How to convert a virtual machine on Oracle VirtualBox to use with VMware Workstation Pro, and vice versa

To create and deal with virtual machines you might depend upon Oracle VirtualBox or VMware Workstation Pro, which are the two most popular cross-platform virtual machine managers available out there. Even though, you might be comfortable on one of the two most popular virtualization platforms or any other popular virtualization platform, it sometimes becomes necessary to switch to a different virtual machine platform, for example from VirtualBox to VMware Workstation or vice versa. You might move to a new organization which may depend on a separate virtualization platform, or you just want to change your existing infrastructure and start using different virtual machine platform, for varying requirements, or anything else.

The bottom line is, you might sometimes find it necessary to switch to a new virtualization platform even though you might not need to do that every single day. When it comes to you switching between virtual machine platforms, you should convert your virtual machine on a particular platform to some universal format, or some other format, which can be recognized by the virtual machine platform that you are going to use. So today I will talk about, how you can switch between Oracle VirtualBox and VMware Workstation Pro so that you can use a virtual machine created using VirtualBox on VMware workstation and vice versa.

So, without any for the delay, let’s get started with how you can do that.

When it comes to converting a virtual machine, so that it can be used by a different virtual machine software, two steps are involved. First is, converting the virtual machine, to a common format recognizable by most, or at least the target virtual machine platform. The second is to import it to the virtual machine platform, where you want to use it.

So I will talk about, how you can convert a virtual machine to ‘Open Virtual Appliance’ or OVA format on both VMware Workstation Pro and Oracle VirtualBox, and then, proceed with how you can convert or import the same to the format that is natively supported by VMware Workstation Pro, and Oracle VirtualBox.

Convert Virtual Box VM to use in VMware Workstation Player

Converting a virtual machine to OVA/OVF

Step 1 – Export Appliance on Oracle VirtualBox

Open Oracle VirtualBox, click on ‘File’ in the menu bar, and then click on ‘Export Appliance…’, or just use the ‘Ctrl+E’ shortcut key.

Export Appliance on Oracle VirtualBox

Step 2: Choose the virtual machine to export

Now choose the virtual machine that you want to export, and click on ‘Next’. You can click on ‘Expert Mode’ to configure some advanced settings, but we don’t need that now.

Choose the virtual machine to export

Step 3: Open Virtualization Format 1.0

In the next step, make sure, ‘Open Virtualization Format 1.0’ is chosen. You can now change the location, where the virtual machine will be stored and would recommend you to keep the other settings default. Now, again click on ‘Next’.

Open Virtualization Format 1.0

Step 4: Exporting the virtual machine

Now, the description will be displayed to you. Just click on ‘Export’ to start the process of exporting the virtual machine.

Exporting the virtual machine

The exporting process will start and might take significant time, depending upon the size of the virtual hard drives.

 Virtual machine on Oracle virtual box exporting process will start

After the conversion is complete, you can find the converted virtual machine on ‘OVA’ format, in the location, where you have configured it during the conversion process.

Before proceeding with, how you can import it to VMware Workstation Pro, we will find out, how you can convert a virtual machine within VMware Workstation Pro to the OVF or OVA format.

Step 5:  Export VMware Workstation Pro Virtual Machine to OVF (optional)

Open VMware Workstation Pro, and click on the virtual machine that you want to virtualize, in a new VMware tab. After that, click on ‘File’, and then click on ‘Export to OVF…’.

Export VMware Workstation Pro Virtual Machine to OVF

Choose the location where you want to keep the converted virtual machine, give it a name, and click on ‘Save’.

Save converted virtual machine

The export or the conversion process will immediately start, and just like the previous case, it might take several minutes, depending upon the size of the virtual hard drives.

Convert VM on Vmware workstation player to use OVF

After it is complete, you should find the converted virtual machine in the desired location. The two files are displayed below, and I have also mentioned, which one is converted using Oracle VirtualBox, and VMware Workstation Pro and each of them will be used to import to VMware Workstation Pro, and Oracle VirtualBox, respectively.

OVF and OVS Virtual machine

Step 6 – Importing OVA/OVF virtual machine

On Oracle VirtualBox

Open Oracle VirtualBox, click on ‘File’, and then on ‘Import Appliance…’. You can alternatively use the ‘Ctrl+I’ shortcut key.

Import Appliance on Oracle Virtual Box

Now, click on the small browse icon, and locate the ‘OVF’ file on your system. Now, click on ‘Next’. You can even click on ‘Expert Mode’ to change some advanced settings.

OVF file on your system

Now, all the details about the virtual machine will be displayed to you. You can choose the location, where you want to keep the virtual machine, by clicking on the small browse icon, After you have reviewed the information, and has made the necessary configuration about where you want to save it, click on ‘Import’.

import Oracle virtual box virtual machine to VMware workstation

Now the import will start, and will again take some time for completion.

Convert virtual machine from one to another 140

After the import is over, you can find the virtual machine in the list of the virtual machines that are available within Oracle VirtualBox. For me, the name is ‘vm’. If the name isn’t good enough, you can definitely change it, as per your requirements.

Open and import OVF appliance to VMWARE player

Now, you can open the virtual machine, and it should work perfectly. You might come across certain warnings and errors, but most can be easily ignored. 

On VMware Workstation Pro

Open VMware Workstation Pro, click on ‘File’ in the menu bar, and then click on ‘Open…’. Alternatively, just use the ‘Ctrl+O’ shortcut key.

Convert virtual machine from one to another 160

Now, choose the virtual machine, that has been converted using VirtualBox. For me, it is the one, I have marked in the screenshot below. Then, click on ‘Open’.

Convert virtual machine from one to another 170

Here, you will have to assign a name to the virtual machine, and choose the location, where you want to save the virtual machine. After you are done, click on ‘Import’.

Store the virtual machine Linux

You might get an error, saying the virtual machine hasn’t passed the OVF specification conformance checks. Just click on ‘Retry’.

OVF specification conformance checks.

Now, the import will start, and wait for its completion. Again, it might take a long time.

import will start, and wait for its completion

After the import is over, you can find the virtual machine right in front of you, on VMware Workstation Pro.

VMware Workstation Pro from VBOX converted VM

After you run the virtual machine on VMware, as well, you might find one or two errors, but none of them can stop you from using the virtual machine, as most errors can be ignored.

Converting a virtual machine to be used with another virtual machine manager can be really useful, you never know when. Converting virtual machines to OVA or OVF format can also be very useful if you want to keep a backup of all your virtual machines, and use them on different virtual machine platforms from time to time.

So that was all. Do you have any questions? Feel free to comment on the same below.


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