Convert a VMware Fusion virtual machine to VirtualBox on mac

I needed to convert a virtual machine created on VMware Fusion 9, to make it run on VirtualBox 5. To do that, you need to convert the virtual machine to the Open Virtualisation Format (.OVF).
These are the steps to accomplish this:

  • Locate the file of the VMware virtual machine you want to convert
  • Right-click and select Show Package Contents
  • Copy all these files to a new folder
  • Download and install the VMware OVF Tool. This is a command line tool that will do the conversion.
  • Open Terminal and execute the following command
    ovftool <source image>.vmx <target image>.ovf

    The conversion can take quite some time. For me, it took about 3 hours for a 140 GB Windows 8 image

  • Once the conversion is finished, open VirtualBox and from the File menu, select Import appliance

After the import, power on the VM, uninstall the VMware Tools and install the VirtualBox Guest additions.

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5 thoughts on “Convert a VMware Fusion virtual machine to VirtualBox on mac”

  1. Hello,
    for beginners it will be much more usefull to have a tutorial, in which the beginner can see step by step how to convert a VM Fusion in Virtulabox.
    For example, I find so many difficulties to locate the Mware virtual machine that I want to convert.

  2. For Lance McGrew – yes you can do it in Catalina:

    % cd /Applications/VMware\ OVF\ Tool
    % ./ovftool /Users/James/convert/Windows\ 10\ x64.vmx /Users/jamesconvert/win10.ovf

    (Run ovftool directly as it doesn’t make it into OSX path any longer)…

  3. Here’s a step by step guide for MacOS Catalina:

    1. Locate the file of the VMware virtual machine you want to convert
    2. Right-click on it and select ‘Show Package Contents’
    3. Copy all files to a new folder on your computer
    4. Download and install the VMware OVF Tool. This is a command line tool that will do the conversion. You can find it here: https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/details?downloadGroup=OVFTOOL430&productId=742
    5. Start Terminal.app
    6. Paste this line into Terminal to start up OVF Tool: cd /Applications/VMware\ OVF\ Tool
    7. Hit Enter to confirm
    8. Next, paste your conversion command into Terminal.app (see below for an example)
    9. Hit Enter to confirm
    10. Sit back and relax until ‘Disk progress’ has reached 100%

    Example conversion command

    ./ovftool /Users/your-user-name/the-name-of-the-folder-containing-your-copied-vm-files/Windows\ 10\ x64.vmx /Users/your-user-name-here/the-name-of-the-folder-containing-your-copied-vm-files/win10.ovf

    Note: replace ‘your-user-name’ by the relevant user name, and replace ‘the-name-of the-folder-etc.’ by the destination folder name

    If your files are on an external disk, replace /Users/your-user-name/ by /Volumes/your-volume-name/

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