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 Chapter 7. Converting between image formats

Converting images from one format to another is generally straightforward.

 qemu-img convert: raw, qcow2, VDI, VMDK

The qemu-img convert command can do conversion between multiple formats, including raw, qcow2, VDI (VirtualBox), VMDK (VMware) and VHD (Hyper-V).

Table 7.1. qemu-img format strings
Image format Argument to qemu-img
raw raw
qcow2 qcow2
VDI (VirtualBox) vdi
VMDK (VMware) vmdk
VHD (Hyper-V) vpc

This example will convert a raw image file named centos63.dsk to a qcow2 image file.

$ qemu-img convert -f raw -O qcow2 centos64.dsk centos64.qcow2

To convert from vmdk to raw, you would do:

$ qemu-img convert -f vmdk -O raw centos64.vmdk centos64.img


The -f format flag is optional. If omitted, qemu-img will try to infer the image format.

 VBoxManage: VDI (VirtualBox) to raw

If you've created a VDI image using VirtualBox, you can convert it to raw format using the VBoxManage command-line tool that ships with VirtualBox. On Mac OS X, VirtualBox stores images by default in the ~/VirtualBox VMs/ directory. The following example creates a raw image in the current directory from a VirtualBox VDI image.

$ VBoxManage clonehd ~/VirtualBox\ VMs/fedora18.vdi fedora18.img --format raw
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