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How to Clone a Virtual Machine with VMware Fusion

Creating Virtual Machines from scratch is easy with VMware Fusion* (read how to create a Ubuntu VM here) but sometimes it’s quicker to clone an existing VM.

Let’s say you have an existing Ubuntu VM that you’ve made configuration changes and performed updates on. It would be time consuming to do this every time you create a VM. It’s quicker to clone the VM than it is to install the OS from scratch each time.

There’s two ways of cloning a VM with VMware Fusion* which we’ll cover in this tutorial.

Create Full Clone

A full clone makes a complete copy of the existing virtual machines’ hard disks. This method takes longer and uses more disk space but it allows you to add extra disks and virtual hardware to the new VM. Follow the steps below to create a full clone:

Right Click on the Virtual Machine you want to clone then click Create Full Clone…

Give the new VM a name, then click Save

Wait for the clone to complete.

You should now see the new VM in your inventory. When you click on the VM you will see it has the same hard disk size as the original VM.

Create Linked Clone

A linked clone is much faster and uses less disk space than a full clone because it only records the changes made from the existing hard disks. Linked clones can’t have new hard disks added to them so if you are doing something that needs extra disks or hardware, stick to full clones.

To create a linked clone, right click on the VM, then click Create Linked Clone…

Give the new VM a name, then click Save

The new VM should be created instantly and you will notice the hard disk size is a lot smaller than the original VM.

Summary

In this tutorial, you learned how to create a full and a linked clone of a VM using VMware Fusion*. We discovered that linked clones are faster to copy and use less disk space, however linked clones cannot have extra disks added.