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Backup Whonix VMs

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Overview - Ways to Backup Whonix VMs[edit]

There isn't a great and simple way to make backups yet. Best you can do is either:

  • File Transfer
  • and/or use the export feature of VirtualBox, that will create standalone .ova files which you should be able to easily import on any other machine and/or
  • Create a copy of your VM files. There is some important knowledge you have to be aware of, this is documented below.

General Important Recommendation[edit]

Creating backups is only the first step. You should do a test run if you are actually to restore your backup. Otherwise you may experience a nasty surprise that some files are missing for successful restore.

Important Knowledge[edit]

~/VirtualBox VMs Folder[edit]

If you want to copy your VirtualBox's to another harddrive, only creating a backup of your "~/VirtualBox VMs" folder won't suffice. You have to remember to have a backup of your VirtualBox settings folder (~/.VirtualBox) as well, because manually re-creating that folder is difficult and undocumented by VirtualBox's documentation.

Using VirtualBox's VM Cloning Feature for Backups isn't Simple[edit]

The clone feature of VirtualBox is not very user friendly for backups for the same reason as above. It works, for cloning VMs, but it's not very useful for easy backups, because general VM settings are still stored in your home folder (~/.VirtualBox) and these are difficult to restore as mentioned above. So if you use the clone feature and backup your VMs on a different harddrive, you have to remember to have a backup of your VirtualBox settings folder (~/.VirtualBox) as well.

Backup VirtualBox Settings Files[edit]

Turn off VirtualBox before attempting to backup the VirtualBox's settings folder (~/.VirtualBox).

When you change VM settings, add/remove VMs, add/remove virtual hdds, add/remove snapshots you should create a new backup.

Advanced Users[edit]

Adding your VirtualBox settings folder to a revision control system such as git is a good addition to backups of VirtualBox's settings folder. Should VirtualBox damage your settings file and its backup file (happens sometimes), you can try a recent backup from an earlier git revision.

See Also[edit]


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