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?


6 Answers 6


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.

  • fair enough, I'll re-evaluate that method :-) Aug 12, 2009 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.


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.


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.


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


I have exactly such a setup you are asking for. New Windows Server instance with all the updates and apps ready for work within a few minutes. I achieved it by installing the Windows server, setting everything as I want it to have as a starting point, then sysprep it. I learned how to do it from this guy: http://pc-addicts.com/building-the-ultimate-virtualbox-lab-intro/ He has 6 videos on everything how to setup an useful and practical vm lab in VirtualBox.

  • Please be a little more specific with your detail, consider adding some reference and proof supporting what you state, and confirming this answer is not already answered in one of the existing answers on the post. Furthermore, consider adding some quoted reference to this answer supporting what you state in case the link ever dies so the answer content is still available that is currently only available via that link per your suggestion. Oct 5, 2017 at 16:27

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