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Howto convert from VMware to VirtualBox

22. März 2008

In January 2007 a small german software company (now owned by Sun Microsystems) released a quite usable virtualization solution called VirtualBox under the terms of the GPL licence. Since then VirtualBox has made a strong progress and can now compete with commercial solutions from VMware or Parallels with features like seamless mode or booting your guests from iSCSI. This howto is for all those folks looking to move from VMware Server to VirtualBox.

First of all forget about converting since VirtualBox can work with VMWare’s vmdk format. So there is no more dealing with odd stuff like qemu-img, vditool or VBoxManage convertdd. The only reason to convert your virtual machine is if you plan to use snapshots. If you don’t so go ahead:

  • Prepare your virtual machine by removing the vmware tools
  • Locate where your virtual machine is located. Mostly /var/lib/vmware/$VIRTUALMACHINENAME
  • Change the user- and group-id of the virtual machine files from the root to your personal user:
    waldorf: $ su
    waldorf: # chown $USERNAME:$GROUPNAME /var/lib/vmware/$VIRTUALMACHINENAME -R
  • Now start VirtualBox and launch the Virtual Disk Manager via click through File/Virtual Disk Manager and add your virtual machine vmdk file
  • Add a new virtual machine with the former defined virtual disk
  • Start the virtual machine and install VirtualBox guest extensions
  • Done

A few words for migrating Windows XP guest virtual machines: Please read this before you start and if you still have problems to boot try this:

Have fun!

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