Cross-Platform Recovery Part 3: Exporting to VMware Workstation and VirtualBox

The two previous blog posts in this series have explored the Cross-Platform Recovery feature of NAKIVO Backup & Replication. The first part explained how the feature works and when it can be used, then walked through configuration of the feature and virtual environment for the purposes of running a (former) VMware VM on a Hyper-V host. The second part walked through using Cross-Platform Recovery to export a virtual disk from a Hyper-V backup to a virtual disk format used by VMware, including instructions for the configuration of the ESXi host for VM recovery. In this third and final post, you can learn how to use a virtual disk exported to VMDK format from a Hyper-V backup (as was explained in the second part of the blog post) for recovery of a VM on VMware Workstation or Oracle VirtualBox.

VMware Workstation is a type 2 hypervisor that can be installed on computers with Linux or Windows operating systems (OS). With VMware Workstation, you can run multiple VMs with different guest OS and network connection types on your personal computer (such as a laptop) from anywhere. This product is primarily useful because of the element of portability that it offers. Suppose, for example, you were on a business trip and a high-speed connection to the vSphere environment with the ESXi hosts in your office was not possible. You could still use VMware Workstation for remote connection to the VMs residing on the ESXi hosts via network.

VirtualBox is a free type 2 hypervisor produced by Oracle. VirtualBox is a multi-platform product that can be installed on Linux, Windows, Solaris, or Mac OS. VirtualBox can be used as an analog of VMware Workstation. The native virtual disk format for VirtualBox is VDI, but the product can also use VMDK (the format used by VMware) or VHD (the format used by Microsoft in Hyper-V) virtual disks for VMs. You can use this feature to recover VMs with virtual disks exported by NAKIVO Backup & Replication from Hyper-V or VMware backup.

Export of a Virtual Disk from Hyper-V Backup to VMware Workstation

Let’s consider how to use an already-exported virtual disk (for the purposes of this walkthrough, a VMDK virtual disk with Ubuntu Linux) for recovery of a VM in VMware Workstation. If you have forgotten how to export a virtual disk to VMDK format with NAKIVO Backup & Replication’s Cross-Platform Recovery feature, you can refresh your knowledge by reviewing the previous blog post in this series.

Recall that there are two files of a VMDK virtual disk created with Cross-Platform Recovery. In this example, the file names are:



On your desktop or laptop computer that has VMware Workstation installed, create a directory to store the new virtual machine. For the purposes of this walkthrough, the files of the exported virtual disk are copied to the following directory:


Note: Disk C:\ is used as an example, for the sake of simplicity. Try to avoid using the system partition for storing VMs.

Create a new virtual machine: open VMware Workstation and click File > New Virtual Machine.

Creating a new virtual machine in VMware Workstation

The New Virtual Machine Wizard is launched. Manual configuration of the VM is required to import an existing virtual disk. Thus, select Custom (advanced) and click Next.

Selecting custom configuration for the new VM in VMware Workstation

Now select the hardware compatibility for your VM. If you plan on copying the VM to other computers with older versions of VMware Workstation, then indicate the oldest version of VMware Workstation installed on those devices. Click Next to continue.

Configuring the new virtual machine’s hardware compatibility

In the next stage of configuration – guest OS installation – the bottommost option has been selected, because an existing virtual disk will be used and a fresh installation of the OS is not required. Click Next.

Selecting a method of operating system installation.

Now select your operating system. In this example, Linux Ubuntu 64-bit is selected, to match the disk created. Click Next to proceed.

Selecting the version of the guest operating system in VMware Workstation

Input a name and location for the VM. You can use the directory you created earlier, where the virtual disk files are stored. In the current example, that is C:\Virtual\Ubuntu64-bit. Click Next.

Setting the new VM’s name and location

Now, define the processor configuration. You can use a configuration similar to that of the original VM (the source VM for the backup). Click Next to continue.

Virtual processor configuration

As you did for the processor settings, configure the memory for the VM. Click Next.

Configuring memory for the VM

Select the appropriate network connection type and click Next.

Configuring VM network connection type

Select your disk controller and click Next.

Configuring a virtual disk controller

Select a disk type and click Next.

Configuring a virtual disk type

Now, select the existing virtual disk – the one that you earlier copied to the VM directory after backup export. Click Next to proceed.

Using the existing virtual disk created during backup export with NAKIVO Backup & Replication

Click Browse and select the DiskName.VMDK file (the one without the -flat suffix before the file extension).

In this example the name of file is:


Selecting the exported virtual disk

VMware Workstation suggests a conversion of the virtual disk to a newer format. Conversion is not necessary; you can proceed by clicking Keep Existing Format.

Opting out of virtual disk format conversion

Check the summary and click Finish when you are satisfied.

Checking the virtual machine creation summary

Now the new virtual machine is created and the virtual disk you exported is attached. Select the VM and click Power on this virtual machine (the “Play” button). As you can see in the screenshot below, the VM has been started and the OS has been loaded.

A virtual machine using the virtual disk exported from the Hyper-V backup is running on VMware Workstation

Export of the Virtual Disk from Hyper-V Backup to Oracle VirtualBox

As an alternative to VMware Workstation, you can also recover VMs from exported VMDK virtual disks by running them on VirtualBox. The sequence of actions for recovery of the VM on VirtualBox resembles the steps taken above for recovery of the VM on VMware Workstation.

Again, let’s use a virtual disk exported to VMDK format with NAKIVO Backup & Replication – but this time, VirtualBox will be used for recovery of the VM. Open VirtualBox and click Machine > New.

Creating a new VM with VirtualBox

Enter the name of the VM (Ubuntu16Exported in this example). Select the operating system type and version (Linux Ubuntu x64 in this case), then click Next.

Setting the VM name and guest OS type

VirtualBox suggests a memory size based on the guest OS type you selected in previous step, but you are free to modify the VM memory settings. Click Next.

Configuring the new virtual machine memory on VirtualBox

You should now add the virtual hard disk that was exported from the Hyper-V backup with NAKIVO Backup & Replication. Select Use an existing virtual hard disk file and click the folder icon to browse for the file. As with the VMware Workstation example walked through above, select the DiskName.VMDK file (not DiskName-flat.VMDK). In the current example, the name of that file is:


Adding a virtual hard disk that was exported from a backup with NAKIVO Backup & Replication’s Backup Export for Cross-Platform Recovery

The virtual machine with your exported virtual disk has now been created in VirtualBox. Select the new VM and click the Start button.

Starting the VirtualBox VM

A VM with a virtual disk exported from Hyper-V backup by NAKIVO Backup & Replication was created and is now running successfully on VirtualBox. You can install VirtualBox Guest Additions, which is analogous to VMware Tools or Hyper-V Integration Services.

The virtual machine with a virtual disk exported from Hyper-V backup with NAKIVO Backup & Replication is running on VirtualBox


Cross-Platform Recovery is a useful feature with which you can export virtual disks from VMware or Hyper-V backups made by NAKIVO Backup & Replication. You can use these exported virtual disks for further recovery of the VM on Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware ESXi, VMware Workstation, or Oracle VirtualBox. This blog post has covered how to configure a new VM on both VMware Workstation and Oracle VirtualBox for the purposes of running the VM, including loading the operating system from an attached virtual disk.

You now know how to use NAKIVO Backup & Replication’s Cross-Platform Recovery functionality to transfer your virtual data safely across platforms. Download the full-featured free trial to test Cross-Platform Recovery in your own multi-hypervisor environment.


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