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I am playing around with Virtual Box and installed an Ubuntu 12.04 ISO on a my first VM. Now I want to "wipe" that VM clean and undo all the software I had installed on it. My co-worker said the easiest thing to do is to just re-install Ubuntu and overwrite everything.

What's the easiest way to do this with VBox? Should I just delete the whole VM and recreate it from scratch? It would be nice if I can just tell VBox "hey, take this VM, erase everything on it, and then replace it with this ISO" instead of having to delete the entire VM and create a new one. Is this possible? If so, how? If not, what's my best remedy here? Thanks in advance!

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You seem to want to preserve the configurations for the virtual machine.

The easy way to accomplish this is obvious: detach the virtual disk image and replace it with a new one.

The configurations for the virtual machine remain in tact, but the stored data is gone.

1. In Settings >> Storage, remove the current virtual disk image.

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2. Add a new attachment: "Add Hard Disk".

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3. "Create new disk"

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4. VirtualBox will use the new disk.

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Thanks @Deltik (+1) - I presume I accomplish this in Settings >> Storage? I see an "Attributes" section with a CD icon that allows me to choose an ISO? Do I just choose the same ISO as before (would doing so cause VBox to overwrite my old VM with the new ISO)? – pnongrata Jul 29 '12 at 20:42
@zharvey You replace the .vdi file with a new one. (Sorry for the late clarification, but I'm on a different computer right now, so I just downloaded VirtualBox to get screenshots.) – Deltik Jul 29 '12 at 20:45
Thanks again - I removed my existing attachment and added a new one (pointing to my Ubuntu ISO). I restarted the VM and got the following error: FATAL: Could not read from the boot medium. System halted. Where am I going wrong here? Thanks again! – pnongrata Jul 29 '12 at 20:54
Create a new hard disk. Don't point it to the ISO file. Then start up the virtual machine. You'll still get the fatal error, but go to Devices >> CD/DVD Devices >> Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file..., choose your ISO file, then reset the virtual machine. (Screenshot) – Deltik Jul 29 '12 at 21:08

For future reference, after you've installed the virtual machine and have everything running, create a snapshot. This will allow you to revert back to this squeaky, clean state whenever you want!


See Also:

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