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What is the proper way to do the following. I've just installed a new clean operating system. I want to have different "versions" so I can keep the clean one ready to clone for the future, and then as I install different apps and tools, I can have different working copies based on what I'm doing at the time (developing for the job, developing games, just browsing, etc.).

I tried doing something with snapshots, but it made me clear out all my saved snapshots when I upgraded to a newer version of vbox ... so I was wondering what's the proper way to support the scenario above?


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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Snapshots should be the best way to handle this type of scenario. It's possible that something changed between VirtualBox releases that made the snapshot formats incompatible.

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fair enough, I'll re-evaluate that method :-) – Joel Martinez Aug 12 '09 at 19:55

I have created a simple script to clone a VirtualBox machine. It can create a clone from any snapshot. See my blog post where you can download the script.

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I just copy (I zip it, in fact) the hard disk image (VDI).
When I need it for a new VM, I mount the copy in VBox, and I create a new VM using that newly available "hard drive".
For me snapshots are more usefull for rolling back the machine after a demo or a training or a dubious software install. I would be very pleased to have feedback of others about this method.

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i don't like snapshots for the same reason i don't like 'hot images' of a live operating system. in addition, they're rendered useless whenever a major update of VBox is released.

i prefer to backup a VHD (they compress fairly well to save space) at various stages. virtual hard drives for a guest OS can easily be changed in the VBox console.

and of course it is possible to run different versions of VirtualBox on one computer (making VirtualBox 'portable' is only one solution), so you don't have to dump the VHDs whenever they're no longer supported by a newer version.

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Once you setup the image - make a backup of it that you can copy and mount later on.

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