VirtualBox Cannot register the image because UUID already exists

I’ve ran into a snag with VirtualBox. I made some images on my work laptop and when I try to load them on my home desktop machine I run into the following error:

Cannot register the image ‘C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\VBoxGuestAdditions.iso’ with UUID ‘{4a16c3ed-691e-4878-9576-d1113bc5a699}’
because a ‘C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\VBoxGuestAdditions.iso’ with UUID {…} already exists

It turns out the Guest Additions ISO is loaded for one of the images, but I have no idea which one since UUIDs mean nothing to me. Basically, the Virtual Machine won’t load and there doesn’t seem to be a whole you can do about it from the UI.

After doing some digging I believe I have a way to get around the problem quite easily.

Go into the directory where the Virtual Machine file is located and open the .VBOX file. It’s an XML and is easily read by an editor such as Notepad++.

Look for the line: <HardDisk uuid="{4a16c3ed-691e-4878-9576-d1113bc5a699}" location="Windows 2008.vdi" format="VDI" type="Normal"/> as in this example:

<HardDisks>
  <HardDisk uuid="{4a16c3ed-691e-4878-9576-d1113bc5a699}" location="Windows 2008.vdi" format="VDI" type="Normal"/>
</HardDisks>

Remove the whole HardDisk uuid= entry so that there is no entry between the two HardDisk tags.

Save the file and double-click the .VBOX filename again. It should load correctly and the image should appear in the list of machines. You can add the Guest Additions back in once the machine starts up again.

You may also see this error when trying to clone the drive:

"Failed to clone the virtual machine <name>.
Cannot register the image ‘C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\VBoxGuestAdditions.iso’
with UUID { <number> } because a CD/DVD image ‘C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\VBoxGuestAdditions.iso’
with UUID { <number> } already exists.

Other articles of interest:

4 Responses to VirtualBox Cannot register the image because UUID already exists

  • Nicklas says:

    Had somewhat same problem, didnt work for me by removing the uuid tag had to remove the entry with VirtualBoxGuestAdditions.
    Thanks anyway

  • Olumide Balogun says:

    Thanks so much. You just saved me from an embarassment.

  • Chathu says:

    I had a similar issue after I restored Windows on my laptop.
    I removed HardDisk uuid= entry as per Don Pedros’s recommendation.
    It is all working OK now.

    Don, thank you for sharing it.

  • poorsod says:

    Had the same problem but with the DVDImages. By removing the uuid Tag everything worked fine again!

    Thx so much for your help

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