How to Export VMware Virtual Machine to OVF, Import on VirtualBox

Latest VMware Workstation 7.1 and VMPlayer 3.1 have extra built in tool called OVFtool, to export Virtual disk and configurations. It’s a command line tool that can be found under program files. In this post, let me explain how to export VMware virtual machine to OVF format, then import on VirtualBox.

Don’t you think why we have to use this tool when VirtualBox supports VMDK files directly?, Yes, you are correct. Check my earlier post about importing VMDK files in to VB. But, this tool does the export in professional manner, so you can publish on internet or share with others. Open Virtualization Format (OVF) is an industry standard that describes metadata about virtual machine images in XML format.

Importing also very easy with pre configured Virtual machine settings.

Export VMware Virtual Machine to OVF

“ You can use OVF Tool to distribute and import virtual machines and vApps. For example, you can create a virtual machine within VMware vSphere™, and use OVF Tool to export it into an OVF package for installation, either within your organization or for distribution to other organizations. OVF facilitates the use of vApps, which consist of preconfigured virtual machines that package applications with the operating system that they require.

OVF Tool 1.0 replaces an earlier Java‐based OVF Tool that was experimental. OVF Tool supports OVF version 1.0 and is backward compatible with OVF 0.9 that was supported by the Java‐based OVF Tool, VirtualCenter 2.5, and VMware ESX™ 3.5. OVF Tool 1.0 allows you to script OVF import and export on products such as VMware vCenter™ 4.0, VirtualCenter 2.5 and later, ESX 3.5 and later, VMware Server 2.0 and later, and VMware Workstation 6.0 and later. “

Source – OVFTool Document

You can download OVFtool from VMware official site if you are using older products than Workstation 7.1 or VMPlayer 3.1

In this example, we will export a VMware Virtual machine (Windows 7 guest) to OVF format and import in to Oracle VirtualBox.

Full complete and usage guide of OVFTool available here, I suggest  downloading before continue further steps.

How to Use Ovftool?

1) If you have latest VMware versions, then ovftool.exe can be found under
Program files -> workstation on VMplayer – > OVFTool folder.
If you have older versions and installed manually, then it will be available under
Program Files – > VMware -> VMware OVF Tool.

2) Set the Windows path in Environment variables to enable running this command from any location, otherwise you have to execute this command from correct path folder.

3) OK, here are the things you must consider before processing.

a) Uninstall VMware Tools from Guest OS ( From Control Panel) and restart.

b) Remove sound card, network, and CD ROM from VM settings. ( if you are going to import this OVF on VMware products, then this step not required, but for VirtualBox its required.)

I suggest to read following thread about this.

The following command will be exporting my Windows 7 VM to OVF format.

Ovftool windows7.vmx f:/win7export/windows7ovf.ovf

I ran this command from Virtual machine’s  folder, so giving vmx file name worked straight away.

F:/win7export/windows7ovf.ovf is the destination. ( win7export – folder already created)

Export VMware Virtual Machine to OVF

4) Successful conversion created vmdk disk and ovf file.

Export VMware Virtual Machine to OVF

5) Now, Open VirtualBox and click on File then select Import Appliance.

6) Press Choose button, browse for the converted ovf file and Next.

7) If you get the next screen without any problems then you are lucky, otherwise open .ovf file in text editor and edit the errors.

One more good tutorial available for same purpose here. This post talks about same conversion for Linux guest on Windows 7 host and import it into VirtualBox.

For me it failed, but after seeing errors and above two posts ( VirtualBox forum and Sun blog) I managed to import to VB 3.2.6. Don’t forget to installed VB additions on guest once its imported.

Again, if you are looking for shortcut and quick way to export VMware Virtual machines to VirtualBox, do it manually. Create a new machine and add VMDK file as disk mentioned here then start the machine.

OR, convert vmdk to vdi and import it.

Good luck for any ways, don’t forget to share your issues here.

Dinesh is the founder of Sysprobs and written more than 400 articles. Enthusiast in Microsoft and cloud technologies with more than 15 years of IT experience.

3 thoughts on “How to Export VMware Virtual Machine to OVF, Import on VirtualBox”

Comments are closed.