What is the easiest way to convert a physical Ubuntu (v. 16.04 LTS) into a virtual machine?

  • Convert to VMware workstation image or
  • VirtualBox image

3 Answers 3


You can run Ubuntu in VirtualBox, via raw disk access. It will use a real disk as if it were a virtual disk.

To convert the disk into an image, see this answer.


You can use VMware vCenter Converter.

From VMWare:

VMware vCenter Converter can run on a wide variety of hardware, and supports most commonly used versions of the Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems.

Automate and simplify physical to virtual machine conversions as well as conversions between virtual machine formats with VMware vCenter Converter. Use the intuitive wizard-driven interface of VMware vCenter Converter to transform your physical machines to virtual machines.

  • Convert Microsoft Windows and Linux-based physical machines and third-party image formats to VMware virtual machines.
  • Complete multiple conversions simultaneously with a centralized management console.
  • Minimize the number of steps to conversion with easy-to-use wizards.

For more info, and to download it visit VMWare


Unfortunately using VMware vCenter Converter is applicable just for server administrators. As I remember from Vmware documentation, vCenter Converter(linux version) needs four running system including Vmware ESX Server which itself needs at least 8GB of physical memory.

Here I explain another way for those who have Windows OS beside the linux OS on the same machine. First I give a summery to show the main idea and then I give more details.

1-In the Windows environment, create a backup of your linux EX4 partition.You can use any available backup software.(Here I used Acronis True Image 2016)

2-Create a new virtual machine in Vmware and start recovering process using the backup that you've created in previous section.

3-After doing recovery, you have the same Linux partition in your new virtual machine. Now to enable booting, you need to repair the Linux Grub which is capable of booting your system....And its done!

Some Details for implementation:

In the case of using "Acronis True Image 2016", these notes will be helpful.

1-When your are going to create a new virtual machine in Vmware, you should add "tow" hard drives for it.One hard drive must have "physical" access to your external HDD which your backup resides there.Another one must be the "virtual drive" and must be a little bigger than your Ex4 Linux partition.

2-For doing recovery process in boot, Acronis Gives you a rescue disk. Use this rescue disk in Vmware and boot the virtual system.

3-Because the virtual HDD that Vmware gives your is Raw, it is not accessible in Acronis rescue boot menu. So before starting recovery , you must create an EX4 partition from "add new disk" menu in rescue disk boot menu.

4-After doing the recovery process, you will have the exact copy of Linux EX4 partition in your VM.Now For Enable booting, use a Ubuntu live Disk for Repairing boot menu. To do so you can use this link.

  • 2
    the original question was for the "easiest" solution. Mar 28, 2018 at 12:40

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