Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Copy Data Between Virtual Machines

Ubuntu 19

In the world of virtualization, transferring data between Virtual Machines (VMs) is a common task. This article will guide you through several methods to achieve this, including the use of clipboard sharing, drag and drop, shared folders, client-server applications, and file system mounting or sharing.

Quick Answer

To copy data between virtual machines, you can use methods such as clipboard sharing, drag and drop, shared folders, client-server applications like SCP or WinSCP, and file system mounting or sharing using protocols like NFS or Samba.

Copy and Paste

One of the simplest ways to transfer data between VMs is through the copy and paste mechanism. To enable this, you need to share the clipboard between the host operating system (OS) and the guest OS.

Step 1: Install Guest Additions

Guest Additions is a software suite provided by VirtualBox that, when installed on the guest OS, enables several integration features, including shared clipboard. To install Guest Additions, go to the “Devices” menu in your VirtualBox VM window, and select “Insert Guest Additions CD Image”. Then, follow the prompts to install the software.

Step 2: Enable Shared Clipboard

After installing Guest Additions, go to the settings of your VM, navigate to the “General” tab, then “Advanced”, and set the shared clipboard to “Bidirectional”. This allows you to copy data from the guest OS and paste it into the host OS, and vice versa.

Drag and Drop

Another method to transfer data between VMs is the drag and drop functionality. This method also requires the installation of Guest Additions.

Step 1: Enable Drag and Drop

In the settings of your VM, go to the “General” tab, then “Advanced”, and set drag and drop to “Bidirectional”. This allows you to drag files or folders from one VM and drop them into another.

Shared Folders

Shared folders provide a more robust way to transfer data between VMs. This method also requires the installation of Guest Additions.

Step 1: Set Up Shared Folders

In the settings of your VM, navigate to the “Shared Folders” tab. Here, you can add a new shared folder by clicking on the “+” icon. Choose a folder from your host OS that you want to share, and give it a name. Make sure to check the “Auto-mount” option. Any files you put in this shared folder from the host OS will be immediately visible to the guest OS.

Client-Server Applications

Client-server applications like SCP (Secure Copy) or WinSCP can also be used to transfer data between VMs. This method requires an active SSH server on the receiving VM and a client on the sending VM.

Step 1: Set Up SSH Server

On the receiving VM, install and start the SSH server. On a Linux VM, you can do this with the following commands:

sudo apt-get install openssh-server
sudo service ssh start

Step 2: Use SCP or WinSCP

On the sending VM, use SCP (on Linux) or WinSCP (on Windows) to transfer files. The basic syntax for SCP is:

scp source_file user@destination_host:destination_folder

Mounting File Systems or Sharing Files

Lastly, you can mount part of the file system of one VM on another using protocols like NFS (Network File System) or SSHFS (SSH File System). Alternatively, you can share files and directories using Samba.

Step 1: Set Up NFS or Samba Server

On the VM that you want to share data from, set up an NFS or Samba server. The setup process varies depending on the OS and the protocol, so refer to the relevant documentation for detailed instructions.

Step 2: Mount the Shared File System

On the VM that you want to copy data to, mount the shared file system. For NFS, the command would be:

sudo mount -t nfs source_host:/source_folder /destination_folder

For Samba, the command would be:

sudo mount -t cifs //source_host/source_folder /destination_folder -o username=user,password=pass

In conclusion, there are several methods to copy data between VMs, each with its own benefits and requirements. Choose the one that best suits your needs and remember to ensure proper authorization and access rights for seamless data transfer.

Can I copy and paste text between virtual machines?

Yes, you can copy and paste text between virtual machines by enabling the shared clipboard feature through the installation of Guest Additions and setting the shared clipboard to "Bidirectional".

Can I transfer files between virtual machines using drag and drop?

Yes, you can transfer files between virtual machines using drag and drop functionality. This method also requires the installation of Guest Additions and setting drag and drop to "Bidirectional" in the VM settings.

How can I share folders between virtual machines?

You can share folders between virtual machines by setting up shared folders in the VM settings. This method also requires the installation of Guest Additions and allows you to add a shared folder from your host OS that will be immediately visible to the guest OS.

What are some client-server applications that can be used to transfer data between virtual machines?

Some client-server applications that can be used to transfer data between virtual machines include SCP (Secure Copy) and WinSCP. These applications require an active SSH server on the receiving VM and a client on the sending VM.

How can I mount file systems or share files between virtual machines?

You can mount file systems or share files between virtual machines using protocols like NFS (Network File System) or SSHFS (SSH File System). Alternatively, you can share files and directories using Samba. The setup process for NFS, SSHFS, or Samba varies, so refer to the relevant documentation for detailed instructions.

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