virtual disk

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.

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Converting A Physical Hard Drive To A Virtual Hard Disk

At first glance the project seemed easy – clone the physical hard drive inside a server and restore it into VirtualBox so as to use the virtual copy. Turns out, it doesn’t work the way I envisioned it in my head. All the latest software made promises of one-click cloning and on the fly conversion to VHD. But in the end, after three days of trying, I’m scrapping this project. I just can’t seem to get it to work.

I tried using the latest software like O&O DiskImage 6, which listed VHD as one of the output formats. Well, it outputs to VHD alright, but that image doesn’t load. I cloned the drive without incident, but for the life of me I can’t that server to boot in a virtual environment. I created a VHD, I restored to a new VDI, I installed a new OS and tried the restore from there, I used a boot CD and restored from there. Not one of these methods would actually produce a working system. I can lay down the data to a data drive and see all the content with no problem, but no matter which process I use I can’t seem to get a bootable clone of my server. I admit, I’m not the sharpest knife in the things that holds knives, but I can’t for the life of me see what I’m doing wrong. I’ve been trying for three days and have called it quits.

This was supposed to be a simple task, a 3-4 hour job that would transport the server from the physical realm to the virtual one. With the amount of time I’ve wasted I could have installed a new server, installed all the frameworks and rebuilt everything from scratch, which is exactly what I’m going to do. I wanted a clone so I could perform maintenance with minimal downtime. If I had to rebuild the damn thing, I might as well start over and do a full blown upgrade.It’s not what I had in mine, but when all else fails, reinstalled is the best option.

If anyone knows the right process, the right software, the right way to hold your fingers to clone a drive and get it to load in VirtualBox, please let me know. I’m dying to know how it’s done. It’s sort of like a magic trick, I want to know how the cool kids do it.

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