Migrating between physical and virtual with Clonezilla and Virtualbox 4.1

The one caveat to this process is that it cannot be done on an active computer, other than that it works incredibly well! First decide whether you are going to use Clonezilla from a USB stick, CD, or ISO for your particular need.

Before creating the image with Clonezilla, you may want to reduce the size of the partition so as to save space of the virtual machine, otherwise you will have to create a virtual disk that is the same capacity or bigger, of the physical machine.

One of the cool new features of VirtualBox 4.1 is the ability to create different types of virtual disks other than the standard vdi, like vmdk (VMware) and vhd (Microsoft). Now you can create these disk types, use Clonezilla to copy the data, and easily convert from one virtual platform to another.

First shut down the machine (either physical or virtual) and boot into Clonezilla. Create your image, or copy the data from device to device if you are converting virtual disk image types, then boot the virtual machine with the Clonezilla ISO as the first device in the boot order. Simply do the previous process in reverse to migrate from virtual to physical.

Don’t forget to adjust your partition sizes after you are done imaging, or create new partitions out of the extra drive space.

9 thoughts on “Migrating between physical and virtual with Clonezilla and Virtualbox 4.1

  1. Joel

    Hey, was trying this myself and I’ve successfully made a clone of my machine using clonezilla but I i don’t know how to convert it to vhd format to run it in VM.
    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    1. admin Post author

      When you create a new virtual disk (Settings-Storage-SATA Controller+), the first screen that comes up will give you the choice to create the disk in the format of your choice (VDI, VMDK, VHD, HDD).

      1. Tony

        But what are we importing? Clonezilla produced a “-img” directory for me, it did not produce any file that Virtualbox can import? Per chance do you have the steps specified someplace?

        1. admin Post author

          I didn’t say to import anything into Virtualbox, you are restoring the saved Clonezilla image to a virtual disk within a virtual machine hosted by VirtualBox.

  2. Mike


    I like the blog! Very cool stuff. I have wondered if you successfully done the following:

    I’m trying to create a vhd in virtual box, clone it w/ cloneZilla SE and then restore that image to a NAS.. Have you ever done that? Is it possible?



  3. Basavaraj

    Dear Sir,

    This is Basavaraj From India, heartily requesting you to help me Sir.

    My Question is that How to make and configure Clonezilla server on Ubuntu 12.04.

    It would be great helpful for me If you kindly do the help.

    Thanking you

    Best Regards,
    Basavaraj From India.

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