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I spend a lot of my job writing documentation for the installation of software on my employer's servers. Sometimes this is quite complicated, so I do the initial work inside a virtual machine running in VirtualBox, and take snapshots at each successful milestone.

Depending on what my machine is up to, the amount of changes that have been made since the last snapshot and so-on, the snapshot generation can take a number of minutes to complete. During this time the virtual machine is still responsive and I can continue using it.

If I kick off a snapshot, am I able to continue working, knowing that the machine's state was stored at the beginning of the snapshot process, or is there a risk that I could end up with the snapshot containing half of the next step in my work, and I should therefore wait until the snapshotting process has finished before continuing my work?

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No, you don't have to wait until a snapshot has created completely. The VirtualBox documentation sheds some light on the technology behind snapshots:

When a snapshot is taken, VirtualBox "freezes" the [virtual disk - I.K.] image file and no longer writes to it. For the write operations from the VM, a second, "differencing" image file is created which receives only the changes to the original image.

You can read more about it there:

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