missing virtual machines, but the XML files exist....

Discussions about using Windows guests in VirtualBox.

missing virtual machines, but the XML files exist....

Postby cr0wn3r » 3. Jan 2011, 23:19

I have opened virtualbox to start work after a nice long christmas holiday...... to discover all my virtual machines are missing from the menu when I start the program.

I can only create a new one, and import.

I can see the hard drive files, they seem to be there and I can get to them using the virtual media manager.

But if I create a new machine with the same name as one of the old ones that is missing, it throws an error saying the machine already exists.

Looking in

/User/Myuser/.VirtualBox

I can see all the machines that the program thinks are missing - there is a directory for each of them along with xml and other files.

So why dont they show up in the menu? And how can I run them again? I dont seem to beable to 'import' them as there are no OVF files...

Thanks
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Re: missing virtual machines, but the XML files exist....

Postby Perryg » 3. Jan 2011, 23:31

Did you login with a different name?
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Re: missing virtual machines, but the XML files exist....

Postby cr0wn3r » 3. Jan 2011, 23:35

no, i only have one user on the pc which is me. It is also the admin account.
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Re: missing virtual machines, but the XML files exist....

Postby Perryg » 4. Jan 2011, 00:02

Very odd don't you think?
Something must have changed. Unless you left the machine running with guests open and had a power failure. That would clean out the xml file.

You have few options though. If there are no snapshots you can delete the VM (from the main VBox program) without deleting the file.
clear it out of the media manager again without deleting the file. The create the VM again and when asked to create a new HDD or use an existing one select use an existing one and attach the original. Try your best to keep the settings as close to original as possible.

However if you have snapshots you had better have a complete backup to restore from as I have found it as close to impossible to fix this as it can possibly be without one.
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Re: missing virtual machines, but the XML files exist....

Postby cr0wn3r » 4. Jan 2011, 11:26

Thanks for the assistance.

I didnt have any snapshots, so removed the .VirtualBox/Machines folder and created the machines again selecting the original hard drives.

There was a bit of back and forth getting the networking configured again, but got there in the end.

Occurred to me how much i rely on virtualBox for dev work... might need to implement a more rigid backup strategy!

Thanks again.
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Re: missing virtual machines, but the XML files exist....

Postby Gibraltar » 4. Jan 2011, 18:58

Hi,

Looks like I'm too late. The same thing happened to me - one day all my VM's disappeared. The xml files were there as also the VDI’s.
After considering that recreating all machines and reassociate the HDD’s would give me too much trouble I stumbled across a solution that (at least for me) worked.

Using the command VBoxManage registervm I was able to re-register all VM’s without loosing the previous configurations.

More info:
http://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch08.html#id494439

And you can also check the command help from the command prompt
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Re: missing virtual machines, but the XML files exist....

Postby cr0wn3r » 5. Jan 2011, 10:34

Ah, great. Thanks for posting that. I'll have a look at that as I have other machines I haven't recreated yet as I use them less often.

I took a backup of the .VirtualBox folder before I changed anything so I should be able to try this.
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Re: missing virtual machines, but the XML files exist....

Postby dbritton » 27. Oct 2011, 23:54

I had the same problem, only I'm on VirtualBox version 4.1.4. From version 4.0 onwards, the machine settings xml file has extension .vbox. Until I figured that out, I thought I had lost weeks of work when my virtual server disappeared and I couldn't find its .xml file. However, applying" VBoxManage registervm" to the .vbox file restored the server beautifully!
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Re: missing virtual machines, but the XML files exist....

Postby mpack » 28. Oct 2011, 13:11

No need to run VBoxManage, just double-click on the .vbox file. You can also use the Machine | Add... menu item within the UI.
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Re: missing virtual machines, but the XML files exist....

Postby RiggsFolly » 7. Apr 2014, 13:34

I had this problem today.
I opened VirtualBox as normal and received the screen saying I had not VM's.

I was about to try the solutions mentioned here when I remembered that I had added an Environment variable to my W7 (dont tinks W7 is overly relevant) system yesterday.

The environment variable was 'HOME'.

When I removed this from my environment, VirtualBox started looking in the normal place for its VM's and they all appeared again.
So before trying anything more complicated, check your Windows environment settings first.

I can only assume that VirtualBox is set to use the HOME variable if it exists and something else if it does not.
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Re: missing virtual machines, but the XML files exist....

Postby mpack » 7. Apr 2014, 14:01

RiggsFolly wrote:I can only assume that VirtualBox is set to use the HOME variable if it exists and something else if it does not.

Nope. HOME is a standard Windows environment variable. If you override that you're overriding your documents folder path for all Windows apps. Of course, like other apps, VirtualBox creates its .VirtualBox folder in your documents folder, whatever that is.

So in fact your use of a W7 host was very relevant.
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Re: missing virtual machines, but the XML files exist....

Postby argaytan » 24. Jul 2014, 18:27

Just double-click on the .vbox files located at "C:\Users\[win7_user]\VirtualBox VMs" and all are there now...great!
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Re: missing virtual machines, but the XML files exist....

Postby timblaktu » 3. Apr 2015, 00:23

Just double-click on the .vbox files located at "C:\Users\[win7_user]\VirtualBox VMs" and all are there now...great!

+1
Virtualbox seemed to have misplaced the VMs following an upgrade, and clicking the files with the app closed repopulated the VMs.
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