VirtualBox Backup and Restore of Virtual Machines Step-by-Step

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The steps outlined here are similar to the VMware backup and restore steps above. For product information please check our VirtualBox backup solution.

Backup of VirtualBox Virtual Machines

1. Create a VirtualBox Backup task using the New Task button.

2. Select the folder containing all virtual machine files (VHD, VHDX, VMDK, VDI).

If you are not aware of the exact location of your VM’s files, open VirtualBox and open the VM’s settings. Navigate to the virtual disk configuration and take note of the path to the VDI or VHD file. That’s usually the folder where all VM-related files are stored and the folder you need to include above.

3. Set a target folder and either save the backup task or run the backup.

Restoring VirtualBox VMs

1. Restore the virtual machine folder to a new location.

2. Restore the VM’s folder, navigate to the VM’s VBOX file and double on it to start the restored VM.

a. Or, attach the restored virtual disk file (VDI) to a newly created VM.

3. Start the machine.

The detailed steps are shown below. Select Restore Files, Folders, and VMs from the main menu:

Then you need to fill in the details about the backup location. This information is usually preset with the task settings:

Note: You need to select the root folder in this step.

If you open the folder in Windows Explorer, the root folder may look like this:

Notice the C_ folder (for C: drive) and the BackupChain.config files. These files are necessary for restore operations.

Proceed and select a Restore Point. Select a date from the calendar and the list of backups taken on that day will be shown underneath. Select the backup time and click Proceed. Alternatively select “I do not know when the data was backed up” to obtain the ‘full’ view of all available backups at the same time.

Note that BackupChain will scan in the background all available restore points. It will look for the oldest virtual disk that is available and display the date (see above in orange). Depending on your backup settings, there may be restorable backups from before that, but the date displayed, once the scan is complete, shows the backup date of the oldest virtual disk found, which is the oldest fully restorable backup.

Now the Restore Screen opens:

In order to restore all the files related to a virtual machine (their latest version), select the folder in the tree to the left and do not select any files. In our example above we would select “Windows 10 Dev Box” in the tree and click “Restore”.

If you want to restore an earlier version of a VDI file, click once on the VDI file in the above screen, and the screen splits in half if older versions exist. The bottom half now shows all old versions of the VDI file, if any exist. To restore an old version, do not select the file at the top, select only one file from the bottom list. Then click the Restore button to proceed. If older file versions are present, the screen looks like this, note the file “HV2019.VHDX” is selected at the top and its older file versions appear at the bottom:

In the above example, it would be possible to restore HV2019.vhdx, which is the VM’s main disk, from the bottom half of the screen, which contains older versions.

To proceed after clicking “Restore” simply enter a path where you want the restored files to be stored. You can always move them elsewhere from there once the restore process has finished. Note that a UNC path may also be entered here if necessary.


Proceed with the restore and wait until finished:

Then use Windows Explorer and navigate to and double-click on the VBOX file of the virtual machine you restored and the restored VM will boot automatically.

Note: When powering up a restored VM, if you receive a “Windows has not been shut down correctly” it’s because the “booted” flag hasn’t been cleared from the hard disk image. Be assured that the VM is in good condition.

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