Chapter 8. VBoxManage

Table of Contents

8.1. Introduction
8.2. Commands overview
8.3. General options
8.4. VBoxManage list
8.5. VBoxManage showvminfo
8.6. VBoxManage registervm / unregistervm
8.7. VBoxManage createvm
8.8. VBoxManage modifyvm
8.8.1. General settings
8.8.2. Networking settings
8.8.3. Serial port, audio, clipboard and USB settings
8.8.4. Remote machine settings
8.8.5. Teleporting settings
8.9. VBoxManage clonevm
8.10. VBoxManage import
8.11. VBoxManage export
8.12. VBoxManage startvm
8.13. VBoxManage controlvm
8.14. VBoxManage discardstate
8.15. VBoxManage adoptstate
8.16. VBoxManage snapshot
8.17. VBoxManage closemedium
8.18. VBoxManage storageattach
8.19. VBoxManage storagectl
8.20. VBoxManage bandwidthctl
8.21. VBoxManage showhdinfo
8.22. VBoxManage createhd
8.23. VBoxManage modifyhd
8.24. VBoxManage clonehd
8.25. VBoxManage convertfromraw
8.26. VBoxManage getextradata/setextradata
8.27. VBoxManage setproperty
8.28. VBoxManage usbfilter add/modify/remove
8.29. VBoxManage sharedfolder add/remove
8.30. VBoxManage guestproperty
8.31. VBoxManage guestcontrol
8.32. VBoxManage debugvm
8.33. VBoxManage metrics
8.34. VBoxManage hostonlyif
8.35. VBoxManage dhcpserver
8.36. VBoxManage extpack

8.1. Introduction

As briefly mentioned in Section 1.16, “Alternative front-ends”, VBoxManage is the command-line interface to VirtualBox. With it, you can completely control VirtualBox from the command line of your host operating system. VBoxManage supports all the features that the graphical user interface gives you access to, but it supports a lot more than that. It exposes really all the features of the virtualization engine, even those that cannot (yet) be accessed from the GUI.

You will need to use the command line if you want to

  • use a different user interface than the main GUI (for example, VBoxSDL or the VBoxHeadless server);

  • control some of the more advanced and experimental configuration settings for a VM.

There are two main things to keep in mind when using VBoxManage: First, VBoxManage must always be used with a specific "subcommand", such as "list" or "createvm" or "startvm". All the subcommands that VBoxManage supports are described in detail in Chapter 8, VBoxManage.

Second, most of these subcommands require that you specify a particular virtual machine after the subcommand. There are two ways you can do this:

  • You can specify the VM name, as it is shown in the VirtualBox GUI. Note that if that name contains spaces, then you must enclose the entire name in double quotes (as it is always required with command line arguments that contain spaces).

    For example:

    VBoxManage startvm "Windows XP"
  • You can specify the UUID, which is the internal unique identifier that VirtualBox uses to refer to the virtual machine. Assuming that the aforementioned VM called "Windows XP" has the UUID shown below, the following command has the same effect as the previous:

    VBoxManage startvm 670e746d-abea-4ba6-ad02-2a3b043810a5

You can type VBoxManage list vms to have all currently registered VMs listed with all their settings, including their respective names and UUIDs.

Some typical examples of how to control VirtualBox from the command line are listed below:

  • To create a new virtual machine from the command line and immediately register it with VirtualBox, use VBoxManage createvm with the --register option,[36] like this:

    $ VBoxManage createvm --name "SUSE 10.2" --register
    VirtualBox Command Line Management Interface Version 4.3.20
    (C) 2005-2014 Oracle Corporation
    All rights reserved.
    
    Virtual machine 'SUSE 10.2' is created.
    UUID: c89fc351-8ec6-4f02-a048-57f4d25288e5
    Settings file: '/home/username/.config/VirtualBox/Machines/SUSE 10.2/SUSE 10.2.xml'

    As can be seen from the above output, a new virtual machine has been created with a new UUID and a new XML settings file.

  • To show the configuration of a particular VM, use VBoxManage showvminfo; see Section 8.5, “VBoxManage showvminfo” for details and an example.

  • To change settings while a VM is powered off, use VBoxManage modifyvm, e.g. as follows:

    VBoxManage modifyvm "Windows XP" --memory "512MB"

    For details, see Section 8.8, “VBoxManage modifyvm”.

  • To change the storage configuration (e.g. to add a storage controller and then a virtual disk), use VBoxManage storagectl and VBoxManage storageattach; see Section 8.19, “VBoxManage storagectl” and Section 8.18, “VBoxManage storageattach” for details.

  • To control VM operation, use one of the following:

8.2. Commands overview

When running VBoxManage without parameters or when supplying an invalid command line, the below syntax diagram will be shown. Note that the output will be slightly different depending on the host platform; when in doubt, check the output of VBoxManage for the commands available on your particular host.

Usage:

  VBoxManage [<general option>] <command>
 
 
General Options:
 
  [-v|--version]            print version number and exit
  [-q|--nologo]             suppress the logo
  [--settingspw <pw>]       provide the settings password
  [--settingspwfile <file>] provide a file containing the settings password
 
 
Commands:
 
  list [--long|-l]          vms|runningvms|ostypes|hostdvds|hostfloppies|
                            intnets|bridgedifs|natnets|dhcpservers|hostinfo|
                            hostinfo|hostcpuids|hddbackends|hdds|dvds|floppies|
                            usbhost|usbfilters|systemproperties|extpacks|
                            groups|webcams

  showvminfo                <uuid|vmname> [--details]
                            [--machinereadable]
  showvminfo                <uuid|vmname> --log <idx>

  registervm                <filename>

  unregistervm              <uuid|vmname> [--delete]

  createvm                  --name <name>
                            [--groups <group>, ...]
                            [--ostype <ostype>]
                            [--register]
                            [--basefolder <path>]
                            [--uuid <uuid>]

  modifyvm                  <uuid|vmname>
                            [--name <name>]
                            [--groups <group>, ...]
                            [--description <desc>]
                            [--ostype <ostype>]
                            [--iconfile <filename>]
                            [--memory <memorysize in MB>]
                            [--pagefusion on|off]
                            [--vram <vramsize in MB>]
                            [--acpi on|off]
                            [--ioapic on|off]
                            [--hpet on|off]
                            [--triplefaultreset on|off]
                            [--hwvirtex on|off]
                            [--nestedpaging on|off]
                            [--largepages on|off]
                            [--vtxvpid on|off]
                            [--vtxux on|off]
                            [--pae on|off]
                            [--longmode on|off]
                            [--synthcpu on|off]
                            [--cpuidset <leaf> <eax> <ebx> <ecx> <edx>]
                            [--cpuidremove <leaf>]
                            [--cpuidremoveall]
                            [--hardwareuuid <uuid>]
                            [--cpus <number>]
                            [--cpuhotplug on|off]
                            [--plugcpu <id>]
                            [--unplugcpu <id>]
                            [--cpuexecutioncap <1-100>]
                            [--rtcuseutc on|off]
                            [--graphicscontroller none|vboxvga]
                            [--monitorcount <number>]
                            [--accelerate3d on|off]
                            [--firmware bios|efi|efi32|efi64]
                            [--chipset ich9|piix3]
                            [--bioslogofadein on|off]
                            [--bioslogofadeout on|off]
                            [--bioslogodisplaytime <msec>]
                            [--bioslogoimagepath <imagepath>]
                            [--biosbootmenu disabled|menuonly|messageandmenu]
                            [--biossystemtimeoffset <msec>]
                            [--biospxedebug on|off]
                            [--boot<1-4> none|floppy|dvd|disk|net>]
                            [--nic<1-N> none|null|nat|bridged|intnet|
                                        generic|natnetwork]
                            [--nictype<1-N> Am79C970A|Am79C973]
                            [--cableconnected<1-N> on|off]
                            [--nictrace<1-N> on|off]
                            [--nictracefile<1-N> <filename>]
                            [--nicproperty<1-N> name=[value]]
                            [--nicspeed<1-N> <kbps>]
                            [--nicbootprio<1-N> <priority>]
                            [--nicpromisc<1-N> deny|allow-vms|allow-all]
                            [--nicbandwidthgroup<1-N> none|<name>]
                            [--bridgeadapter<1-N> none|<devicename>]
                            [--intnet<1-N> <network name>]
                            [--nat-network<1-N> <network name>]
                            [--nicgenericdrv<1-N> <driver>
                            [--natnet<1-N> <network>|default]
                            [--natsettings<1-N> [<mtu>],[<socksnd>],
                                                [<sockrcv>],[<tcpsnd>],
                                                [<tcprcv>]]
                            [--natpf<1-N> [<rulename>],tcp|udp,[<hostip>],
                                          <hostport>,[<guestip>],<guestport>]
                            [--natpf<1-N> delete <rulename>]
                            [--nattftpprefix<1-N> <prefix>]
                            [--nattftpfile<1-N> <file>]
                            [--nattftpserver<1-N> <ip>]
                            [--natbindip<1-N> <ip>
                            [--natdnspassdomain<1-N> on|off]
                            [--natdnsproxy<1-N> on|off]
                            [--natdnshostresolver<1-N> on|off]
                            [--nataliasmode<1-N> default|[log],[proxyonly],
                                                         [sameports]]
                            [--macaddress<1-N> auto|<mac>]
                            [--mouse ps2|usb|usbtablet|usbmultitouch]
                            [--keyboard ps2|usb
                            [--uart<1-N> off|<I/O base> <IRQ>]
                            [--uartmode<1-N> disconnected|
                                             server <pipe>|
                                             client <pipe>|
                                             file <file>|
                                             <devicename>]
                            [--lpt<1-N> off|<I/O base> <IRQ>]
                            [--lptmode<1-N> <devicename>]
                            [--guestmemoryballoon <balloonsize in MB>]
                            [--audio none|null|dsound|solaudio|oss|
                                     oss|coreaudio]
                            [--audiocontroller ac97|hda|sb16]
                            [--clipboard disabled|hosttoguest|guesttohost|
                                         bidirectional]
                            [--draganddrop disabled|hosttoguest
                            [--vrde on|off]
                            [--vrdeextpack default|<name>
                            [--vrdeproperty <name=[value]>]
                            [--vrdeport <hostport>]
                            [--vrdeaddress <hostip>]
                            [--vrdeauthtype null|external|guest]
                            [--vrdeauthlibrary default|<name>
                            [--vrdemulticon on|off]
                            [--vrdereusecon on|off]
                            [--vrdevideochannel on|off]
                            [--vrdevideochannelquality <percent>]
                            [--usb on|off]
                            [--usbehci on|off]
                            [--snapshotfolder default|<path>]
                            [--teleporter on|off]
                            [--teleporterport <port>]
                            [--teleporteraddress <address|empty>
                            [--teleporterpassword <password>]
                            [--teleporterpasswordfile <file>|stdin]
                            [--tracing-enabled on|off]
                            [--tracing-config <config-string>]
                            [--tracing-allow-vm-access on|off]
                            [--autostart-enabled on|off]
                            [--autostart-delay <seconds>]
                            [--defaultfrontend default|<name>]

  clonevm                   <uuid|vmname>
                            [--snapshot <uuid>|<name>]
                            [--mode machine|machineandchildren|all]
                            [--options link|keepallmacs|keepnatmacs|
                                       keepdisknames]
                            [--name <name>]
                            [--groups <group>, ...]
                            [--basefolder <basefolder>]
                            [--uuid <uuid>]
                            [--register]

  import                    <ovfname/ovaname>
                            [--dry-run|-n]
                            [--options keepallmacs|keepnatmacs]
                            [more options]
                            (run with -n to have options displayed
                             for a particular OVF)

  export                    <machines> --output|-o <name>.<ovf/ova>
                            [--legacy09|--ovf09|--ovf10|--ovf20]
                            [--manifest]
                            [--iso]
                            [--options manifest|iso|nomacs|nomacsbutnat]
                            [--vsys <number of virtual system>]
                                    [--product <product name>]
                                    [--producturl <product url>]
                                    [--vendor <vendor name>]
                                    [--vendorurl <vendor url>]
                                    [--version <version info>]
                                    [--description <description info>]
                                    [--eula <license text>]
                                    [--eulafile <filename>]

  startvm                   <uuid|vmname>...
                            [--type gui|sdl|headless]

  controlvm                 <uuid|vmname>
                            pause|resume|reset|poweroff|savestate|
                            acpipowerbutton|acpisleepbutton|
                            keyboardputscancode <hex> [<hex> ...]|
                            setlinkstate<1-N> on|off |
                            nic<1-N> null|nat|bridged|intnet|generic|natnetwork
                                     [<devicename>] |
                            nictrace<1-N> on|off |
                            nictracefile<1-N> <filename> |
                            nicproperty<1-N> name=[value] |
                            nicpromisc<1-N> deny|allow-vms|allow-all |
                            natpf<1-N> [<rulename>],tcp|udp,[<hostip>],
                                        <hostport>,[<guestip>],<guestport> |
                            natpf<1-N> delete <rulename> |
                            guestmemoryballoon <balloonsize in MB> |
                            usbattach <uuid>|<address> |
                            usbdetach <uuid>|<address> |
                            clipboard disabled|hosttoguest|guesttohost|
                                      bidirectional |
                            draganddrop disabled|hosttoguest |
                            vrde on|off |
                            vrdeport <port> |
                            vrdeproperty <name=[value]> |
                            vrdevideochannelquality <percent> |
                            setvideomodehint <xres> <yres> <bpp>
                                            [[<display>] [<enabled:yes|no> |
                                              [<xorigin> <yorigin>]]] |
                            screenshotpng <file> [display] |
                            vcpenabled on|off |
                            vcpscreens all|none|<screen>,[<screen>...] |
                            setcredentials <username>
                                           --passwordfile <file> | <password>
                                           <domain>
                                           [--allowlocallogon <yes|no>] |
                            teleport --host <name> --port <port>
                                     [--maxdowntime <msec>]
                                     [--passwordfile <file> |
                                      --password <password>] |
                            plugcpu <id> |
                            unplugcpu <id> |
                            cpuexecutioncap <1-100>
                            webcam <attach [path [settings]]> | <detach [path]> | <list>

  discardstate              <uuid|vmname>

  adoptstate                <uuid|vmname> <state_file>

  snapshot                  <uuid|vmname>
                            take <name> [--description <desc>] [--live] |
                            delete <uuid|snapname> |
                            restore <uuid|snapname> |
                            restorecurrent |
                            edit <uuid|snapname>|--current
                                 [--name <name>]
                                 [--description <desc>] |
                            list [--details|--machinereadable]
                            showvminfo <uuid|snapname>

  closemedium               disk|dvd|floppy <uuid|filename>
                            [--delete]

  storageattach             <uuid|vmname>
                            --storagectl <name>
                            [--port <number>]
                            [--device <number>]
                            [--type dvddrive|hdd|fdd]
                            [--medium none|emptydrive|additions|
                                      <uuid|filename>|host:<drive>|iscsi]
                            [--mtype normal|writethrough|immutable|shareable|
                                     readonly|multiattach]
                            [--comment <text>]
                            [--setuuid <uuid>]
                            [--setparentuuid <uuid>]
                            [--passthrough on|off]
                            [--tempeject on|off]
                            [--nonrotational on|off]
                            [--discard on|off]
                            [--bandwidthgroup <name>]
                            [--forceunmount]
                            [--server <name>|<ip>]
                            [--target <target>]
                            [--tport <port>]
                            [--lun <lun>]
                            [--encodedlun <lun>]
                            [--username <username>]
                            [--password <password>]
                            [--initiator <initiator>]
                            [--intnet]

  storagectl                <uuid|vmname>
                            --name <name>
                            [--add ide|sata|scsi|floppy|sas]
                            [--controller LSILogic|LSILogicSAS|BusLogic|
                                          IntelAHCI|PIIX3|PIIX4|ICH6|I82078]
                            [--portcount <1-30>]
                            [--hostiocache on|off]
                            [--bootable on|off]
                            [--remove]

  bandwidthctl              <uuid|vmname>
                            add <name> --type disk|network
                                --limit <megabytes per second>[k|m|g|K|M|G] |
                            set <name>
                                --limit <megabytes per second>[k|m|g|K|M|G] |
                            remove <name> |
                            list [--machinereadable]
                            (limit units: k=kilobit, m=megabit, g=gigabit,
                                          K=kilobyte, M=megabyte, G=gigabyte)

  showhdinfo                <uuid|filename>

  createhd                  --filename <filename>
                            [--size <megabytes>|--sizebyte <bytes>]
                            [--diffparent <uuid>|<filename>
                            [--format VDI|VMDK|VHD] (default: VDI)
                            [--variant Standard,Fixed,Split2G,Stream,ESX]

  modifyhd                  <uuid|filename>
                            [--type normal|writethrough|immutable|shareable|
                                    readonly|multiattach]
                            [--autoreset on|off]
                            [--property <name=[value]>]
                            [--compact]
                            [--resize <megabytes>|--resizebyte <bytes>]

  clonehd                   <uuid|inputfile> <uuid|outputfile>
                            [--format VDI|VMDK|VHD|RAW|<other>]
                            [--variant Standard,Fixed,Split2G,Stream,ESX]
                            [--existing]

  convertfromraw            <filename> <outputfile>
                            [--format VDI|VMDK|VHD]
                            [--variant Standard,Fixed,Split2G,Stream,ESX]
                            [--uuid <uuid>]
  convertfromraw            stdin <outputfile> <bytes>
                            [--format VDI|VMDK|VHD]
                            [--variant Standard,Fixed,Split2G,Stream,ESX]
                            [--uuid <uuid>]

  getextradata              global|<uuid|vmname>
                            <key>|enumerate

  setextradata              global|<uuid|vmname>
                            <key>
                            [<value>] (no value deletes key)

  setproperty               machinefolder default|<folder> |
                            hwvirtexclusive on|off |
                            vrdeauthlibrary default|<library> |
                            websrvauthlibrary default|null|<library> |
                            vrdeextpack null|<library> |
                            autostartdbpath null|<folder> |
                            loghistorycount <value>
                            defaultfrontend default|<name>

  usbfilter                 add <index,0-N>
                            --target <uuid|vmname>|global
                            --name <string>
                            --action ignore|hold (global filters only)
                            [--active yes|no] (yes)
                            [--vendorid <XXXX>] (null)
                            [--productid <XXXX>] (null)
                            [--revision <IIFF>] (null)
                            [--manufacturer <string>] (null)
                            [--product <string>] (null)
                            [--remote yes|no] (null, VM filters only)
                            [--serialnumber <string>] (null)
                            [--maskedinterfaces <XXXXXXXX>]

  usbfilter                 modify <index,0-N>
                            --target <uuid|vmname>|global
                            [--name <string>]
                            [--action ignore|hold] (global filters only)
                            [--active yes|no]
                            [--vendorid <XXXX>|""]
                            [--productid <XXXX>|""]
                            [--revision <IIFF>|""]
                            [--manufacturer <string>|""]
                            [--product <string>|""]
                            [--remote yes|no] (null, VM filters only)
                            [--serialnumber <string>|""]
                            [--maskedinterfaces <XXXXXXXX>]

  usbfilter                 remove <index,0-N>
                            --target <uuid|vmname>|global

  sharedfolder              add <uuid|vmname>
                            --name <name> --hostpath <hostpath>
                            [--transient] [--readonly] [--automount]

  sharedfolder              remove <uuid|vmname>
                            --name <name> [--transient]

  guestcontrol              <uuid|vmname>

                              exec[ute]
                              --image <path to program> --username <name>
                              [--passwordfile <file> | --password <password>]
                              [--domain <domain>] [--verbose] [--timeout <msec>]
                              [--environment "<NAME>=<VALUE> [<NAME>=<VALUE>]"]
                              [--wait-exit] [--wait-stdout] [--wait-stderr]
                              [--dos2unix] [--unix2dos]
                              [-- [<argument1>] ... [<argumentN>]]

                              copyfrom
                              <guest source> <host dest> --username <name>
                              [--passwordfile <file> | --password <password>]
                              [--domain <domain>] [--verbose]
                              [--dryrun] [--follow] [--recursive]

                              copyto|cp
                              <host source> <guest dest> --username <name>
                              [--passwordfile <file> | --password <password>]
                              [--domain <domain>] [--verbose]
                              [--dryrun] [--follow] [--recursive]

                              createdir[ectory]|mkdir|md
                              <guest directory>... --username <name>
                              [--passwordfile <file> | --password <password>]
                              [--domain <domain>] [--verbose]
                              [--parents] [--mode <mode>]

                              removedir[ectory]|rmdir
                              <guest directory>... --username <name>
                              [--passwordfile <file> | --password <password>]
                              [--domain <domain>] [--verbose]
                              [--recursive|-R|-r]

                              removefile|rm
                              <guest file>... --username <name>
                              [--passwordfile <file> | --password <password>]
                              [--domain <domain>] [--verbose]

                              ren[ame]|mv
                              <source>... <dest> --username <name>
                              [--passwordfile <file> | --password <password>]
                              [--domain <domain>] [--verbose]

                              createtemp[orary]|mktemp
                              <template> --username <name>
                              [--passwordfile <file> | --password <password>]
                              [--directory] [--secure] [--tmpdir <directory>]
                              [--domain <domain>] [--mode <mode>] [--verbose]

                              list <all|sessions|processes|files> [--verbose]

                              process kill --session-id <ID>
                                           | --session-name <name or pattern>
                                           [--verbose]
                                           <PID> ... <PID n>

                              [p[s]]kill --session-id <ID>
                                         | --session-name <name or pattern>
                                         [--verbose]
                                         <PID> ... <PID n>

                              session close  --session-id <ID>
                                           | --session-name <name or pattern>
                                           | --all
                                           [--verbose]

                              stat
                              <file>... --username <name>
                              [--passwordfile <file> | --password <password>]
                              [--domain <domain>] [--verbose]

                              updateadditions
                              [--source <guest additions .ISO>] [--verbose]
                              [--wait-start]
                              [-- [<argument1>] ... [<argumentN>]]

                              watch [--verbose]

  debugvm                   <uuid|vmname>
                            dumpguestcore --filename <name> |
                            info <item> [args] |
                            injectnmi |
                            log [--release|--debug] <settings> ...|
                            logdest [--release|--debug] <settings> ...|
                            logflags [--release|--debug] <settings> ...|
                            osdetect |
                            osinfo |
                            getregisters [--cpu <id>] <reg>|all ... |
                            setregisters [--cpu <id>] <reg>=<value> ... |
                            show [--human-readable|--sh-export|--sh-eval|
                                  --cmd-set] 
                                <logdbg-settings|logrel-settings>
                                [[opt] what ...] |
                            statistics [--reset] [--pattern <pattern>]
                            [--descriptions]

  metrics                   list [*|host|<vmname> [<metric_list>]]
                                                 (comma-separated)

  metrics                   setup
                            [--period <seconds>] (default: 1)
                            [--samples <count>] (default: 1)
                            [--list]
                            [*|host|<vmname> [<metric_list>]]

  metrics                   query [*|host|<vmname> [<metric_list>]]

  metrics                   enable
                            [--list]
                            [*|host|<vmname> [<metric_list>]]

  metrics                   disable
                            [--list]
                            [*|host|<vmname> [<metric_list>]]

  metrics                   collect
                            [--period <seconds>] (default: 1)
                            [--samples <count>] (default: 1)
                            [--list]
                            [--detach]
                            [*|host|<vmname> [<metric_list>]]

  dhcpserver                add|modify --netname <network_name> |
                            [--ip <ip_address>
                            --netmask <network_mask>
                            --lowerip <lower_ip>
                            --upperip <upper_ip>]
                            [--enable | --disable]

  dhcpserver                remove --netname <network_name> |

  extpack                   install [--replace] <tarball> |
                            uninstall [--force] <name> |
                            cleanup

Each time VBoxManage is invoked, only one command can be executed. However, a command might support several subcommands which then can be invoked in one single call. The following sections provide detailed reference information on the different commands.

8.3. General options

  • --version: show the version of this tool and exit.

  • --nologo: suppress the output of the logo information (useful for scripts)

  • --settingspw: specifiy a settings password

  • --settingspwfile: specify a file containing the settings password.

The settings password is used for certain settings which need to be stored encrypted for security reasons. At the moment, the only encrypted setting is the iSCSI initiator secret (see Section 8.18, “VBoxManage storageattach” for details). As long as no settings password is specified, this information is stored in plain text. After using the --settingspw|--settingspwfile option once, it must be always used, otherwise the encrypted setting cannot be unencrypted.

8.4. VBoxManage list

The list command gives relevant information about your system and information about VirtualBox's current settings.

The following subcommands are available with VBoxManage list:

  • vms lists all virtual machines currently registered with VirtualBox. By default this displays a compact list with each VM's name and UUID; if you also specify --long or -l, this will be a detailed list as with the showvminfo command (see below).

  • runningvms lists all currently running virtual machines by their unique identifiers (UUIDs) in the same format as with vms.

  • ostypes lists all guest operating systems presently known to VirtualBox, along with the identifiers used to refer to them with the modifyvm command.

  • hostdvds, hostfloppies, respectively, list DVD, floppy, bridged networking and host-only networking interfaces on the host, along with the name used to access them from within VirtualBox.

  • bridgedifs, hostonlyifs and dhcpservers, respectively, list bridged network interfaces, host-only network interfaces and DHCP servers currently available on the host. Please see Chapter 6, Virtual networking for details on these.

  • hostinfo displays information about the host system, such as CPUs, memory size and operating system version.

  • hostcpuids dumps the CPUID parameters for the host CPUs. This can be used for a more fine grained analyis of the host's virtualization capabilities.

  • hddbackends lists all known virtual disk back-ends of VirtualBox. For each such format (such as VDI, VMDK or RAW), this lists the back-end's capabilities and configuration.

  • hdds, dvds and floppies all give you information about virtual disk images currently in use by VirtualBox, including all their settings, the unique identifiers (UUIDs) associated with them by VirtualBox and all files associated with them. This is the command-line equivalent of the Virtual Media Manager; see Section 5.3, “The Virtual Media Manager”.

  • usbhost supplies information about USB devices attached to the host, notably information useful for constructing USB filters and whether they are currently in use by the host.

  • usbfilters lists all global USB filters registered with VirtualBox -- that is, filters for devices which are accessible to all virtual machines -- and displays the filter parameters.

  • systemproperties displays some global VirtualBox settings, such as minimum and maximum guest RAM and virtual hard disk size, folder settings and the current authentication library in use.

  • extpacks displays all VirtualBox extension packs currently installed; see Section 1.5, “Installing VirtualBox and extension packs” and Section 8.36, “VBoxManage extpack” for more information.

8.5. VBoxManage showvminfo

The showvminfo command shows information about a particular virtual machine. This is the same information as VBoxManage list vms --long would show for all virtual machines.

You will get information similar to the following:

$ VBoxManage showvminfo "Windows XP"
VirtualBox Command Line Management Interface Version 4.3.20
(C) 2005-2014 Oracle Corporation
All rights reserved.

Name:            Windows XP
Guest OS:        Other/Unknown
UUID:            1bf3464d-57c6-4d49-92a9-a5cc3816b7e7
Config file:     /home/username/.config/VirtualBox/Machines/Windows XP/Windows XP.xml
Memory size:     512MB
VRAM size:       12MB
Number of CPUs:  2
Synthetic Cpu:   off
Boot menu mode:  message and menu
Boot Device (1): DVD
Boot Device (2): HardDisk
Boot Device (3): Not Assigned
Boot Device (4): Not Assigned
ACPI:            on
IOAPIC:          on
PAE:             on
Time offset:     0 ms
Hardw. virt.ext: on
Nested Paging:   on
VT-x VPID:       off
State:           powered off (since 2009-10-20T14:52:19.000000000)
Monitor count:   1
3D Acceleration: off
2D Video Acceleration: off
Teleporter Enabled: off
Teleporter Port: 0
Teleporter Address:
Teleporter Password:
Storage Controller      (0): IDE Controller
Storage Controller Type (0): PIIX4
Storage Controller      (1): Floppy Controller 1
Storage Controller Type (1): I82078
IDE Controller (0, 0): /home/user/windows.vdi (UUID: 46f6e53a-4557-460a-9b95-68b0f17d744b)
IDE Controller (0, 1): /home/user/openbsd-cd46.iso (UUID: 4335e162-59d3-4512-91d5-b63e94eebe0b)
Floppy Controller 1 (0, 0): /home/user/floppy.img (UUID: 62ac6ccb-df36-42f2-972e-22f836368137)
NIC 1:           disabled
NIC 2:           disabled
NIC 3:           disabled
NIC 4:           disabled
NIC 5:           disabled
NIC 6:           disabled
NIC 7:           disabled
NIC 8:           disabled
UART 1:          disabled
UART 2:          disabled
Audio:           disabled (Driver: Unknown)
Clipboard Mode:  Bidirectional
VRDE:            disabled
USB:             disabled

USB Device Filters:
<none>

Shared folders:
<none>

Statistics update:  disabled

8.6. VBoxManage registervm / unregistervm

The registervm command allows you to import a virtual machine definition in an XML file into VirtualBox. The machine must not conflict with one already registered in VirtualBox and it may not have any hard or removable disks attached. It is advisable to place the definition file in the machines folder before registering it.

Note

When creating a new virtual machine with VBoxManage createvm (see below), you can directly specify the --register option to avoid having to register it separately.

The unregistervm command unregisters a virtual machine. If --delete is also specified, the following files will automatically be deleted as well:

  1. all hard disk image files, including differencing files, which are used by the machine and not shared with other machines;

  2. saved state files that the machine created, if any (one if the machine was in "saved" state and one for each online snapshot);

  3. the machine XML file and its backups;

  4. the machine log files, if any;

  5. the machine directory, if it is empty after having deleted all the above.

8.7. VBoxManage createvm

This command creates a new XML virtual machine definition file.

The --name <name> parameter is required and must specify the name of the machine. Since this name is used by default as the file name of the settings file (with the extension .xml) and the machine folder (a subfolder of the .config/VirtualBox/Machines folder - this folder name may vary depending on the operating system and the version of VirtualBox which you are using), it must conform to your host operating system's requirements for file name specifications. If the VM is later renamed, the file and folder names will change automatically.

However, if the --basefolder <path> option is used, the machine folder will be named <path>. In this case, the names of the file and the folder will not change if the virtual machine is renamed.

By default, this command only creates the XML file without automatically registering the VM with your VirtualBox installation. To register the VM instantly, use the optional --register option, or run VBoxManage registervm separately afterwards.

8.8. VBoxManage modifyvm

This command changes the properties of a registered virtual machine which is not running. Most of the properties that this command makes available correspond to the VM settings that VirtualBox graphical user interface displays in each VM's "Settings" dialog; these were described in Chapter 3, Configuring virtual machines. Some of the more advanced settings, however, are only available through the VBoxManage interface.

These commands require that the machine is powered off (neither running nor in "saved" state). Some machine settings can also be changed while a machine is running; those settings will then have a corresponding subcommand with the VBoxManage controlvm subcommand (see Section 8.13, “VBoxManage controlvm”).

8.8.1. General settings

The following general settings are available through VBoxManage modifyvm:

  • --name <name>: This changes the VM's name and possibly renames the internal virtual machine files, as described with VBoxManage createvm above.

  • --groups <group>, ...: This changes the group membership of a VM. Groups always start with a / and can be nested. By default VMs are in group /.

  • --description <desc>: This changes the VM's description, which is a way to record details about the VM in a way which is meaningful for the user. The GUI interprets HTML formatting, the command line allows arbitrary strings potentially containing multiple lines.

  • --ostype <ostype>: This specifies what guest operating system is supposed to run in the VM. To learn about the various identifiers that can be used here, use VBoxManage list ostypes.

  • --memory <memorysize>: This sets the amount of RAM, in MB, that the virtual machine should allocate for itself from the host. See the remarks in Section 1.7, “Creating your first virtual machine” for more information.

  • --vram <vramsize>: This sets the amount of RAM that the virtual graphics card should have. See Section 3.5, “Display settings” for details.

  • --acpi on|off; --ioapic on|off: These two determine whether the VM should have ACPI and I/O APIC support, respectively; see Section 3.4.1, “"Motherboard" tab” for details.

  • --hardwareuuid <uuid>: The UUID presented to the guest via memory tables (DMI/SMBIOS), hardware and guest properties. By default this is the same as the VM uuid. Useful when cloning a VM. Teleporting takes care of this automatically.

  • --cpus <cpucount>: This sets the number of virtual CPUs for the virtual machine (see Section 3.4.2, “"Processor" tab”). If CPU hot-plugging is enabled (see below), this then sets the maximum number of virtual CPUs that can be plugged into the virtual machines.

  • --rtcuseutc on|off: This option lets the real-time clock (RTC) operate in UTC time (see Section 3.4.1, “"Motherboard" tab”).

  • --cpuhotplug on|off: This enables CPU hot-plugging. When enabled, virtual CPUs can be added to and removed from a virtual machine while it is running. See Section 9.5, “CPU hot-plugging” for more information.

  • --plugcpu|unplugcpu <id>: If CPU hot-plugging is enabled (see above), this adds a virtual CPU to the virtual machines (or removes one). <id> specifies the index of the virtual CPU to be added or removed and must be a number from 0 to the maximum no. of CPUs configured with the --cpus option. CPU 0 can never be removed.

  • --cpuexecutioncap <1-100>: This setting controls how much cpu time a virtual CPU can use. A value of 50 implies a single virtual CPU can use up to 50% of a single host CPU.

  • --pae on|off: This enables/disables PAE (see Section 3.4.2, “"Processor" tab”).

  • --longmode on|off: This enables/disables long mode (see Section 3.4.2, “"Processor" tab”).

  • --synthcpu on|off: This setting determines whether VirtualBox will expose a synthetic CPU to the guest to allow live migration between host systems that differ significantly.

  • --hpet on|off: This enables/disables a High Precision Event Timer (HPET) which can replace the legacy system timers. This is turned off by default. Note that Windows supports a HPET only from Vista onwards.

  • --hwvirtex on|off: This enables or disables the use of hardware virtualization extensions (Intel VT-x or AMD-V) in the processor of your host system; see Section 10.3, “Hardware vs. software virtualization”.

  • --triplefaultreset on|off: This setting allows to reset the guest instead of triggering a Guru Meditation. Some guests raise a triple fault to reset the CPU so sometimes this is desired behavior. Works only for non-SMP guests.

  • --nestedpaging on|off: If hardware virtualization is enabled, this additional setting enables or disables the use of the nested paging feature in the processor of your host system; see Section 10.3, “Hardware vs. software virtualization”.

  • --largepages on|off: If hardware virtualization and nested paging are enabled, for Intel VT-x only, an additional performance improvement of up to 5% can be obtained by enabling this setting. This causes the hypervisor to use large pages to reduce TLB use and overhead.

  • --vtxvpid on|off: If hardware virtualization is enabled, for Intel VT-x only, this additional setting enables or disables the use of the tagged TLB (VPID) feature in the processor of your host system; see Section 10.3, “Hardware vs. software virtualization”.

  • --vtxux on|off: If hardware virtualization is enabled, for Intel VT-x only, this setting enables or disables the use of the unrestricted guest mode feature for executing your guest.

  • --accelerate3d on|off: This enables, if the Guest Additions are installed, whether hardware 3D acceleration should be available; see Section 4.4.1, “Hardware 3D acceleration (OpenGL and Direct3D 8/9)”.

  • You can influence the BIOS logo that is displayed when a virtual machine starts up with a number of settings. Per default, a VirtualBox logo is displayed.

    With --bioslogofadein on|off and --bioslogofadeout on|off, you can determine whether the logo should fade in and out, respectively.

    With --bioslogodisplaytime <msec> you can set how long the logo should be visible, in milliseconds.

    With --bioslogoimagepath <imagepath> you can, if you are so inclined, replace the image that is shown, with your own logo. The image must be an uncompressed 256 color BMP file without color space information (Windows 3.0 format). The image must not be bigger than 640 x 480.

  • --biosbootmenu disabled|menuonly|messageandmenu: This specifies whether the BIOS allows the user to select a temporary boot device. menuonly suppresses the message, but the user can still press F12 to select a temporary boot device.

  • --nicbootprio<1-N> <priority>: This specifies the order in which NICs are tried for booting over the network (using PXE). The priority is an integer in the 0 to 4 range. Priority 1 is the highest, priority 4 is low. Priority 0, which is the default unless otherwise specified, is the lowest.

    Note that this option only has effect when the Intel PXE boot ROM is used.

  • --boot<1-4> none|floppy|dvd|disk|net: This specifies the boot order for the virtual machine. There are four "slots", which the VM will try to access from 1 to 4, and for each of which you can set a device that the VM should attempt to boot from.

  • --snapshotfolder default|<path>: This allows you to specify the folder in which snapshots will be kept for a virtual machine.

  • --firmware efi|bios: Specifies which firmware is used to boot particular virtual machine: EFI or BIOS. Use EFI only if your fully understand what you're doing.

  • --guestmemoryballoon <size> sets the default size of the guest memory balloon, that is, memory allocated by the VirtualBox Guest Additions from the guest operating system and returned to the hypervisor for re-use by other virtual machines. <size> must be specified in megabytes. The default size is 0 megabytes. For details, see Section 4.8.1, “Memory ballooning”.

  • --lptmode<1-N> <Device> Specifies the Device Name of the parallel port that the Parallel Port feature will be using. Use this before --lpt. This feature is host operating system specific.

  • --lpt<1-N> <I/O base> <IRQ> Specifies the I/O address of the parallel port and the IRQ number that the Parallel Port feature will be using. Use this after --lptmod. I/O base address and IRQ are the values that guest sees i.e. the values avalable under guest Device Manager.

  • --defaultfrontend default|<name>: This allows you to specify the default frontend which will be used when starting this VM; see Section 8.12, “VBoxManage startvm” for details.

8.8.2. Networking settings

The following networking settings are available through VBoxManage modifyvm. With all these settings, the decimal number directly following the option name ("1-N" in the list below) specifies the virtual network adapter whose settings should be changed.

  • --nic<1-N> none|null|nat|bridged|intnet|hostonly|generic : With this, you can set, for each of the VM's virtual network cards, what type of networking should be available. They can be not present (none), not connected to the host (null), use network address translation (nat), bridged networking (bridged) or communicate with other virtual machines using internal networking (intnet), host-only networking (hostonly), or access rarely used sub-modes (generic). These options correspond to the modes which are described in detail in Section 6.2, “Introduction to networking modes”.

  • --nictype<1-N> Am79C970A|Am79C973|82540EM|82543GC|82545EM|virtio: This allows you, for each of the VM's virtual network cards, to specify which networking hardware VirtualBox presents to the guest; see Section 6.1, “Virtual networking hardware”.

  • --cableconnected<1-N> on|off: This allows you to temporarily disconnect a virtual network interface, as if a network cable had been pulled from a real network card. This might be useful for resetting certain software components in the VM.

  • With the "nictrace" options, you can optionally trace network traffic by dumping it to a file, for debugging purposes.

    With --nictrace<1-N> on|off, you can enable network tracing for a particular virtual network card.

    If enabled, you must specify with --nictracefile<1-N> <filename> what file the trace should be logged to.

  • --bridgeadapter<1-N> none|<devicename>: If bridged networking has been enabled for a virtual network card (see the --nic option above; otherwise this setting has no effect), use this option to specify which host interface the given virtual network interface will use. For details, please see Section 6.5, “Bridged networking”.

  • --hostonlyadapter<1-N> none|<devicename>: If host-only networking has been enabled for a virtual network card (see the --nic option above; otherwise this setting has no effect), use this option to specify which host-only networking interface the given virtual network interface will use. For details, please see Section 6.7, “Host-only networking”.

  • --intnet<1-N> network: If internal networking has been enabled for a virtual network card (see the --nic option above; otherwise this setting has no effect), use this option to specify the name of the internal network (see Section 6.6, “Internal networking”).

  • --macaddress<1-N> auto|<mac>: With this option you can set the MAC address of the virtual network card. Normally, each virtual network card is assigned a random address by VirtualBox at VM creation.

  • --nicgenericdrv<1-N> <backend driver>: If generic networking has been enabled for a virtual network card (see the --nic option above; otherwise this setting has no effect), this mode allows you to access rarely used networking sub-modes, such as VDE network or UDP Tunnel.

  • --nicproperty<1-N> <paramname>="paramvalue": This option, in combination with "nicgenericdrv" allows you to pass parameters to rarely-used network backends.

    Those parameters are backend engine-specific, and are different between UDP Tunnel and the VDE backend drivers. For example, please see Section 6.8, “UDP Tunnel networking”.

8.8.2.1. NAT Networking settings.

The following NAT networking settings are available through VBoxManage modifyvm. With all these settings, the decimal number directly following the option name ("1-N" in the list below) specifies the virtual network adapter whose settings should be changed.

8.8.3. Serial port, audio, clipboard and USB settings

The following other hardware settings are available through VBoxManage modifyvm:

  • --uart<1-N> off|<I/O base> <IRQ>: With this option you can configure virtual serial ports for the VM; see Section 3.9, “Serial ports” for an introduction.

  • --uartmode<1-N> <arg>: This setting controls how VirtualBox connects a given virtual serial port (previously configured with the --uartX setting, see above) to the host on which the virtual machine is running. As described in detail in Section 3.9, “Serial ports”, for each such port, you can specify <arg> as one of the following options:

    • disconnected: Even though the serial port is shown to the guest, it has no "other end" -- like a real COM port without a cable.

    • server <pipename>: On a Windows host, this tells VirtualBox to create a named pipe on the host named <pipename> and connect the virtual serial device to it. Note that Windows requires that the name of a named pipe begin with \\.\pipe\.

      On a Linux host, instead of a named pipe, a local domain socket is used.

    • client <pipename>: This operates just like server ..., except that the pipe (or local domain socket) is not created by VirtualBox, but assumed to exist already.

    • <devicename>: If, instead of the above, the device name of a physical hardware serial port of the host is specified, the virtual serial port is connected to that hardware port. On a Windows host, the device name will be a COM port such as COM1; on a Linux host, the device name will look like /dev/ttyS0. This allows you to "wire" a real serial port to a virtual machine.

  • --audio none|null|oss: With this option, you can set whether the VM should have audio support.

  • --clipboard disabled|hosttoguest|guesttohost|bidirectional: With this setting, you can select whether the guest operating system's clipboard should be shared with the host; see Section 3.3, “General settings”. This requires that the Guest Additions be installed in the virtual machine.

  • --monitorcount <count>: This enables multi-monitor support; see Section 3.5, “Display settings”.

  • --usb on|off: This option enables or disables the VM's virtual USB controller; see Section 3.10.1, “USB settings” for details.

  • --usbehci on|off: This option enables or disables the VM's virtual USB 2.0 controller; see Section 3.10.1, “USB settings” for details.

8.8.4. Remote machine settings

The following settings that affect remote machine behavior are available through VBoxManage modifyvm:

  • --vrde on|off: With the VirtualBox graphical user interface, this enables or disables the VirtualBox remote desktop extension (VRDE) server. Note that if you are using VBoxHeadless (see Section 7.1.2, “VBoxHeadless, the remote desktop server”), VRDE is enabled by default.

  • --vrdeport default|<ports>: A port or a range of ports the VRDE server can bind to; "default" or "0" means port 3389, the standard port for RDP. You can specify a comma-separated list of ports or ranges of ports. Use a dash between two port numbers to specify a range. The VRDE server will bind to one of available ports from the specified list. Only one machine can use a given port at a time. For example, the option --vrdeport 5000,5010-5012 will tell the server to bind to one of following ports: 5000, 5010, 5011 or 5012.

  • --vrdeaddress <IP address>: The IP address of the host network interface the VRDE server will bind to. If specified, the server will accept connections only on the specified host network interface.

    The setting can be used to specify whether the VRDP server should accept either IPv4 or IPv6 or both connections:

    • only IPv4: --vrdeaddress "0.0.0.0"

    • only IPv6: --vrdeaddress "::"

    • both IPv6 and IPv4 (default): --vrdeaddress ""

  • --vrdeauthtype null|external|guest: This allows you to choose whether and how authorization will be performed; see Section 7.1.5, “RDP authentication” for details.

  • --vrdemulticon on|off: This enables multiple connections to the same VRDE server, if the server supports this feature; see Section 7.1.7, “Multiple connections to the VRDP server”.

  • --vrdereusecon on|off: This specifies the VRDE server behavior when multiple connections are disabled. When this option is enabled, the server will allow a new client to connect and will drop the existing connection. When this option is disabled (this is the default setting), a new connection will not be accepted if there is already a client connected to the server.

  • --vrdevideochannel on|off: This enables video redirection, if it is supported by the VRDE server; see Section 7.1.9, “VRDP video redirection”.

  • --vrdevideochannelquality <percent>: Sets the image quality for video redirection; see Section 7.1.9, “VRDP video redirection”.

8.8.5. Teleporting settings

With the following commands for VBoxManage modifyvm you can configure a machine to be a target for teleporting. See Section 7.2, “Teleporting” for an introduction.

  • --teleporter on|off: With this setting you turn on or off whether a machine waits for a teleporting request to come in on the network when it is started. If "on", when the machine is started, it does not boot the virtual machine as it would normally; instead, it then waits for a teleporting request to come in on the port and address listed with the next two parameters.

  • --teleporterport <port>, --teleporteraddress <address>: these must be used with --teleporter and tell the virtual machine on which port and address it should listen for a teleporting request from another virtual machine. <port> can be any free TCP/IP port number (e.g. 6000); <address> can be any IP address or hostname and specifies the TCP/IP socket to bind to. The default is "0.0.0.0", which means any address.

  • --teleporterpassword <password>: if this optional argument is given, then the teleporting request will only succeed if the source machine specifies the same password as the one given with this command.

  • --teleporterpasswordfile <password>: if this optional argument is given, then the teleporting request will only succeed if the source machine specifies the same password as the one specified in the file give with this command. Use stdin to read the password from stdin.

  • --cpuid <leaf> <eax> <ebx> <ecx> <edx>: Advanced users can use this command before a teleporting operation to restrict the virtual CPU capabilities that VirtualBox presents to the guest operating system. This must be run on both the source and the target machines involved in the teleporting and will then modify what the guest sees when it executes the CPUID machine instruction. This might help with misbehaving applications that wrongly assume that certain CPU capabilities are present. The meaning of the parameters is hardware dependent; please refer to the AMD or Intel processor manuals.

8.9. VBoxManage clonevm

This command creates a full or linked copy of an existing virtual machine.

The clonevm subcommand takes at least the name of the virtual machine which should be cloned. The following additional settings can be used to further configure the clone VM operation:

  • --snapshot <uuid>|<name>: Select a specific snapshot where the clone operation should refer to. Default is referring to the current state.

  • --mode machine|machineandchildren|all: Selects the cloning mode of the operation. If machine is selected (the default), the current state of the VM without any snapshots is cloned. In the machineandchildren mode the snapshot provided by --snapshot and all child snapshots are cloned. If all is the selected mode all snapshots and the current state are cloned.

  • --options link|keepallmacs|keepnatmacs|keepdisknames: Allows additional fine tuning of the clone operation. The first option defines that a linked clone should be created, which is only possible for a machine clone from a snapshot. The next two options allow to define how the MAC addresses of every virtual network card should be handled. They can either be reinitialized (the default), left unchanged (keepallmacs) or left unchanged when the network type is NAT (keepnatmacs). If you add keepdisknames all new disk images are called like the original ones, otherwise they are renamed.

  • --name <name>: Select a new name for the new virtual machine. Default is "Original Name Clone".

  • --basefolder <basefolder>: Select the folder where the new virtual machine configuration should be saved in.

  • --uuid <uuid>: Select the UUID the new VM should have. This id has to be unique in the VirtualBox instance this clone should be registered. Default is creating a new UUID.

  • --register: Automatically register the new clone in this VirtualBox installation. If you manually want to register the new VM later, see Section 8.6, “VBoxManage registervm / unregistervm” for instructions how to do so.

8.10. VBoxManage import

This command imports a virtual appliance in OVF format by copying the virtual disk images and creating virtual machines in VirtualBox. See Section 1.14, “Importing and exporting virtual machines” for an introduction to appliances.

The import subcommand takes at least the path name of an OVF file as input and expects the disk images, if needed, in the same directory as the OVF file. A lot of additional command-line options are supported to control in detail what is being imported and modify the import parameters, but the details depend on the content of the OVF file.

It is therefore recommended to first run the import subcommand with the --dry-run or -n option. This will then print a description of the appliance's contents to the screen how it would be imported into VirtualBox, together with the optional command-line options to influence the import behavior.

As an example, here is the screen output with a sample appliance containing a Windows XP guest:

VBoxManage import WindowsXp.ovf --dry-run
Interpreting WindowsXp.ovf...
OK.
Virtual system 0:
 0: Suggested OS type: "WindowsXP"
    (change with "--vsys 0 --ostype <type>"; use "list ostypes" to list all)
 1: Suggested VM name "Windows XP Professional_1"
    (change with "--vsys 0 --vmname <name>")
 3: Number of CPUs: 1
    (change with "--vsys 0 --cpus <n>")
 4: Guest memory: 956 MB (change with "--vsys 0 --memory <MB>")
 5: Sound card (appliance expects "ensoniq1371", can change on import)
    (disable with "--vsys 0 --unit 5 --ignore")
 6: USB controller
    (disable with "--vsys 0 --unit 6 --ignore")
 7: Network adapter: orig bridged, config 2, extra type=bridged
 8: Floppy
    (disable with "--vsys 0 --unit 8 --ignore")
 9: SCSI controller, type BusLogic
    (change with "--vsys 0 --unit 9 --scsitype {BusLogic|LsiLogic}";
    disable with "--vsys 0 --unit 9 --ignore")
10: IDE controller, type PIIX4
    (disable with "--vsys 0 --unit 10 --ignore")
11: Hard disk image: source image=WindowsXp.vmdk,
      target path=/home/user/disks/WindowsXp.vmdk, controller=9;channel=0
    (change controller with "--vsys 0 --unit 11 --controller <id>";
    disable with "--vsys 0 --unit 11 --ignore")

As you can see, the individual configuration items are numbered, and depending on their type support different command-line options. The import subcommand can be directed to ignore many such items with a --vsys X --unit Y --ignore option, where X is the number of the virtual system (zero unless there are several virtual system descriptions in the appliance) and Y the item number, as printed on the screen.

In the above example, Item #1 specifies the name of the target machine in VirtualBox. Items #9 and #10 specify hard disk controllers, respectively. Item #11 describes a hard disk image; in this case, the additional --controller option indicates which item the disk image should be connected to, with the default coming from the OVF file.

You can combine several items for the same virtual system behind the same --vsys option. For example, to import a machine as described in the OVF, but without the sound card and without the USB controller, and with the disk image connected to the IDE controller instead of the SCSI controller, use this:

VBoxManage import WindowsXp.ovf
      --vsys 0 --unit 5 --ignore --unit 6 --ignore --unit 11 --controller 10

8.11. VBoxManage export

This command exports one or more virtual machines from VirtualBox into a virtual appliance in OVF format, including copying their virtual disk images to compressed VMDK. See Section 1.14, “Importing and exporting virtual machines” for an introduction to appliances.

The export command is simple to use: list the machine (or the machines) that you would like to export to the same OVF file and specify the target OVF file after an additional --output or -o option. Note that the directory of the target OVF file will also receive the exported disk images in the compressed VMDK format (regardless of the original format) and should have enough disk space left for them.

Beside a simple export of a given virtual machine, you can append several product information to the appliance file. Use --product, --producturl, --vendor, --vendorurl and --version to specify this additional information. For legal reasons you may add a license text or the content of a license file by using the --eula and --eulafile option respectively. As with OVF import, you must use the --vsys X option to direct the previously mentioned options to the correct virtual machine.

For virtualization products which aren't fully compatible with the OVF standard 1.0 you can enable a OVF 0.9 legacy mode with the --legacy09 option.

To specify options controlling the exact content of the appliance file, you can use --option to request the creation of a manifest file (encouraged, allows detection of corrupted appliances on import), the additional export of DVD images, and the exclusion of MAC addresses. You can specify a list of options, e.g. --option manifest,nomacs. For details, check the help output of VBoxManage export.

8.12. VBoxManage startvm

This command starts a virtual machine that is currently in the "Powered off" or "Saved" states.

The optional --type specifier determines whether the machine will be started in a window or whether the output should go through VBoxHeadless, with VRDE enabled or not; see Section 7.1.2, “VBoxHeadless, the remote desktop server” for more information. The list of types is subject to change, and it's not guaranteed that all types are accepted by any product variant.

The global or per-VM default value for the VM frontend type will be taken if the type is not explicitly specified. If none of these are set, the GUI variant will be started.

The following values are allowed:

gui

Starts a VM showing a GUI window. This is the default.

headless

Starts a VM without a window for remote display only.

sdl

Starts a VM with a minimal GUI and limited features.

Note

If you experience problems with starting virtual machines with particular frontends and there is no conclusive error information, consider starting virtual machines directly by running the respective front-end, as this can give additional error information.

8.13. VBoxManage controlvm

The controlvm subcommand allows you to change the state of a virtual machine that is currently running. The following can be specified:

  • VBoxManage controlvm <vm> pause temporarily puts a virtual machine on hold, without changing its state for good. The VM window will be painted in gray to indicate that the VM is currently paused. (This is equivalent to selecting the "Pause" item in the "Machine" menu of the GUI.)

  • Use VBoxManage controlvm <vm> resume to undo a previous pause command. (This is equivalent to selecting the "Resume" item in the "Machine" menu of the GUI.)

  • VBoxManage controlvm <vm> reset has the same effect on a virtual machine as pressing the "Reset" button on a real computer: a cold reboot of the virtual machine, which will restart and boot the guest operating system again immediately. The state of the VM is not saved beforehand, and data may be lost. (This is equivalent to selecting the "Reset" item in the "Machine" menu of the GUI.)

  • VBoxManage controlvm <vm> poweroff has the same effect on a virtual machine as pulling the power cable on a real computer. Again, the state of the VM is not saved beforehand, and data may be lost. (This is equivalent to selecting the "Close" item in the "Machine" menu of the GUI or pressing the window's close button, and then selecting "Power off the machine" in the dialog.)

    After this, the VM's state will be "Powered off". From there, it can be started again; see Section 8.12, “VBoxManage startvm”.

  • VBoxManage controlvm <vm> savestate will save the current state of the VM to disk and then stop the VM. (This is equivalent to selecting the "Close" item in the "Machine" menu of the GUI or pressing the window's close button, and then selecting "Save the machine state" in the dialog.)

    After this, the VM's state will be "Saved". From there, it can be started again; see Section 8.12, “VBoxManage startvm”.

  • VBoxManage controlvm "VM name" teleport --hostname <name> --port <port> [--passwordfile <file> | --password <password>] makes the machine the source of a teleporting operation and initiates a teleport to the given target. See Section 7.2, “Teleporting” for an introduction. If the optional password is specified, it must match the password that was given to the modifyvm command for the target machine; see Section 8.8.5, “Teleporting settings” for details.

A few extra options are available with controlvm that do not directly affect the VM's running state:

  • The setlinkstate<1-N> operation connects or disconnects virtual network cables from their network interfaces.

  • nic<1-N> null|nat|bridged|intnet|hostonly|generic: With this, you can set, for each of the VM's virtual network cards, what type of networking should be available. They can be not connected to the host (null), use network address translation (nat), bridged networking (bridged) or communicate with other virtual machines using internal networking (intnet) or host-only networking (hostonly) or access to rarely used sub-modes (generic). These options correspond to the modes which are described in detail in Section 6.2, “Introduction to networking modes”.

  • usbattach and usbdettach make host USB devices visible to the virtual machine on the fly, without the need for creating filters first. The USB devices can be specified by UUID (unique identifier) or by address on the host system.

    You can use VBoxManage list usbhost to locate this information.

  • vrde on|off lets you enable or disable the VRDE server, if it is installed.

  • vrdeport default|<ports> changes the port or a range of ports that the VRDE server can bind to; "default" or "0" means port 3389, the standard port for RDP. For details, see the description for the --vrdeport option in Section 8.8.3, “Serial port, audio, clipboard and USB settings”.

  • setvideomodehint requests that the guest system change to a particular video mode. This requires that the Guest Additions be installed, and will not work for all guest systems.

  • screenshotpng takes a screenshot of the guest display and saves it in PNG format.

  • The setcredentials operation is used for remote logons in Windows guests. For details, please refer to Section 9.2, “Automated guest logons”.

  • The guestmemoryballoon operation changes the size of the guest memory balloon, that is, memory allocated by the VirtualBox Guest Additions from the guest operating system and returned to the hypervisor for re-use by other virtual machines. This must be specified in megabytes. For details, see Section 4.8.1, “Memory ballooning”.

  • The cpuexecutioncap <1-100>: This operation controls how much cpu time a virtual CPU can use. A value of 50 implies a single virtual CPU can use up to 50% of a single host CPU.

8.14. VBoxManage discardstate

This command discards the saved state of a virtual machine which is not currently running, which will cause its operating system to restart next time you start it. This is the equivalent of pulling out the power cable on a physical machine, and should be avoided if possible.

8.15. VBoxManage adoptstate

If you have a saved state file (.sav) that is separate from the VM configuration, you can use this command to "adopt" the file. This will change the VM to saved state and when you start it, VirtualBox will attempt to restore it from the saved state file you indicated. This command should only be used in special setups.

8.16. VBoxManage snapshot

This command is used to control snapshots from the command line. A snapshot consists of a complete copy of the virtual machine settings, copied at the time when the snapshot was taken, and optionally a virtual machine saved state file if the snapshot was taken while the machine was running. After a snapshot has been taken, VirtualBox creates differencing hard disk for each normal hard disk associated with the machine so that when a snapshot is restored, the contents of the virtual machine's virtual hard disks can be quickly reset by simply dropping the pre-existing differencing files.

The take operation takes a snapshot of the current state of the virtual machine. You must supply a name for the snapshot and can optionally supply a description. The new snapshot is inserted into the snapshots tree as a child of the current snapshot and then becomes the new current snapshot. The --description parameter allows to describe the snapshot. If --live is specified, the VM will not be stopped during the snapshot creation (live smapshotting).

The delete operation deletes a snapshot (specified by name or by UUID). This can take a while to finish since the differencing images associated with the snapshot might need to be merged with their child differencing images.

The restore operation will restore the given snapshot (specified by name or by UUID) by resetting the virtual machine's settings and current state to that of the snapshot. The previous current state of the machine will be lost. After this, the given snapshot becomes the new "current" snapshot so that subsequent snapshots are inserted under the snapshot from which was restored.

The restorecurrent operation is a shortcut to restore the current snapshot (i.e. the snapshot from which the current state is derived). This subcommand is equivalent to using the "restore" subcommand with the name or UUID of the current snapshot, except that it avoids the extra step of determining that name or UUID.

With the edit operation, you can change the name or description of an existing snapshot.

With the showvminfo operation, you can view the virtual machine settings that were stored with an existing snapshot.

8.17. VBoxManage closemedium

This commands removes a hard disk, DVD or floppy image from a VirtualBox media registry.[37]

Optionally, you can request that the image be deleted. You will get appropriate diagnostics that the deletion failed, however the image will become unregistered in any case.

8.18. VBoxManage storageattach

This command attaches/modifies/removes a storage medium connected to a storage controller that was previously added with the storagectl command (see the previous section). The syntax is as follows:

VBoxManage storageattach    <uuid|vmname>
                            --storagectl <name>
                            [--port <number>]
                            [--device <number>]
                            [--type dvddrive|hdd|fdd]
                            [--medium none|emptydrive|
                                      <uuid>|<filename>|host:<drive>|iscsi]
                            [--mtype normal|writethrough|immutable|shareable]
                            [--comment <text>]
                            [--setuuid <uuid>]
                            [--setparentuuid <uuid>]
                            [--passthrough on|off]
                            [--tempeject on|off]
                            [--nonrotational on|off]
                            [--discard on|off]
                            [--bandwidthgroup name|none]
                            [--forceunmount]
                            [--server <name>|<ip>]
                            [--target <target>]
                            [--tport <port>]
                            [--lun <lun>]
                            [--encodedlun <lun>]
                            [--username <username>]
                            [--password <password>]
                            [--initiator <initiator>]
                            [--intnet]

A number of parameters are commonly required; the ones at the end of the list are required only for iSCSI targets (see below).

The common parameters are:

uuid|vmname

The VM UUID or VM Name. Mandatory.

--storagectl

Name of the storage controller. Mandatory. The list of the storage controllers currently attached to a VM can be obtained with VBoxManage showvminfo; see Section 8.5, “VBoxManage showvminfo”.

--port

The number of the storage controller's port which is to be modified. Mandatory, unless the storage controller has only a single port.

--device

The number of the port's device which is to be modified. Mandatory, unless the storage controller has only a single device per port.

--type

Define the type of the drive to which the medium is being attached/detached/modified. This argument can only be omitted if the type of medium can be determined from either the medium given with the --medium argument or from a previous medium attachment.

--medium

Specifies what is to be attached. The following values are supported:

  • "none": Any existing device should be removed from the given slot.

  • "emptydrive": For a virtual DVD or floppy drive only, this makes the device slot behaves like a removeable drive into which no media has been inserted.

  • "additions": For a virtual DVD drive only, this attaches the VirtualBox Guest Additions image to the given device slot.

  • If a UUID is specified, it must be the UUID of a storage medium that is already known to VirtualBox (e.g. because it has been attached to another virtual machine). See Section 8.4, “VBoxManage list” for how to list known media. This medium is then attached to the given device slot.

  • If a filename is specified, it must be the full path of an existing disk image (ISO, RAW, VDI, VMDK or other), which is then attached to the given device slot.

  • "host:<drive>": For a virtual DVD or floppy drive only, this connects the given device slot to the specified DVD or floppy drive on the host computer.

  • "iscsi": For virtual hard disks only, this allows for specifying an iSCSI target. In this case, more parameters must be given; see below.

Some of the above changes, in particular for removeable media (floppies and CDs/DVDs), can be effected while a VM is running. Others (device changes or changes in hard disk device slots) require the VM to be powered off.

--mtype

Defines how this medium behaves with respect to snapshots and write operations. See Section 5.4, “Special image write modes” for details.

--comment

Any description that you want to have stored with this medium (optional; for example, for an iSCSI target, "Big storage server downstairs"). This is purely descriptive and not needed for the medium to function correctly.

--setuuid, --setparentuuid

Modifies the UUID or parent UUID of a medium before attaching it to a VM. This is an expert option. Inappropriate use can make the medium unusable or lead to broken VM configurations if any other VM is referring to the same media already. The most frequently used variant is --setuuid "", which assigns a new (random) UUID to an image. This is useful to resolve the duplicate UUID errors if one duplicated an image using file copy utilities.

--passthrough

For a virtual DVD drive only, you can enable DVD writing support (currently experimental; see Section 5.9, “CD/DVD support”).

--tempeject

For a virtual DVD drive only, you can configure the behavior for guest-triggered medium eject. If this is set to "on", the eject has only temporary effects. If the VM is powered off and restarted the originally configured medium will be still in the drive.

--nonrotational

This switch allows to enable the non-rotational flag for virtual hard disks. Some guests (i.e. Windows 7+) treat such disks like SSDs and don't perform disk fragmentation on such media.

--bandwidthgroup

Sets the bandwidth group to use for the given device; see Section 5.8, “Limiting bandwidth for disk images”.

--forceunmount

For a virtual DVD or floppy drive only, this forcibly unmounts the DVD/CD/Floppy or mounts a new DVD/CD/Floppy even if the previous one is locked down by the guest for reading. Again, see Section 5.9, “CD/DVD support” for details.

When "iscsi" is used with the --medium parameter for iSCSI support -- see Section 5.10, “iSCSI servers” --, additional parameters must or can be used:

--server

The host name or IP address of the iSCSI target; required.

--target

Target name string. This is determined by the iSCSI target and used to identify the storage resource; required.

--tport

TCP/IP port number of the iSCSI service on the target (optional).

--lun

Logical Unit Number of the target resource (optional). Often, this value is zero.

--username, --password

Username and password (initiator secret) for target authentication, if required (optional).

Note

Username and password are stored without encryption (i.e. in clear text) in the XML machine configuration file if no settings password is provided. When a settings password was specified the first time, the password is stored encrypted.

--intnet

If specified, connect to the iSCSI target via Internal Networking. This needs further configuration which is described in Section 9.9.3, “Access iSCSI targets via Internal Networking”.

8.19. VBoxManage storagectl

This command attaches/modifies/removes a storage controller. After this, virtual media can be attached to the controller with the storageattach command (see the next section).

The syntax is as follows:

VBoxManage storagectl       <uuid|vmname>
                            --name <name>
                            [--add <ide/sata/scsi/floppy>]
                            [--controller <LsiLogic|LSILogicSAS|BusLogic|
                                          IntelAhci|PIIX3|PIIX4|ICH6|I82078>]
                            [--portcount <1-30>]
                            [--hostiocache on|off]
                            [--bootable on|off]
                            [--remove]

where the parameters mean:

uuid|vmname

The VM UUID or VM Name. Mandatory.

--name

Name of the storage controller. Mandatory.

--add

Define the type of the system bus to which the storage controller must be connected.

--controller

Allows to choose the type of chipset being emulated for the given storage controller.

--portcount

This determines how many ports the SATA controller should support.

--hostiocache

Configures the use of the host I/O cache for all disk images attached to this storage controller. For details, please see Section 5.7, “Host I/O caching”.

--bootable

Selects whether this controller is bootable.

--remove

Removes the storage controller from the VM config.

8.20. VBoxManage bandwidthctl

This command creates/deletes/modifies/shows bandwidth groups of the given virtual machine:

VBoxManage bandwidthctl    <uuid|vmname>
                            add <name> --type disk|network --limit <megabytes per second>[k|m|g|K|M|G] |
                            set <name> --limit <megabytes per second>[k|m|g|K|M|G] |
                            remove <name> |
                            list [--machinereadable]

The following subcommands are available:

  • add, creates a new bandwidth group of given type.

  • set, modifies the limit for an existing bandwidth group.

  • remove, destroys a bandwidth group.

  • list, shows all bandwidth groups defined for the given VM.

The parameters mean:

uuid|vmname

The VM UUID or VM Name. Mandatory.

--name

Name of the bandwidth group. Mandatory.

--type

Type of the bandwidth group. Mandatory. Two types are supported: disk and network. See Section 5.8, “Limiting bandwidth for disk images” or Section 6.10, “Limiting bandwidth for network I/O” for a description of a particular type.

--limit

Specifies the limit for the given group. Can be changed while the VM is running. The default unit is megabytes per second. The unit can be changed by specifying one of the following suffixes: k for kilobits/s, m for megabits/s, g for gigabits/s, K for kilobytes/s, M for megabytes/s, G for gigabytes/s.

Note

The network bandwidth limits apply only to the traffic being sent by virtual machines. The traffic being received by VMs is unlimited.

Note

To remove a bandwidth group it must not be referenced by any disks or adapters in running VM.

8.21. VBoxManage showhdinfo

This command shows information about a virtual hard disk image, notably its size, its size on disk, its type and the virtual machines which use it.

Note

For compatibility with earlier versions of VirtualBox, the "showvdiinfo" command is also supported and mapped internally to the "showhdinfo" command.

The disk image must be specified either by its UUID (if the medium is registered) or by its filename. Registered images can be listed by VBoxManage list hdds (see Section 8.4, “VBoxManage list” for more information). A filename must be specified as valid path, either as an absolute path or as a relative path starting from the current directory.

8.22. VBoxManage createhd

This command creates a new virtual hard disk image. The syntax is as follows:

VBoxManage createhd         --filename <filename>
                            --size <megabytes>
                            [--format VDI|VMDK|VHD] (default: VDI)
                            [--variant Standard,Fixed,Split2G,Stream,ESX]

where the parameters mean:

--filename

Allows to choose a file name. Mandatory.

--size

Allows to define the image capacity, in 1 MiB units. Mandatory.

--format

Allows to choose a file format for the output file different from the file format of the input file.

--variant

Allows to choose a file format variant for the output file. It is a comma-separated list of variant flags. Not all combinations are supported, and specifying inconsistent flags will result in an error message.

Note

For compatibility with earlier versions of VirtualBox, the "createvdi" command is also supported and mapped internally to the "createhd" command.

8.23. VBoxManage modifyhd

With the modifyhd command, you can change the characteristics of a disk image after it has been created:

VBoxManage modifyhd         <uuid|filename>
                            [--type normal|writethrough|immutable|shareable|
                                    readonly|multiattach]
                            [--autoreset on|off]
                            [--compact]
                            [--resize <megabytes>|--resizebyte <bytes>]

Note

Despite the "hd" in the subcommand name, the command works with all disk images, not only hard disks. For compatibility with earlier versions of VirtualBox, the "modifyvdi" command is also supported and mapped internally to the "modifyhd" command.

The disk image to modify must be specified either by its UUID (if the medium is registered) or by its filename. Registered images can be listed by VBoxManage list hdds (see Section 8.4, “VBoxManage list” for more information). A filename must be specified as valid path, either as an absolute path or as a relative path starting from the current directory.

The following options are available:

  • With the --type argument, you can change the type of an existing image between the normal, immutable, write-through and other modes; see Section 5.4, “Special image write modes” for details.

  • For immutable (differencing) hard disks only, the --autoreset on|off option determines whether the disk is automatically reset on every VM startup (again, see Section 5.4, “Special image write modes”). The default is "on".

  • With the --compact option, can be used to compact disk images, i.e. remove blocks that only contains zeroes. This will shrink a dynamically allocated image again; it will reduce the physical size of the image without affecting the logical size of the virtual disk. Compaction works both for base images and for diff images created as part of a snapshot.

    For this operation to be effective, it is required that free space in the guest system first be zeroed out using a suitable software tool. For Windows guests, you can use the sdelete tool provided by Microsoft. Execute sdelete -z in the guest to zero the free disk space before compressing the virtual disk image. For Linux, use the zerofree utility which supports ext2/ext3 filesystems. For Mac OS X guests, use the Erase Free Space feature of the built-in Disk Utility. Use Zero Out Data there.

    Please note that compacting is currently only available for VDI images. A similar effect can be achieved by zeroing out free blocks and then cloning the disk to any other dynamically allocated format. You can use this workaround until compacting is also supported for disk formats other than VDI.

  • The --resize x option (where x is the desired new total space in megabytes) allows you to change the capacity of an existing image; this adjusts the logical size of a virtual disk without affecting the physical size much.[38] This currently works only for VDI and VHD formats, and only for the dynamically allocated variants, and can only be used to expand (not shrink) the capacity. For example, if you originally created a 10G disk which is now full, you can use the --resize 15360 command to change the capacity to 15G (15,360MB) without having to create a new image and copy all data from within a virtual machine. Note however that this only changes the drive capacity; you will typically next need to use a partition management tool inside the guest to adjust the main partition to fill the drive.

    The --resizebyte x option does almost the same thing, except that x is expressed in bytes instead of megabytes.

8.24. VBoxManage clonehd

This command duplicates a registered virtual hard disk image to a new image file with a new unique identifier (UUID). The new image can be transferred to another host system or imported into VirtualBox again using the Virtual Media Manager; see Section 5.3, “The Virtual Media Manager” and Section 5.6, “Cloning disk images”. The syntax is as follows:

VBoxManage clonehd         <uuid|inutfile> <uuid|outputfile>
                           [--format VDI|VMDK|VHD|RAW|<other>]
                           [--variant Standard,Fixed,Split2G,Stream,ESX]
                           [--existing]

The disk image to clone as well as the target image must be described either by its UUIDs (if the mediums are registered) or by its filename. Registered images can be listed by VBoxManage list hdds (see Section 8.4, “VBoxManage list” for more information). A filename must be specified as valid path, either as an absolute path or as a relative path starting from the current directory.

The following options are available:

--format

Allow to choose a file format for the output file different from the file format of the input file.

--variant

Allow to choose a file format variant for the output file. It is a comma-separated list of variant flags. Not all combinations are supported, and specifying inconsistent flags will result in an error message.

--existing

Perform the clone operation to an already existing destination medium. Only the portion of the source medium which fits into the destination medium is copied. This means if the destination medium is smaller than the source only a part of it is copied, and if the destination medium is larger than the source the remaining part of the destination medium is unchanged.

Note

For compatibility with earlier versions of VirtualBox, the "clonevdi" command is also supported and mapped internally to the "clonehd" command.

8.25. VBoxManage convertfromraw

This command converts a raw disk image to a VirtualBox Disk Image (VDI) file. The syntax is as follows:

VBoxManage convertfromraw   <filename> <outputfile>
                            [--format VDI|VMDK|VHD]
                            [--variant Standard,Fixed,Split2G,Stream,ESX]
                            [--uuid <uuid>]
VBoxManage convertfromraw   stdin <outputfile> <bytes>
                            [--format VDI|VMDK|VHD]
                            [--variant Standard,Fixed,Split2G,Stream,ESX]
                            [--uuid <uuid>]

where the parameters mean:

--bytes

The size of the image file, in bytes, provided through stdin.

--format

Select the disk image format to create. Default is VDI.

--variant

Allow to choose a file format variant for the output file. It is a comma-separated list of variant flags. Not all combinations are supported, and specifying inconsistent flags will result in an error message.

--uuid

Allow to specifiy the UUID of the output file.

The second form forces VBoxManage to read the content for the disk image from standard input (useful for using that command in a pipe).

Note

For compatibility with earlier versions of VirtualBox, the "convertdd" command is also supported and mapped internally to the "convertfromraw" command.

8.26. VBoxManage getextradata/setextradata

These commands let you attach and retrieve string data to a virtual machine or to a VirtualBox configuration (by specifying global instead of a virtual machine name). You must specify a key (as a text string) to associate the data with, which you can later use to retrieve it. For example:

VBoxManage setextradata Fedora5 installdate 2006.01.01
VBoxManage setextradata SUSE10 installdate 2006.02.02

would associate the string "2006.01.01" with the key installdate for the virtual machine Fedora5, and "2006.02.02" on the machine SUSE10. You could retrieve the information as follows:

VBoxManage getextradata Fedora5 installdate

which would return

VirtualBox Command Line Management Interface Version 4.3.20
(C) 2005-2014 Oracle Corporation
All rights reserved.

Value: 2006.01.01

To remove a key, the setextradata command must be run without specifying data (only the key), for example:

VBoxManage setextradata Fedora5 installdate

8.27. VBoxManage setproperty

This command is used to change global settings which affect the entire VirtualBox installation. Some of these correspond to the settings in the "Global settings" dialog in the graphical user interface. The following properties are available:

machinefolder

This specifies the default folder in which virtual machine definitions are kept; see Section 10.1, “Where VirtualBox stores its files” for details.

hwvirtexclusive
vrdeauthlibrary

This specifies which library to use when "external" authentication has been selected for a particular virtual machine; see Section 7.1.5, “RDP authentication” for details.

websrvauthlibrary

This specifies which library the web service uses to authenticate users. For details about the VirtualBox web service, please refer to the separate VirtualBox SDK reference (see Chapter 11, VirtualBox programming interfaces).

vrdeextpack

This specifies which library implements the VirtualBox Remote Desktop Extension.

loghistorycount

This selects how many rotated (old) VM logs are kept.

autostartdbpath

This selects the path to the autostart database. See Section 9.23, “Starting virtual machines during system boot”.

defaultfrontend

This selects the global default VM frontend setting. See Section 8.12, “VBoxManage startvm”.

8.28. VBoxManage usbfilter add/modify/remove

The usbfilter commands are used for working with USB filters in virtual machines, or global filters which affect the whole VirtualBox setup. Global filters are applied before machine-specific filters, and may be used to prevent devices from being captured by any virtual machine. Global filters are always applied in a particular order, and only the first filter which fits a device is applied. So for example, if the first global filter says to hold (make available) a particular Kingston memory stick device and the second to ignore all Kingston devices, that memory stick will be available to any machine with an appropriate filter, but no other Kingston device will.

When creating a USB filter using usbfilter add, you must supply three or four mandatory parameters. The index specifies the position in the list at which the filter should be placed. If there is already a filter at that position, then it and the following ones will be shifted back one place. Otherwise the new filter will be added onto the end of the list. The target parameter selects the virtual machine that the filter should be attached to or use "global" to apply it to all virtual machines. name is a name for the new filter and for global filters, action says whether to allow machines access to devices that fit the filter description ("hold") or not to give them access ("ignore"). In addition, you should specify parameters to filter by. You can find the parameters for devices attached to your system using VBoxManage list usbhost. Finally, you can specify whether the filter should be active, and for local filters, whether they are for local devices, remote (over an RDP connection) or either.

When you modify a USB filter using usbfilter modify, you must specify the filter by index (see the output of VBoxManage list usbfilters to find global filter indexes and that of VBoxManage showvminfo to find indexes for individual machines) and by target, which is either a virtual machine or "global". The properties which can be changed are the same as for usbfilter add. To remove a filter, use usbfilter remove and specify the index and the target.

8.29. VBoxManage sharedfolder add/remove

This command allows you to share folders on the host computer with guest operating systems. For this, the guest systems must have a version of the VirtualBox Guest Additions installed which supports this functionality.

Shared folders are described in detail in Section 4.3, “Shared folders”.

8.30. VBoxManage guestproperty

The "guestproperty" commands allow you to get or set properties of a running virtual machine. Please see Section 4.6, “Guest properties” for an introduction. As explained there, guest properties are arbitrary key/value string pairs which can be written to and read from by either the guest or the host, so they can be used as a low-volume communication channel for strings, provided that a guest is running and has the Guest Additions installed. In addition, a number of values whose keys begin with "/VirtualBox/" are automatically set and maintained by the Guest Additions.

The following subcommands are available (where <vm>, in each case, can either be a VM name or a VM UUID, as with the other VBoxManage commands):

  • enumerate <vm> [--patterns <pattern>]: This lists all the guest properties that are available for the given VM, including the value. This list will be very limited if the guest's service process cannot be contacted, e.g. because the VM is not running or the Guest Additions are not installed.

    If --patterns <pattern> is specified, it acts as a filter to only list properties that match the given pattern. The pattern can contain the following wildcard characters:

    • * (asterisk): represents any number of characters; for example, "/VirtualBox*" would match all properties beginning with "/VirtualBox".

    • ? (question mark): represents a single arbitrary character; for example, "fo?" would match both "foo" and "for".

    • | (pipe symbol): can be used to specify multiple alternative patterns; for example, "s*|t*" would match anything starting with either "s" or "t".

  • get <vm>: This retrieves the value of a single property only. If the property cannot be found (e.g. because the guest is not running), this will print

    No value set!
  • set <vm> <property> [<value> [--flags <flags>]]: This allows you to set a guest property by specifying the key and value. If <value> is omitted, the property is deleted. With --flags you can optionally specify additional behavior (you can combine several by separating them with commas):

    • TRANSIENT: the value will not be stored with the VM data when the VM exits;

    • TRANSRESET: the value will be deleted as soon as the VM restarts and/or exits;

    • RDONLYGUEST: the value can only be changed by the host, but the guest can only read it;

    • RDONLYHOST: reversely, the value can only be changed by the guest, but the host can only read it;

    • READONLY: a combination of the two, the value cannot be changed at all.

  • wait <vm> <pattern> --timeout <timeout>: This waits for a particular value described by "pattern" to change or to be deleted or created. The pattern rules are the same as for the "enumerate" subcommand above.

  • delete <vm> <property> : Deletes a formerly set guest property.

8.31. VBoxManage guestcontrol

The "guestcontrol" commands allow you to control certain things inside a guest from the host. Please see Section 4.7, “Guest control” for an introduction.

Generally, the syntax is as follows:

VBoxManage guestcontrol <uuid|vmname> <command>

The following subcommands are available (where <uuid|vmname>, in each case, can either be a VM name or a VM UUID, as with the other VBoxManage commands):

  • execute, which allows for executing a program/script (process) which already is installed and runnable on the guest. This command only works while a VM is up and running and has the following syntax:

    VBoxManage guestcontrol <uuid|vmname> exec[ute]
                --image <path to program> --username <name>
                [--passwordfile <file> | --password <password>]
                [--environment "<NAME>=<VALUE> [<NAME>=<VALUE>]"]
                [--verbose] [--timeout <msec>]
                [--wait-exit] [--wait-stdout] [--wait-stderr]
                [--dos2unix] [--unix2dos]
                -- [[<argument1>] ... [<argumentN>]]

    where the parameters mean:

    uuid|vmname

    The VM UUID or VM name. Mandatory.

    --image "<path to program>"

    Absolute path and process name of process to execute in the guest, e.g. C:\Windows\System32\calc.exe

    --username <name>

    Name of the user the process should run under. This user must exist on the guest OS.

    --passwordfile <file>

    Password of the user account specified to be read from the given file. If not given, an empty password is assumed.

    --password <password>

    Password of the user account specified with --username. If not given, an empty password is assumed.

    --dos2unix
    --environment "<NAME>=<VALUE>"

    One or more environment variables to be set or unset.

    By default, the new process in the guest will be created with the standard environment of the guest OS. This option allows for modifying that environment. To set/modify a variable, a pair of NAME=VALUE must be specified; to unset a certain variable, the name with no value must set, e.g. NAME=.

    Arguments containing spaces must be enclosed in quotation marks. More than one --environment at a time can be specified to keep the command line tidy.

    --timeout <msec>

    Value (in milliseconds) that specifies the time how long the started process is allowed to run and how long VBoxManage waits for getting output from that process. If no timeout is specified, VBoxManage will wait forever until the started process ends or an error occured.

    --unix2dos
    --verbose

    Tells VBoxManage to be more verbose.

    --wait-exit

    Waits until the process ends and outputs its exit code along with the exit reason/flags.

    --wait-stdout

    Waits until the process ends and outputs its exit code along with the exit reason/flags. While waiting VBoxManage retrieves the process output collected from stdout.

    --wait-stderr

    Waits until the process ends and outputs its exit code along with the exit reason/flags. While waiting VBoxManage retrieves the process output collected from stderr.

    [-- [<argument1s>] ... [<argumentNs>]]

    One or more arguments to pass to the process being executed.

    Arguments containing spaces must be enclosed in quotation marks.

    Note

    On Windows there are certain limitations for graphical applications; please see Chapter 14, Known limitations for more information.

    Examples:

    VBoxManage --nologo guestcontrol "My VM" execute --image "/bin/ls"
              --username foo --passwordfile bar.txt --wait-exit --wait-stdout -- -l /usr

    VBoxManage --nologo guestcontrol "My VM" execute --image "c:\\windows\\system32\\ipconfig.exe"
              --username foo --passwordfile bar.txt --wait-exit --wait-stdout

    Note that the double backslashes in the second example are only required on Unix hosts.

    Note

    For certain commands a user name of an existing user account on the guest must be specified; anonymous executions are not supported for security reasons. A user account password, however, is optional and depends on the guest's OS security policy or rules. If no password is specified for a given user name, an empty password will be used. On certain OSes like Windows the security policy may needs to be adjusted in order to allow user accounts with an empty password set. Also, global domain rules might apply and therefore cannot be changed.

    Starting at VirtualBox 4.1.2 guest process execution by default is limited to serve up to 5 guest processes at a time. If a new guest process gets started which would exceed this limit, the oldest not running guest process will be discarded in order to be able to run that new process. Also, retrieving output from this old guest process will not be possible anymore then. If all 5 guest processes are still active and running, starting a new guest process will result in an appropriate error message.

    To raise or lower the guest process execution limit, either the guest property /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/VBoxService/--control-procs-max-kept or VBoxService' command line by specifying --control-procs-max-kept needs to be modified. A restart of the guest OS is required afterwards. To serve unlimited guest processes, a value of 0 needs to be set (not recommended).

  • copyto, which allows copying files from the host to the guest (only with installed Guest Additions 4.0 and later).

    VBoxManage guestcontrol <uuid|vmname> copyto|cp
                <guest source> <host dest> --username <name>
                [--passwordfile <file> | --password <password>]
                [--dryrun] [--follow] [--recursive] [--verbose]

    where the parameters mean:

    uuid|vmname

    The VM UUID or VM name. Mandatory.

    source on host

    Absolute path of source file(s) on host to copy over to the guest, e.g. C:\Windows\System32\calc.exe. This also can be a wildcard expression, e.g. C:\Windows\System32\*.dll

    destination on guest

    Absolute destination path on the guest, e.g. C:\Temp

    --username <name>

    Name of the user the copy process should run under. This user must exist on the guest OS.

    --passwordfile <file>

    Password of the user account specified to be read from the given file. If not given, an empty password is assumed.

    --password <password>

    Password of the user account specified with --username. If not given, an empty password is assumed.

    --dryrun

    Tells VBoxManage to only perform a dry run instead of really copying files to the guest.

    --follow

    Enables following symlinks on the host's source.

    --recursive

    Recursively copies files/directories of the specified source.

    --verbose

    Tells VBoxManage to be more verbose.

    --flags <flags>

    Additional flags to set. This is not used at the moment.

  • copyfrom, which allows copying files from the guest to the host (only with installed Guest Additions 4.0 and later). It has the same parameters as copyto above.

  • createdirectory, which allows copying files from the host to the guest (only with installed Guest Additions 4.0 and later).

    VBoxManage guestcontrol <uuid|vmname> createdir[ectory]|mkdir|md
                <guest directory>... --username <name>
                [--passwordfile <file> | --password <password>]
                [--parents] [--mode <mode>] [--verbose]

    where the parameters mean:

    uuid|vmname

    The VM UUID or VM name. Mandatory.

    directory to create on guest

    Absolute path of directory/directories to create on guest, e.g. D:\Foo\Bar. Parent directories need to exist (e.g. in this example D:\Foo) when switch --parents is omitted. The specified user must have appropriate rights to create the specified directory.

    --username <name>

    Name of the user the copy process should run under. This user must exist on the guest OS.

    --passwordfile <file>

    Password of the user account specified to be read from the given file. If not given, an empty password is assumed.

    --password <password>

    Password of the user account specified with --username. If not given, an empty password is assumed.

    --parents

    Also creates not yet existing parent directories of the specified directory, e.g. if the directory D:\Foo of D:\Foo\Bar does not exist yet it will be created. Without specifying --parent the action would have failed.

    --mode <mode>

    Sets the permission mode of the specified directory. Only octal modes (e.g. 0755) are supported right now.

    --verbose

    Tells VBoxManage to be more verbose.

  • removedirectory, which allows deletion of guest directories (only with installed Guest Additions 4.3.2 and later).

    VBoxManage guestcontrol <uuid|vmname> removedir[ectory]|rmdir
                <guest directory>... --username <name>
                [--passwordfile <file> | --password <password>]
                [--recursive|-R|-r] [--verbose]

    where the parameters mean:

    uuid|vmname

    The VM UUID or VM name. Mandatory.

    directory to remove on guest

    Absolute path of directory/directories to remove on guest, e.g. D:\Foo\Bar. The specified user must have appropriate rights to delete the specified guest directories.

    --username <name>

    Name of the user the copy process should run under. This user must exist on the guest OS.

    --passwordfile <file>

    Password of the user account specified to be read from the given file. If not given, an empty password is assumed.

    --password <password>

    Password of the user account specified with --username. If not given, an empty password is assumed.

    --recursive

    Remove directories and their contents recursively.

    --verbose

    Tells VBoxManage to be more verbose.

  • removefile, which allows deletion of guest files (only with installed Guest Additions 4.3.2 and later).

    VBoxManage guestcontrol <uuid|vmname> removefile|rm
                <guest file>... --username <name>
                [--passwordfile <file> | --password <password>]
                [--verbose]

    where the parameters mean:

    uuid|vmname

    The VM UUID or VM name. Mandatory.

    file to remove on guest

    Absolute path of a file/files to remove on guest, e.g. D:\Foo\Bar\text.txt. The specified user must have appropriate rights to delete the specified guest files.

    --username <name>

    Name of the user the copy process should run under. This user must exist on the guest OS.

    --passwordfile <file>

    Password of the user account specified to be read from the given file. If not given, an empty password is assumed.

    --password <password>

    Password of the user account specified with --username. If not given, an empty password is assumed.

    --verbose

    Tells VBoxManage to be more verbose.

  • ren[ame]|mv, which allows renaming of guest files and/or directories (only with installed Guest Additions 4.3.2 and later).

    VBoxManage guestcontrol <uuid|vmname> ren[ame]|mv
                <source>... <dest> --username <name>
                [--passwordfile <file> | --password <password>]
                [--verbose]

    where the parameters mean:

    uuid|vmname

    The VM UUID or VM name. Mandatory.

    source

    Absolute path of one or more source(s) to move to destination. If more than one source is specified, destination must be an existing directory on the guest. The specified user must have appropriate rights to access source and destination files and directories.

    dest

    Absolute path of the destination to move the source(s) to. This can be a directory or a file, depending if one or more sources have been specified. The specified user must have appropriate rights to access the destination file and directory.

    --username <name>

    Name of the user the copy process should run under. This user must exist on the guest OS.

    --passwordfile <file>

    Password of the user account specified to be read from the given file. If not given, an empty password is assumed.

    --password <password>

    Password of the user account specified with --username. If not given, an empty password is assumed.

    --verbose

    Tells VBoxManage to be more verbose.

  • createtemporary, which allows copying files from the host to the guest (only with installed Guest Additions 4.2 and later).

    VBoxManage guestcontrol <uuid|vmname> createtemp[orary]|mktemp
                <template> --username <name>
                [--passwordfile <file> | --password <password>]
                [--directory] [--secure] [--tmpdir <directory>]
                [--domain <domain>] [--mode <mode>] [--verbose]

    where the parameters mean:

    uuid|vmname

    The VM UUID or VM name. Mandatory.

    template

    A file name without a path and with at least three consecutive 'X' characters or ending in 'X'

    --username <name>

    Name of the user the copy process should run under. This user must exist on the guest OS.

    --passwordfile <file>

    Password of the user account specified to be read from the given file. If not given, an empty password is assumed.

    --password <password>

    Password of the user account specified with --username. If not given, an empty password is assumed.

    --directory

    Create a temporary directory instead of a file.

    --secure

    Secure creation. The file mode is fixed to 0755. And the operation will fail if it cannot performed securely.

    --tmpdir <directory>

    Directory where the file / directory is created. If not specified, the platform-specific temp directory is used.

    --mode <mode>

    Sets the permission mode of the specified directory. Only octal modes (e.g. 0755) are supported right now.

    --verbose

    Tells VBoxManage to be more verbose.

  • list, which lists various guest control information such as open guest sessions, guest processes and guest files.

    VBoxManage guestcontrol <uuid|vmname> list
                <all|sessions|processes|files> [--verbose]

    where the parameters mean:

    uuid|vmname

    The VM UUID or VM name. Mandatory.

    all|sessions|processes|files

    Whether to list guest sessions, guest processes, guest files or all information available. Mandatory.

    --verbose

    Tells VBoxManage to be more verbose.

  • process kill, which terminates specific guest processes of a guest session, based on either the session's ID or the session's name.

    VBoxManage guestcontrol <uuid|vmname> process kill
                --session-id <ID>
              | --session-name <name or pattern>
              [--verbose]
              <PID> ... <PID n>

    where the parameters mean:

    uuid|vmname

    The VM UUID or VM name. Mandatory.

    --session-id

    Specifies the guest session to use by its ID.

    --session-name

    Specifies the guest session to use by its name. Multiple sessions can be closed when specifying * or ? wildcards.

    --verbose

    Tells VBoxManage to be more verbose.

    <PID> ... <PID n>

    List of process identifiers (PIDs) to terminate.

  • [p[s]]kill, which terminates specific guest processes of a guest session, based on either the session's ID or the session's name.

    VBoxManage guestcontrol <uuid|vmname> process kill
                --session-id <ID>
              | --session-name <name or pattern>
              [--verbose]
              <PID> ... <PID n>

    where the parameters mean:

    uuid|vmname

    The VM UUID or VM name. Mandatory.

    --session-id

    Specifies the guest session to use by its ID.

    --session-name

    Specifies the guest session to use by its name. Multiple sessions can be closed when specifying * or ? wildcards.

    --verbose

    Tells VBoxManage to be more verbose.

    <PID> ... <PID n>

    List of process identifiers (PIDs) to terminate.

  • session close, which closes specific guest sessions, based on either the session's ID or the session's name.

    VBoxManage guestcontrol <uuid|vmname> session close
                --session-id <ID>
              | --session-name <name or pattern>
              | --all
              [--verbose]

    where the parameters mean:

    uuid|vmname

    The VM UUID or VM name. Mandatory.

    --session-id

    Close a guest session specified by its ID.

    --session-name

    Close a guest session specified by its name. Multiple sessions can be closed when specifying * or ? wildcards.

    --all

    Close all guest sessions.

    --verbose

    Tells VBoxManage to be more verbose.

  • stat, which displays file or file system status on the guest.

    VBoxManage guestcontrol <uuid|vmname> stat
                <file>... --username <name>
                [--passwordfile <file> | --password <password>]
                [--verbose]

    where the parameters mean:

    uuid|vmname

    The VM UUID or VM name. Mandatory.

    file element(s) to check on guest

    Absolute path of directory/directories to check on guest, e.g. /home/foo/a.out. The specified user must have appropriate rights to access the given file element(s).

    --username <name>

    Name of the user the copy process should run under. This user must exist on the guest OS.

    --passwordfile <file>

    Password of the user account specified to be read from the given file. If not given, an empty password is assumed.

    --password <password>

    Password of the user account specified with --username. If not given, an empty password is assumed.

    --verbose

    Tells VBoxManage to be more verbose.

  • updateadditions, which allows for updating an already installed Guest Additions version on the guest (only already installed Guest Additions 4.0 and later).

    VBoxManage guestcontrol <uuid|vmname> updateadditions
                [--source "<guest additions .ISO file to use>"] [--verbose]
                [--wait-start] [-- [<argument1>] ... [<argumentN>]]

    where the parameters mean:

    uuid|vmname

    The VM UUID or VM name. Mandatory.

    --source "<guest additions .ISO file to use>"

    Full path to an alternative VirtualBox Guest Additions .ISO file to use for the Guest Additions update.

    --verbose

    Tells VBoxManage to be more verbose.

    --wait-start

    Starts the regular updating process and waits until the actual Guest Additions update inside the guest was started. This can be necessary due to needed interaction with the guest OS during the installation phase.

    When omitting this flag VBoxManage will wait for the whole Guest Additions update to complete.

    [-- [<argument1s>] ... [<argumentNs>]]

    Optional command line arguments to use for the Guest Additions installer. Useful for retrofitting features which weren't installed before on the guest.

    Arguments containing spaces must be enclosed in quotation marks.

  • watch, which prints current guest control activity.

    VBoxManage guestcontrol <uuid|vmname> watch
              [--verbose]

    where the parameters mean:

    uuid|vmname

    The VM UUID or VM name. Mandatory.

    --verbose

    Tells VBoxManage to be more verbose.

8.32. VBoxManage debugvm

The "debugvm" commands are for experts who want to tinker with the exact details of virtual machine execution. Like the VM debugger described in Section 12.1.3, “The built-in VM debugger”, these commands are only useful if you are very familiar with the details of the PC architecture and how to debug software.

The subcommands of "debugvm" all operate on a running virtual machine. The following are available:

  • With dumpguestcore --filename <name>, you can create a system dump of the running VM, which will be written into the given file. This file will have the standard ELF core format (with custom sections); see Section 12.1.4, “VM core format”.

    This corresponds to the writecore command in the debugger.

  • The info command is used to display info items relating to the VMM, device emulations and associated drivers. This command takes one or two arguments: the name of the info item, optionally followed by a string containing arguments specific to the info item. The help info item provides a listning of the available items and hints about any optional arguments.

    This corresponds to the info command in the debugger.

  • The injectnmi command causes a non-maskable interrupt (NMI) in the guest, which might be useful for certain debugging scenarios. What happens exactly is dependent on the guest operating system, but an NMI can crash the whole guest operating system. Do not use unless you know what you're doing.

  • The osdetect command makes the VMM's debugger facility (re-)detection the guest operation system.

    This corresponds to the detect command in the debugger.

  • The osinfo command is used to display info about the operating system (OS) detected by the VMM's debugger facility.

  • The getregisters command is used to display CPU and device registers. The command takes a list of registers, each having one of the following forms:

    • register-set.register-name.sub-field
    • register-set.register-name
    • cpu-register-name.sub-field
    • cpu-register-name
    • all

    The all form will cause all registers to be shown (no sub-fields). The registers names are case-insensitive. When requesting a CPU register the register set can be omitted, it will be selected using the value of the --cpu option (defaulting to 0).

  • The setregisters command is used to change CPU and device registers. The command takes a list of register assignments, each having one of the following forms:

    • register-set.register-name.sub-field=value
    • register-set.register-name=value
    • cpu-register-name.sub-field=value
    • cpu-register-name=value

    The value format should be in the same style as what getregisters displays, with the exception that both octal and decimal can be used instead of hexadecimal. The register naming and the default CPU register set are handled the same way as with the getregisters command.

  • The statistics command can be used to display VMM statistics on the command line. The --reset option will reset statistics. The affected statistics can be filtered with the --pattern option, which accepts DOS/NT-style wildcards (? and *).

8.33. VBoxManage metrics

This command supports monitoring the usage of system resources. Resources are represented by various metrics associated with the host system or a particular VM. For example, the host system has a CPU/Load/User metric that shows the percentage of time CPUs spend executing in user mode over a specific sampling period.

Metric data is collected and retained internally; it may be retrieved at any time with the VBoxManage metrics query subcommand. The data is available as long as the background VBoxSVC process is alive. That process terminates shortly after all VMs and frontends have been closed.

By default no metrics are collected at all. Metrics collection does not start until VBoxManage metrics setup is invoked with a proper sampling interval and the number of metrics to be retained. The interval is measured in seconds. For example, to enable collecting the host processor and memory usage metrics every second and keeping the 5 most current samples, the following command can be used:

VBoxManage metrics setup --period 1 --samples 5 host CPU/Load,RAM/Usage

Metric collection can only be enabled for started VMs. Collected data and collection settings for a particular VM will disappear as soon as it shuts down. Use VBoxManage metrics list subcommand to see which metrics are currently available. You can also use --list option with any subcommand that modifies metric settings to find out which metrics were affected.

Note that the VBoxManage metrics setup subcommand discards all samples that may have been previously collected for the specified set of objects and metrics.

To enable or disable metrics collection without discarding the data VBoxManage metrics enable and VBoxManage metrics disable subcommands can be used. Note that these subcommands expect metrics, not submetrics, like CPU/Load or RAM/Usage as parameters. In other words enabling CPU/Load/User while disabling CPU/Load/Kernel is not supported.

The host and VMs have different sets of associated metrics. Available metrics can be listed with VBoxManage metrics list subcommand.

A complete metric name may include an aggregate function. The name has the following form: Category/Metric[/SubMetric][:aggregate]. For example, RAM/Usage/Free:min stands for the minimum amount of available memory over all retained data if applied to the host object.

Subcommands may apply to all objects and metrics or can be limited to one object or/and a list of metrics. If no objects or metrics are given in the parameters, the subcommands will apply to all available metrics of all objects. You may use an asterisk ("*") to explicitly specify that the command should be applied to all objects or metrics. Use "host" as the object name to limit the scope of the command to host-related metrics. To limit the scope to a subset of metrics, use a metric list with names separated by commas.

For example, to query metric data on the CPU time spent in user and kernel modes by the virtual machine named "test", you can use the following command:

VBoxManage metrics query test CPU/Load/User,CPU/Load/Kernel

The following list summarizes the available subcommands:

list

This subcommand shows the parameters of the currently existing metrics. Note that VM-specific metrics are only available when a particular VM is running.

setup

This subcommand sets the interval between taking two samples of metric data and the number of samples retained internally. The retained data is available for displaying with the query subcommand. The --list option shows which metrics have been modified as the result of the command execution.

enable

This subcommand "resumes" data collection after it has been stopped with disable subcommand. Note that specifying submetrics as parameters will not enable underlying metrics. Use --list to find out if the command did what was expected.

disable

This subcommand "suspends" data collection without affecting collection parameters or collected data. Note that specifying submetrics as parameters will not disable underlying metrics. Use --list to find out if the command did what was expected.

query

This subcommand retrieves and displays the currently retained metric data.

Note

The query subcommand does not remove or "flush" retained data. If you query often enough you will see how old samples are gradually being "phased out" by new samples.

collect

This subcommand sets the interval between taking two samples of metric data and the number of samples retained internally. The collected data is displayed periodically until Ctrl-C is pressed unless the --detach option is specified. With the --detach option, this subcommand operates the same way as setup does. The --list option shows which metrics match the specified filter.

8.34. VBoxManage hostonlyif

With "hostonlyif" you can change the IP configuration of a host-only network interface. For a description of host-only networking, please refer to Section 6.7, “Host-only networking”. Each host-only interface is identified by a name and can either use the internal DHCP server or a manual IP configuration (both IP4 and IP6).

8.35. VBoxManage dhcpserver

The "dhcpserver" commands allow you to control the DHCP server that is built into VirtualBox. You may find this useful when using internal or host-only networking. (Theoretically, you can enable it for a bridged network as well, but that will likely cause conflicts with other DHCP servers in your physical network.)

Use the following command line options:

  • If you use internal networking for a virtual network adapter of a virtual machine, use VBoxManage dhcpserver add --netname <network_name>, where <network_name> is the same network name you used with VBoxManage modifyvm <vmname> --intnet<X> <network_name>.

  • If you use host-only networking for a virtual network adapter of a virtual machine, use VBoxManage dhcpserver add --ifname <hostonly_if_name> instead, where <hostonly_if_name> is the same host-only interface name you used with VBoxManage modifyvm <vmname> --hostonlyadapter<X> <hostonly_if_name>.

    Alternatively, you can also use the --netname option as with internal networks if you know the host-only network's name; you can see the names with VBoxManage list hostonlyifs (see Section 8.4, “VBoxManage list” above).

The following additional parameters are required when first adding a DHCP server:

  • With --ip, specify the IP address of the DHCP server itself.

  • With --netmask, specify the netmask of the network.

  • With --lowerip and --upperip, you can specify the lowest and highest IP address, respectively, that the DHCP server will hand out to clients.

Finally, you must specify --enable or the DHCP server will be created in the disabled state, doing nothing.

After this, VirtualBox will automatically start the DHCP server for given internal or host-only network as soon as the first virtual machine which uses that network is started.

Reversely, use VBoxManage dhcpserver remove with the given --netname <network_name> or --ifname <hostonly_if_name> to remove the DHCP server again for the given internal or host-only network.

To modify the settings of a DHCP server created earlier with VBoxManage dhcpserver add, you can use VBoxManage dhcpserver modify for a given network or host-only interface name.

8.36. VBoxManage extpack

The "extpack" command allows you to add or remove VirtualBox extension packs, as described in Section 1.5, “Installing VirtualBox and extension packs”.

  • To add a new extension pack, use VBoxManage extpack install <.vbox-extpack>. This command will fail if an older version of the same extension pack is already installed. The optional --replace parameter can be used to uninstall the old package before the new package is installed.

  • To remove a previously installed extension pack, use VBoxManage extpack uninstall <name>. You can use VBoxManage list extpacks to show the names of the extension packs which are currently installed; please see Section 8.4, “VBoxManage list” also. The optional --force parameter can be used to override the refusal of an extension pack to be uninstalled.

  • The VBoxManage extpack cleanup command can be used to remove temporary files and directories that may have been left behind if a previous install or uninstall command failed.

The following commands show examples how to list extension packs and remove one:

$ VBoxManage list extpacks
Extension Packs: 1
Pack no. 0:   Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack
Version:      4.1.12
Revision:     77218
Edition:
Description:  USB 2.0 Host Controller, VirtualBox RDP, PXE ROM with E1000 support.
VRDE Module:  VBoxVRDP
Usable:       true
Why unusable:
$ VBoxManage extpack uninstall "Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack"
0%...10%...20%...30%...40%...50%...60%...70%...80%...90%...100%
Successfully uninstalled "Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack".


[37] Before VirtualBox 4.0, it was necessary to call VBoxManage openmedium before a medium could be attached to a virtual machine; that call "registered" the medium with the global VirtualBox media registry. With VirtualBox 4.0 this is no longer necessary; media are added to media registries automatically. The "closemedium" call has been retained, however, to allow for explicitly removing a medium from a registry.

[38] Image resizing was added with VirtualBox 4.0.