How to Move a Virtual Machine From VirtualBox To VMware, Hyper-V and Back

In this article, we’ll tell you how to move a virtual machine from VirtualBox to VMware or Hyper-V and back, and how to convert virtual machines between VMware, Hyper-V and VirtualBox hypervisors.

How to Move a Virtual Machine From VirtualBox To VMware, Hyper-V and Back

If you have a virtual machine created in Oracle VirtualBox, you can move it to another hypervisor – for example, to VMware a Hyper-V server – and bring it back if necessary. As to VirtualBox, it is quite versatile in terms of supported formats and can handle all popular virtual disk types, and it can also convert disks from one format into another. So, it’s pretty easy to convert a disk from VirtualBox native format – VDI – to VHD or vmdk.

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How to move a virtual machine from VirtualBox to VMware

VirtualBox and VMware use different virtual machine formats, but each of them supports the common open virtualization format. Having converted an existing virtual machine into OVF or OVA format, you’ll be able to import it into another virtualization tool.

Before you start moving a virtual machine, make sure that it is shut down in VirtualBox, and not just suspended. If the machine is suspended, start it and click Shutdown.

VirtualBox virtual machine shutdown

After that, click File and choose Export Appliance. From the list, select the virtual machine you want to move and click Next.

Menu - File - Export Appliance

In the new window, select the location where to save the appliance file and click Next.

Choose directory to save the configuration file

After that, VirtualBox will begin exporting it into an OVA file, which you will be able to import to VMWare later. This is going to take some time, depending on the size of the files stored on the virtual machine disk.

To import the OVA file you have just created, open VMware, click FileOpen, give the path to the recently created file and click Open.

Importing the OVA virtual machine file in VMware

In the window that opens, specify the name of the virtual machine and the path where it should be stored – BrowseOKImport.

Give the virtual machine namd and the path to save it

VirtualBox and VMWare are not fully compatible, so you will probably see an import failed warning, since the file doesn’t comply with OVF specifications. However, if you click Retry, the virtual machine should be imported. When this process is over, you can boot the virtual machine in VMware.

If the hypervisor displays this error at startup:

Cannot connect the virtual device sata 0:1 because no corresponding device is available on the host.

Do you want to try to connect this virtual device every time you power on the virtual machine?

Cannot connect the virtual device sata 0:1 error

and the machine won’t boot, try changing some settings. Shut down the machine and go to virtual machine settings. Click on CD/DVD tab and remove the disk.

Remove the virtual CD/DVD

Now the virtual machine should boot properly and without any errors. The last step to take is to install the VMware Tools package.

How to move a virtual machine from VMware to VirtualBox

To move a virtual machine from VMWare to VirtualBox, make sure that the virtual machine you want to import is not running or disabled; otherwise, start the machine and shut it down. In the program’s window, select the virtual machine to be imported and click FileExport to OVF.

File - Export to OVF

Choose the folder where you’d like to save the configuration file and click Save. Wait until the export process is complete.

Saving the OVF file

After that, open VirtualBox, click File and choose Import Appliance. Give the path to the previously created .OVF file, click Open and Next.

Menu - File - Import Appliance

In the new window, you’ll be able to change the location of the future virtual machine. Its hard disks will be imported in VDI format. Click Finish to confirm this action.

Importing the virtual machine

When the import operation is complete, you can start this virtual machine. If the machine freezes while booting, try to change some of its options by clicking on the Settings button.

Changing settings of a new VirtualBox virtual machine

If you see any notifications saying that something is not properly configured, change the settings. In my case, the graphics controller is misconfigured. To fix the problem, open Display, jump to the Screen tab and change the graphics controller to the recommended one – VMSVGA – and click OK.

Changing the graphics controller type for the virtual machine

Now the virtual machine starts without any issues.

How to move a virtual machine from VirtualBox to Hyper-V

Now let’s explore how to convert a disk from VDI format for VirtualBox into VHD format for Hyper-V. You can do it with the help of the command prompt and a utility called vboxmanage.exe.

For illustration, I’ll be using a virtual machine with a Linux operating system, which is stored right here:


I will save the converted file to another folder:


Launch the command prompt as administrator, and go to the VirtualBox directory.

Type the command for conversion - this is how it looks like:

vboxmanage.exe clonehd «E:\VirtualBoxVMs\Ubuntu\Ubuntu.vdi» «E:\Convert\ubuntuconverted.vhd» --format VHD

The path to the VDI file and the other path where I want the VHD file to be saved. The command will create a copy of the disk in the required format and put it into the specified directory.

Converting the VDI file to VHD

After that, start Hyper-V on the server where you want to move the virtual machine, create a new one, and specify its name and folder where it should be stored. And then, at the stage where a virtual disk should be created, choose the option “Use an existing virtual hard disk” and give the path to the file that you have converted before.

Creating a new Hyper-V machine with connected VHD file

Then run the virtual machine and check it for the files that have been lost.

How to import a virtual machine from Hyper-V to VirtualBox and VMware

If you need to move a virtual machine from VMWare to Hyper-V, this can be done with the help of special converters. I’ll show you how to convert a .vmdk virtual hard disk to a .vhd hard disk using the program called StarWind. This is a free utility that helps users to transfer a virtual machine disk from one platform to another. You can download it from the official website.

After installing and starting the program, you’ll be suggested to choose location of the disk image which needs to be converted.

Choosing location for the file converted in StarWind

After that, you should choose a folder, then select location of the destination image, choose the image format, and select the VHD/VHDX image options.

Choosing new disk format

Now choose where you want to save it and click Convert to start the process. When it’s over, click Finish.

Choosing where to save the new disk file

After that, move the image to the VMware server, run the program and create a new virtual machine; at the stage of adding the virtual disk choose the option to use an existing virtual disk and give the path to the recently created .vmdk file.

Creating a new VMware virtual machine

With this method, you’ll be able to convert disks of various formats to be used with Hyper-V, Qemu, VMware and other hypervisors.


As a result, we managed to move a virtual machine from VirtualBox to VMware, Hyper-V and back, and also from VMWare to Hyper-V. This tutorial can be useful if you’re planning to switch to a different virtualization platform, and using this method means you will never lose your virtual machine data, so it’s going to work properly on a new server as well.

Vladimir Artiukh

Author: , Technical Writer

Vladimir Artiukh is a technical writer for Hetman Software, as well as the voice and face of their English-speaking YouTube channel, Hetman Software: Data Recovery for Windows. He handles tutorials, how-tos, and detailed reviews on how the company’s tools work with all kinds of data storage devices.

Oleg Afonin

Editor: , Technical Writer

Oleg Afonin is an expert in mobile forensics, data recovery and computer systems. He often attends large data security conferences, and writes several blogs for such resources as, Elcomsoft and Habr. In addition to his online activities, Oleg’s articles are also published in professional magazines. Also, Oleg Afonin is the co-author of a well-known book, Mobile Forensics - Advanced Investigative Strategies.

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