How To Use Snapshots in VirtualBox

A snapshot helps you to save the significant amount of time that requires for troubleshooting a system when a virtual machine does not work properly. In this post, we are going to explain how to create and use snapshots in VirtualBox. This is the fifth post of our Getting Started With VirtualBox step by step guide that contains the following tutorials:

  1. Downloading the latest version of VirtualBox.
  2. Creating a new virtual machine in VirtualBox.
  3. Understanding and configuring virtual machine settings in VirtualBox.
  4. Installing a guest operating system in VirtualBox.
  5. Working with snapshots in VirtualBox.
  6. Installing VirtualBox Extension Pack.
  7. Encrypting a virtual machine in VirtualBox.
  8. Creating a clone virtual machine in VirtualBox.

Introducing VirtualBox Snapshot

A snapshot allows you to save a particular state of a virtual machine. You can revert back to this saved state anytime. It does not matter how many changes you have done in the virtual machine since then, the virtual machine will be reverted back in the same state as it was at the time of creating the snapshot. A snapshot of a virtual machine is almost similar to a machine in “saved” state. You can create multiple snapshots for a selected virtual machine.

Features of VirtualBox Snapshot

A snapshot provides almost similar features to all the virtualization platforms such as VMware and Hyper-V. However, in the Hyper-V platform, a snapshot is called Checkpoint. The following are some of the interesting key points about the snapshot that you should keep in mind:

  • A snapshot contains a whole replica of the virtual machine settings, including the hardware configuration.
  • When you revert a virtual machine into the previous state, the virtual machine settings are also reverted.
  • The copy of the settings is stored in an XML text file.
  • The complete state of all the virtual disks attached to the machine is preserved.
  • If you have taken a snapshot of a virtual machine that was in the running state, the memory state of the virtual machine will also be saved in the snapshot. The size of memory state file is almost same of the virtual machine’s memory size.

Managing Snapshots in VirtualBox

In order to create, revert, and delete snapshots in VirtualBox, you need to perform the following steps:

  1. To work with the snapshots in VirtualBox, select the desired virtual machine and then click Snapshots in the top-right corner.Manage Snapshots in VirtualBox
  2. Here, you will see the various options to manage snapshots. To create a new snapshot, click the Take Snapshot icon. On the Take Snapshot of Virtual Machine box, specify the name and description of the snapshot. Click OK to take the snapshot for the selected virtual machine.Creating Snapshots in VirtualBox
  3. Select the snapshot that you have created. Click the Details icon to show the details of created snapshot
  4. To restore a virtual machine in the previous state, select the desired snapshot and then click the Revert icon. Managing Snapshots in VirtualBox virtual MachineWhen you restore a virtual machine in the specific state using the snapshot, files that were since created are wiped out. In addition, the files that were deleted are also returned. That is what a snapshot does actually.

  5. If you no longer want to use a specific snapshot, select the snapshot and click the Delete icon to delete it.

That’s all you need to know to manage snapshots in VirtualBox. Hope, you got the basic concept and idea of working with virtual machine snapshots. Do share the article with others as it will encourage us to serve you more articles. If you have something to say, please drop your queries in the comment box.

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