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VMware has the concept of "dependent disk" (snapshots are made and used along with the virtual machine), "independent persistent disk" (disk has his own state, no snapshot), "independent non persistent" (changes done since vm was powered on are reverted when vm is powered off again).

Can VirtualBox do that ?

Surprisingly, Googling those keywords with VirtualBox gave me nothing relevant.

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Yes VirtualBox can

VirtualBox can do this and more, but the naming is different.

VirtualBox terminology

Names are defined in Chapter 5. Virtual storage:

  • normal images (VMware's "dependent disk")
  • write-through hard disks (VMware's "independent persistent disk")
  • shareable hard disks (warning, expert feature, multiple VMs access same disk without safeguard, will eat your data if not mastered)
  • immutable images (VMware's "independent non-persistent disk")
  • multiattach mode (seen like "normal" while allowing multiple VMs, actually implemented similar to "immutable")
  • read-only image (well, simply like the name says)

VirtualBox howto

GUI style

  • Power down the virtual machine
  • Go to configuration, storage, add a hard drive, set its size.
  • In main window menu, Go to File -> media manager
  • Select your new disk and click on modify.
  • There you can choose your disk type.

Command line style

vboxmanage can do all these steps, but they are not specific to this question. The part specific to this question looks like this example:

vboxmanage modifyhd /some/path/to/myimage.vdi  --type=writethrough

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