How To Clone Virtual Machine in VirtualBox

Cloning a virtual machine is useful in a number of scenarios. For example, if you want to do some experiments with a virtual machine configuration or want to test the different guest operating systems or want to take the backup a VM, creating a clone of a virtual machine would be a wise decision. This feature is available in the all major virtualization vendors including Microsoft, VMware, and VirtualBox. In this post, we will explain how to clone virtual machine in VirtualBox.

Also read: Getting started with VirtualBox step by step guide.

Full Clone vs Linked Clone

Before cloning a VirtualBox virtual machine, first, we would like to explain the different types of cloning modes of VirtualBox. There are two types of Clone Modes in VirtualBox: Full Clone and Linked Clone.

  1. Full Clone: If you create a clone using this mode, all the depending disk images will be copied to the new destination folder. The cloned VM can fully operate without the need of the source VM.
  2. Linked Clone: If you create a cloned VM using the linked mode, the new differencing disk images will be created and the parent disk images will remain the source disk images. A linked VM cannot be operated without the source VM.

Note: The time of creating a clone virtual machine depends on the size and the number of attached disk images.

Creating a cloned virtual machine

To clone a VirtualBox virtual machine, you need to perform the following steps:

  1. In the VirtualBox Manager console, select and right-click the virtual machine that you want to clone and then select Clone.Cloning a VirtualBox Virtual Machine
  2. In the Clone Virtual Machine window, specify the name of clone virtual machine. Click Next to proceed.Expert clone mode
  3. To view the advanced cloning options, click Expert Mode. Here, you will see some additional options. Select the clone type that you want to use. If you want to generate a new MAC address for the cloning VM, select the Reinitialize the MAC address of all network cards option, else the MAC address will remain same for all the clone virtual machines.Linked clone virtual machine
  4. Finally, click the Clone button to create the Clone VM. A new clone VM will be created in the VirtualBox Manager console. The Linked clone VM takes just a few seconds; however, a Full clone VM may take several minutes depending on the size of virtual hard disk images as discussed earlier.
  5. Once you created a clone of a virtual machine, you can use the cloned virtual machine as a separate virtual machine in VirtualBox.

That’s all you need to know about how to clone a virtual machine. Do share the article if you think it may help to others.

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