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I am upgrading to a new system, and I make heavy use of the Vmware Workstation snapshot feature. Every attempt I have made so far to transfer the VMs to my new system result in the loss of all my snapshots, which is extremely annoying

I have made sure the VM was powered off on the source, and I just copy all the files over from the original location to my new system, and then double click on the vmx file for that VM.

Is there some trick to transfer a VM and all the snapshots to a new system?

PS I hope it doesn't matter, but The host OS on the source is Windows 7, and the destination is Linux. Both are running Workstation 9.0.2

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Isn't it possible to just copy the entire directory, provided that the drive AND path are the same on both systems? (eg: both d:\VMs\yourVM\ or whatever) – William May 6 '13 at 3:41

Unfortunately, what your are asking cannot be done. In order to move a virtual machine to a new VMWare host, you must delete the snapshots, or commit them to the base image. See this VMware KB article.

As for the host machine OSs being different, that does not matter.

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I am not saying you are necessarily wrong, but that KB you reference is about Vmware ESX/ESXi, and I am using Workstation, which I thought did snapshots differently. I know ESXi, doesn't support the forked snapshots, or linked clones like Workstation. – Zoredache Apr 29 '13 at 20:37
Perhaps, but the ESX/ESXi was in a different section... – Keltari Apr 30 '13 at 1:03

In that case go to the Snapshot manager and create a clone of your defined snapshot. The VM has to be turned off - the clone will then be your base vhd including your snapshot file (which only documents changes to base vhd).

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The question isn't how to move the VM. I get the VM just fine. I need my snapshots. – Zoredache Apr 25 '13 at 19:18
That still isn't adequate. I have a particular VM that has 8 snapshots made at very specific points in time, that I used for testing system. I want to move that VM to a new system with all the snapshots intact exactly the way they were. – Zoredache Apr 25 '13 at 21:18

Not an answer, but an idea.

My first thought was that the reason that the simple copy of the VM with snapshots is not enough, was that VMWare keeps somewhere a folder name. However, I have looked at the files that are created and I have found no folder name anywhere.

My idea is therefore to investigate the possible differences between the snapshot files in Windows and Linux : Take a simple VM without snapshots and copy to Linux, create a snapshot of identical name on both systems and study the differences. You might this way find what the difference is and how to correctly convert the Windows version of the files to Linux.

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There is actually a really nice tool from VMware itself called VMware Converter. It can be downloaded here:

On the summary page, check out the Advanced Options where you can select either to remove or keep your snapshots.

There is also a "bug" (feature?) where it takes a long time to convert machines if SSL is enabled. If you are in a secure infrastructure I would recommend to turn of SSL. How you do it is described here:

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There does not appear to be any options to keep snapshots when the source/destination option is set to Workstation. I am using 5.1 – Zoredache May 6 '13 at 0:36

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