Convert VMware Image .vmdk to VirtualBox Image .vdi

Some days ago I started to give up my VMWare Workstation Server (version: 6.5.1 build-126130) that is running on Debian Lenny.
The reason was it’s very difficult to upgrade (you see my installation is a little bit outdated:)) and maintain.

The first step is to migrate to VirtualBox running. And I wrote this little tutorial to migrate VMWare VMDK Image to VirtualBox.

Step 1:
Start Virtualbox
Start VBox
Step 2:
File -> Virtual Media Manager

Step 3:
Click on the “Add” button.
Select the VMware .vmdk file you’d like to convert. – Click Open.

Step 4:
Verify your disk image has been added to the list of images. – Click OK

Create a new virtual machine, selecting your imported hard disk image for the storage.
Boot your new VM.

You are only 5 steps away from a easy migration to VirtualBox.


Method II:
To use the second method we’ll need an addition tool called qemu used by KVM.

piper ~ # aptitude install qemu
piper ~ # qemu-img convert debian.vmdk debian.bin
(VMDK) image open: flags=0x2 filename=debian.vmdk

Now you are able to use this converted format for KVM.

You’ll will need to use the VBoxManage utility that comes with VirtualBox to convert the *.bin to a native *.vdi format:

VBoxManage convertdd debian.bin debian.vdi

11 Responses to “Convert VMware Image .vmdk to VirtualBox Image .vdi”

  • ####Jim Halfpenny
    ####December 11, 2011 at 23:01

    ###If you are using windows I have found you cna drag and drop your ###VMDK file into the media manager window even though there is no ###add button.

    I want thank you Jim. I have done drag-and-drop VMDK file into the media manager window even though there is no add button. On my Linux.
    THANK YOU IT WORKS!!!!!!!!!!!

  • The first method still working in 2012.
    Just one change in the Step 2: The old “Add” button is now “Copy”.


  • I think I’ll persiver and get vmware to run under ubuntu 12 these instructions are crap for the following reason
    I. when you open virtual media manager all buttons are greyed out except refresh. even if in preferences you have pointed it to you vmware folder/s
    I wish people would test their instructions before posting them

  • for me the easiest is just to create a new virtual machine on virtual box and import the disk without do anything else…

  • Forget about gui solution…method2 works great, thank you!

  • If you are using windows I have found you cna drag and drop your VMDK file into the media manager window even though there is no add button.

  • Johnny, I have the same problem as you. Try this! Create a new machine in Virtualbox and instead of creating a new disk, say you have one and find the VMDK image file you want from your VMWare machine, it should use this and let you run it from there on Virtualbox.

    Hopefully this has fixed it for you, if so please update this page. Cheers.

  • Guys, in answer to the above questions, notice the ‘copy’ icon has a plus sign on it. Use the copy functionality and direct it to the VM you are wanting to convert.

  • Please go to the Hard Disks-Tab and you must see something with “open”, “add” or “import”.

  • After clicking on File -> Virtual Media Manager, all I see are the following buttons: Copy, Modify, Remove, Release and Refresh.

    I Also see three tabs: Hard Disks, CD/DVD and Floppy Images.

    Not matter what I click on, I unfortunately do not see an add button.

    Hopefully I am doing something wrong.


  • Lenny, thank you for your post. I am using VirtualBox 4.1.0. After I click on File -> Virtual Media Manager I am not seeing an “add” button.

    Any ideas of what I am doing wrong?


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