Linux for Starters

Linux for Starters: Your Guide to Linux – Running VirtualBox – Part 20


One of the most features of VirtualBox is its ability to make snapshots. With snapshots, you save a particular state of a virtual machine for later use. At any later time, you can revert to that state, even though the virtual machine may have seen many changes since the snapshot was taken.

A snapshot of a virtual machine is similar to a machine in Saved state, but there can be many of them, and these saved states are preserved.

Snapshots can be taken when the virtual machine is running, or when its in the saved or powered off state.

For the latter, click the List icon (it’s the icon with three vertical squares and lines).

VirtualBox - Snapshots
Click image for full size

From this menu, we can restore, delete and clone snapshots. By restoring a snapshot, the current state of the machine is lost, and the machine is restored to the exact state it was in when the snapshot was taken.


Another incredibly useful feature of VirtualBox is cloning. You can create a full copy or a linked copy of an existing virtual machine. This copy is called a clone.

From VirtualBox Manager, Select Machine from the menu, then click Clone.

You’ll see the wizard below depicting a sheep (homage to Dolly the sheep, the first mammal cloned from an adult somatic cell).

VirtualBox - Cloning

There are a few options available:

  • MAC Address Policy: Specifies how to retain network card MAC addresses when cloning the VM.
  • Keep Disk Names: Retains the disk image names when cloning the VM.
  • Keep Hardware UUIDs: Retains the hardware universally unique identifiers (UUIDs) when cloning the VM.

The Clone menu item is disabled while a virtual machine is running.

You might use a cloned virtual machine to experiment with a virtual machine configuration, to test different guest OS levels, or to back up a virtual machine.

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction / Set up host machine
Page 2 – Download Guest OS / Install VirtualBox
Page 3 – Create New Virtual Machine
Page 4 – Settings
Page 5 – Power on the Virtual Machine
Page 6 – Guest Additions
Page 7 – Snapshots & Cloning

All articles in this series:

Linux For Starters: Your Guide to Linux
Part 1What is Linux? Why use Linux? What do I need?
Part 2Choose a Linux distribution meeting your specific needs and requirements.
Part 3Make a bootable Ubuntu USB stick in Windows.
Part 4We show you how to install Ubuntu 21.04 on your hard disk.
Part 5Things to do after installing Ubuntu.
Part 6Navigating your way around the Desktop.
Part 7Updating the system, install new software.
Part 8Open source replacements for proprietary Windows desktop software.
Part 9Get started with the power and flexibility of the terminal.
Part 10We cover the basics of files and permissions.
Part 11Getting help from your system.
Part 12Learn all about the file system.
Part 13Manipulating files from the shell.
Part 14Maintain your system with these simple tips.
Part 15Managing users on your system.
Part 16Explore different desktops to GNOME 3.
Part 17Gaming on Linux.
Part 18Protect your privacy with this guide.
Part 19Access the Windows desktop from Linux using a remote desktop client.
Part 20Set up a virtual machine running Ubuntu as the host and openSUSE as the guest.
Part 21Wine lets you run Windows programs on Linux without emulation.
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    1. I don’t think there’s a way without trying a distro for yourself. Maybe Oracle should make this type of information available

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