Import/Export OVA Files in VirtualBox

In VirtualBox, when you create a new virtual machine, the default file format is .VDI. While there are options to use the VMDK (for VmWare), or VHD (for VirtualPC) format, there doesn’t seem to be a way to import in an existing VM of OVA format.

In case you are not aware, OVF, also known as Open Virtualization Format, is one of the way to standardize virtual appliance so they can be imported and use in different virtualization software. A virtual appliance in OVF format usually consist of a series of files. The OVA format is merely a single file distribution of the OVF, stored in the TAR format. In this tutorial, we will show you how to import and export an OVA file into/from Virtualbox.

Table of Content

Import OVA Files in VirtualBox

Export OVA in VirtualBox

Import OVA Files in VirtualBox


Figure 1a: Main page of Virtualbox

We will first launch the VirtualBox application which will lead us to the main page (Figure 1a).

Next, we will go to “Files -> Import Applicance” (Figure 1b), which will open this window (Figure 1c).


Figure 1b: Select “Import Applicance” in “File” tab


Figure 1c: Select appliance to import

We will then select the OVA file that we want and click Next. In this window, we will then change the settings that we want before clicking on Import (Figure 1d).


Figure 1d: Settings for importing of appliance

Export OVA in VirtualBox

To export a VDI file (the default format for Virtualbox) to an OVA file so you can re-import in another virtual machine, you just have to go to “File -> Export Appliance” in the menu bar (Figure 2a).


Figure 2a: Select “Export Appliance” in “File” tab

Next, select the file that you would like to export (Figure 2b) and click Next.


Figure 2b: Select Virtual Machine to export

Choose a file location, name, and format to be exported (Figure 2c).


Figure 2c: Select location to export and name the file

Finally, add anything to the configure if you want and click Export (Figure 2d).


Figure 2d: Finalize settings before exporting the Virtual Machine

I hope this article will be helpful to you. Feel free to leave any comments below. You may also send me some tips if you like my work and want to see more of such content. Funds will mostly be used for my boba milk tea addiction. The link is here. 🙂


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