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Why is my Virtual Machine Inaccessible in VirtualBox Manager?

Ubuntu 13

VirtualBox is a powerful tool that allows you to run multiple operating systems on a single machine. However, like any software, it can occasionally run into issues. One common problem that users encounter is the “inaccessible” error message in VirtualBox Manager. This article will explain why this error occurs and how to resolve it.

Quick Answer

The "inaccessible" error in VirtualBox Manager typically occurs when the .vbox file for your virtual machine is empty or corrupted. This can be resolved by copying the contents of the .vbox-prev file to the .vbox file, checking your disk space for sufficient storage, or ensuring the correct permissions are set on the virtual machine files.

Understanding the “Inaccessible” Error

When you see the “inaccessible” error message in VirtualBox Manager, it usually means that the .vbox file for your virtual machine is empty or corrupted. The .vbox file contains the configuration data for your virtual machine, and if it’s empty, VirtualBox won’t be able to load the virtual machine.

Resolving the “Inaccessible” Error

Solution 1: Copying the Contents of the .vbox-prev File

VirtualBox creates a backup of the .vbox file called .vbox-prev. This backup file contains the configuration data of the virtual machine from the last successful start. In many cases, you can resolve the “inaccessible” error by copying the contents of the .vbox-prev file to the .vbox file. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Navigate to the directory where your virtual machine files are stored. This is usually in the VirtualBox VMs folder in your user directory.
  2. Open the .vbox-prev file with a text editor.
  3. Select all the text in the file and copy it.
  4. Open the .vbox file with a text editor.
  5. Paste the copied text into the .vbox file, replacing any existing text.
  6. Save the .vbox file and close the text editor.

After doing this, try to start your virtual machine again. If everything goes well, your virtual machine should start without any issues.

Solution 2: Checking Disk Space

Another possible cause of the “inaccessible” error is insufficient disk space. If your hard drive is full, VirtualBox may not be able to write the .vbox file properly, causing it to become empty or corrupted. To resolve this issue, free up some disk space and then try to start your virtual machine again.

Solution 3: Checking Permissions

If you’re running VirtualBox on a Unix-based system like Linux or macOS, the “inaccessible” error may be caused by a permissions issue. The user running VirtualBox needs to have read and write access to the virtual machine files. To check the permissions, navigate to the directory where your virtual machine files are stored and use the ls -l command. This command lists the files in the directory along with their permissions. If the user doesn’t have the necessary permissions, you can change them using the chmod command.

Conclusion

The “inaccessible” error in VirtualBox Manager can be frustrating, but it’s usually easy to resolve. By copying the contents of the .vbox-prev file, checking your disk space, and ensuring the correct permissions, you can get your virtual machine up and running again.

If you’re still having trouble, consider seeking help from the VirtualBox forums. The community there is very knowledgeable and can often provide further assistance.

How do I find the `.vbox` and `.vbox-prev` files for my virtual machine?

The .vbox and .vbox-prev files for your virtual machine are typically located in the VirtualBox VMs folder in your user directory. You can navigate to this folder and search for the folder corresponding to your virtual machine’s name. Inside this folder, you should find the .vbox and .vbox-prev files.

Can I restore a virtual machine if I don’t have a `.vbox-prev` backup file?

If you don’t have a .vbox-prev file, it may not be possible to restore the virtual machine using the method mentioned in Solution 1. However, you can try using a backup of the virtual machine’s disk image (usually a .vdi file) to recreate the virtual machine. Create a new virtual machine in VirtualBox Manager and point it to the backup disk image.

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