Mastering Virtual Machine Conversion | How to Convert Virtual Machines from VMware to VirtualBox

Today, we explore the nuances that make the conversion of virtual machines from VMware to VirtualBox seamless, highlighting the flexibility and versatility that have become increasingly important in the ever-evolving world of technology. Join us as we explore the possibilities of these virtualization platforms.

Virtual machine conversion process illustrated with arrows between VMware and VirtualBox logos

Virtual machines are useful in many ways. They can be used to test out new operating systems, run older applications, and so on. VMware and VirtualBox are two of the most widely used virtual machine programs. While each has advantages and disadvantages of its own, the best thing about virtual machines is that you can switch between them with ease: you can convert VMware to VirtualBox and vice versa. This eliminates the need to recreate the same virtual machine in a different program.

Understanding the Need for Conversion

Rapid advances in virtualization technology have made it possible for multiple platforms to coexist. In this article, we first address the reasons why virtual machines may need to be converted. Whether you are looking for improved features or to address compatibility issues, the decision to convert can have a big impact on your virtual environment.

How to Convert Virtual Machines from VMware to VirtualBox

STEP1: You will need to convert your VMware virtual machine file (.vmx) to a “.ovf” file. OVF is an open standard for packaging and distributing virtual machines and is supported by both VirtualBox and VMware. Before beginning the migration process, make sure the virtual machine you want to export is completely powered off and not in a “suspended” state. This applies to both VMware and VirtualBox.
STEP2: Now Press Shift + right-click, then select Open PowerShell window here to export the chosen VMware virtual machine file to a “.ovf” file by opening your VMware directory and the OVFTool folder.
STEP3: Change the destination for the new.ovf file and the location of the.vmx file you wish to export, based on the corresponding paths in your system, by using the following command and pressing Enter in the PowerShell window.

ovftool “F:Setupskali-linux-2023.2-vmware-amd64kali-linux-2023.2-vmware-amd64.vmwarevmkali-linux-2023.2-vmware-amd64.vmx” f:ExportedKaliLinux.ovf

STEP4: The system will begin writing the OVF package to the specified location as soon as you execute the command; the duration of this process may vary depending on the size of the virtual machine.

Note: if you are using the paid version (i.e., VMware Workstation Pro), you can also export the VM as an OVF file by navigating to File and then selecting Export to OVF. Simply enter the name and the path for the OVF file.

STEP5:  After the OVF package has been successfully exported to the place of your choice, open VirtualBox, select Import or File -> Import Appliance, click the browse button to locate the exported OVF file, and then click Next.

STEP6: The Appliance settings are displayed on the next screen. VirtualBox will display all of the virtual machine settings. Click on Finish to proceed, or leave them as is. You can always make changes later.

STEP7: It will take some time for the import to finish. After it is, your imported virtual machine will appear in the VM VirtualBox Manager. Click Start to start the virtual machine.

Finally, Your virtual machine has successfully switched from VMware to VirtualBox.

How to Fix VirtualBox Import Errors

If you are receiving importing errors, follow the steps below.

When you are finished with the changes, try importing again. If not, you should probably start the above VMware to VirtualBox converter process from scratch. 

1. Open the exported OVF file in Notepad, find all instances of “ElementName,” and replace them with “Caption.” 

2. Locate the “vmware.sata.ahci” instance, and replace it with “AHCI.” 

3. Use this online tool to find the exported OVF file’s SHA1 hash value, and replace the old hash value with the new one found in the exported file.


 How to Convert Virtual Machines from VirtualBox to VMware

STEP1: There is no need for a PowerShell window; simply launch VirtualBox and select File -> Export Appliance. The user-friendly software makes everything exceedingly frictionless. Furthermore, it is simpler to migrate from VirtualBox to VMware than it is to convert VMware to VirtualBox.
STEP2: In the Export Virtual Appliance wizard, select the VM you want to export, and click Next to continue.
STEP3: Click Next to continue. Choose the exported virtual machine’s destination path, keeping all other fields empty.
STEP4: To begin the exporting process, click Finish after making all the necessary adjustments on the next screen.
STEP5: The exporting process can take a while, depending on how big the virtual machine is. After the virtual machine is finished, you can import it into VMware by opening VMware Workstation Player, clicking File -> Open, and choosing the OVA file that you exported from VirtualBox.
STEP6: Set a name and path for the VM, and click Import to start the process, which can also take some time, depending on the size of the VM. If you receive an error saying that the import failed due to hardware compliance issues, click Retry to start the importing process.
STEP7: After the import is finished, select Play virtual machine to start the virtual machine. You’ve successfully imported or migrated your VM from VirtualBox to VMware.
If you prefer Linux, you can import and export OVA files in VirtualBox on your Linux PC. Both VMware and VirtualBox are great virtualization tools for Windows users. Depending on your preferences, you can use either of them to try different operating systems or run risky software. You can easily export your favorite VMs – convert VMware to VirtualBox or the other way around.


Finally, the conversion of virtual computers is a life-changing experience that requires strategic planning and close attention to detail. If you follow our extensive guidance, you will be able to handle the challenges with ease.


Q: Is it possible to convert virtual machines without data loss?

A: Yes, with proper backup strategies, you can ensure minimal to no data loss during the conversion process.
Q: What are the key considerations post-conversion?

A: Post-conversion, focus on adjusting configurations and optimizing settings for optimal virtual machine performance.
Q: How do I troubleshoot compatibility issues during conversion?

A: Our guide provides solutions to common compatibility issues, ensuring a smooth transition between VMware and VirtualBox.
Q: Can burstiness be harnessed for improved virtualization performance?

A: Understanding burstiness allows you to optimize resource allocation, enhancing overall virtual machine performance.
Q: What are the benefits of using VirtualBox over VMware?

A: While both platforms have their merits, VirtualBox is preferred by some for its open-source nature and user-friendly interface.

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