If you want to move the VirtualBox folder that contains all your virtual machines to a different location, you have two options: the official one and the fast one.
Latest posts by Michael Pietroforte (see all)

The official way to move the VirtualBox folder is to first export your virtual machines to an OVA file and then import the OVA file at the new location:

  1. Click File > Export Appliance.
    Export Virtual Appliance
  2. While holding the CTRL key, click the virtual machines you want to export.
  3. Choose the location of the OVA file, click Next, and then export.
  4. Change the Default Machine Folder under File > Preferences > General.
    Default Machine Folder
  5. Click File > Important Appliance, select the OVA file, and import.

The downside of this option is that the export and import of the OVA file is extremely slow and error prone.

The faster option is to simply move the VirtualBox folder with the virtual machines to a new location with File Explorer:

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  1. You can usually find the VirtualBox folder in your Documents folder. If you can’t find the folder, check File > Preferences > General > Default Machine Folder.
  2. Ensure that the VirtualBox VM Manager is closed and all VMs are offline. Then, move the VirtualBox folder to the new location with File Explorer.
  3. Open the VM Manager and remove all VMs that are marked as inaccessible: hold the CTRL key and click all VMs, and then right-click and select Remove.
    VirtualBox inaccessible VMs
  4. Click File > Virtual Media Manager and remove all hard drives, optical disks, and floppy disks.
    Virtual Media Manager
  5. Navigate to each folder in the new VirtualBox directory in File Explorer and double-click the VBOX file to import the corresponding VM.
  6. Change the Default Machine folder under File > Preferences > General.

Depending on how many VMs you have, step 5 can mean a lot of click-click; however, in my experience, it will always be much faster than with the export/import method.

33 Comments
  1. darkfader 6 months ago

    just for the record, you have no step that is called "copy the vms" 🙂

    • darkfader 6 months ago

      (found it in the second part of step 3, can't edit my post)

  2. Alaa 1 month ago

    Thanks, very helpful.

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