to focus on these lines. Keep in mind that this virtualization program that we are talking about is full of functions that it puts at our disposal. Thus, what we achieve is to be able to use it whether we are expert users in the field, as well as newer users.

The start-up of a new virtual machine in this application is not complex, but we must know how to configure it well. In addition, to optimize its use to the maximum, we have the possibility of using some of those functions that we explain to you.

Why move or clone a virtual machine

And it may be the case that we need to create more than one copy of a virtual machine. Or it may also be the case that we want to move that virtual machine to another disk drive on the PC that is faster, or with more space. Something that we must bear in mind when working with virtual machines is that they take up a lot of disk space in some cases. At the same time you have to know that when it is running, it consumes PC resources.

This is something that we can largely adjust or customize, but a minimum is unavoidable. We cannot forget that we are running one operating system over another. And that is something that takes up space on disk drives, and consumes resources, whether we want to or not. That is why, to improve the performance of the entire set, it is sometimes necessary to move the virtual machine to an SSD drive, or vice versa, move or clone it to an HDD in order to free up space on the SSD. Well, be that as it may, then we will help you with all this, as we are going to see.

Clone a virtual machine from VirtualBox

In this case, we are going to start by looking at how to make a copy or clone a certain VM that has already been created before. So, the first thing we do is open VirtualBox. The virtual machines or VMs that we have will appear on the screen. Therefore we only have to click with the right button of the mouse on which we want to work, and select the Clone option.

At that moment a new window appears that belongs to the VirtualBox cloning assistant where we can name the copy that we are going to make. Here we can specify the new name of the copy that we are going to generate, as well as the destination disk path. At the same time we can indicate to the program the policy of the Mac addresses , although the usual thing is that we leave the one that comes by default.

On the other hand, in the Additional Options section, we have the possibility of keeping the names of the disk units in the cloned machine, as well as the hardware identifiers. Once all this is configured, we click on Next. Of course, we have a button called Expert mode that also allows us to clone only the current state of the machine, or all of it in its entirety.

Finally we choose full or linked cloning. The main difference between the two modes is that the complete one is an exact copy of the original virtual machine. However, the link is created but the files are not, but they are links to the original machine, which saves us space.

Move a virtual machine

On the other hand we find the possibility of moving the virtual machine from one disk location to another. This is something that we can carry out on the same hard drive, or between two different ones. As we mentioned before, this is something that can be carried out to free up space in a certain unit, or to work on a faster one. This is a much faster and easier process than the previous one. To do this, the first thing to do is press the secondary button on the machine to be treated. In this case we opted for the Move option.

Next on the screen appears an Explorer window that gives us the possibility to select the folder of the destination path. Once selected, the process will start automatically.

Of course, depending on the size of the element that we are going to move, as well as the speed of the disk units, the time of the process varies, it can last several minutes.

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