I'm using VirtualBox hosted on Windows 7 and the physical hard drive that one of my VM's VDI file was on got completely borked and no longer exists.

The problem is that now I can delete neither virtual hard drive nor VM since the attempt to delete the VDI file gives me an error stating that VirtualBox can't find the file and of course, I can't delete the VM without first releasing (or deleting) the VDI file that that machine was using.

UPDATE: Note that I've also removed all storage attachments and the snapshots cannot be deleted for the same reason--it can't find the files (because of the non-existent hard drive).

Does anyone know of a solution?

3 Answers 3


Delete your VM xml files on Hard Disk. They are located by default in C:\Users\YOUR_NAME\.VirtualBox\Machines.

After deleting, you'll still receive strange erros messages in Virtualbox. This is because some info about your vms are inside C:\Users\YOUR_NAME\.VirtualBox\VirtualBox.xml.

If you don't mind losing some global configuration in your VirtualBox, just delete this file. Virtualbox will create another if it doesn't exist.

If you just want to remove a specific VM, you have to edit Virtualbox.xml in some xml editor (notepad is fine. notepad++ is better since it has syntax highlighting).

You'll find these fields:

  <MachineEntry uuid="UUID" src="Machines\MACHINE_NAME\MACHINE_NAME.xml"/>
    <HardDisk uuid="UUID" location="HardDisks\DISC_NAME.vdi" format="VDI" type="Normal"/>
    <Image uuid="UUID" location="C:\IMAGES\IMAGE.iso"/>

Remove the MachineEntry from the desired VM. If you just have one VM and want to remove everything, just leave the tags empty. For example:


...and you're done. I just tested everythong here and it works flawlessly. If you want to avoid problems, backup your xml configuration files from VirtualBox and specific VMs.

(I didn't mention about snapshots, but I believe it's the same principle.)

  • You don't need to remove snapshots as they are contained in the C:\...\Machines\MyVM directory.
    – gvkv
    Jun 27, 2010 at 22:40

Instructions above did not solve the issue for me. I wanted to remove a specific machine, not all of them. I did not have a MachineEntry for the specific machine in this file anymore: C:\Users\YOUR_NAME\.VirtualBox\VirtualBox.xml

However, machine was still showing up in the Virtual Media Manager, and I was not able to remove it from here.

Restarting VirtualBox did not work either.

What worked: Restarting VBoxSVC.exe process and then restarting VirtuaBbox.


First, delete any snapshots of that Virtual Machine. Then open the settings of the Virtual Machine, go to Storage tab, right click on the vdi file under IDE Controller and click on Remove Attachment. Now you should be able to remove the VDI from the Virtual Media Manager.

enter image description here

  • 1
    I can't remove the snapshots and I've already removed the controllers.
    – gvkv
    Jun 27, 2010 at 19:45

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