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How to Fix VirtualBox “UUID already exists” Errors

If you’re running VirtualBox on a Windows computer, you’ll probably run into errors from time to time. When I migrated my virtual hard drives from one physical disk to another, I ran into a permissions error. Apparently, when Virtualbox creates a .vhd (or another format virtual hard drive), it bakes in a universally unique identifier that it uses to recognize VHDs. Usually it doesn’t cause problems, but in this case, it prevents duplicates or moved virtual disks from running from an unknown location.

The error looks like this:

virtualbox error - failed to open hard disk uuid

“Failed to open the hard disk E:\VirtualBox VMs\Windows 8 \Windows 8 Enterprise2.vhd.

Cannot register the hard disk ‘E:\VirtualBox VMs\Windows 8 \Windows 8 Enterprise2.vhd’ {ca2bdc6a-a487-4e57-9fcd-509d0c31d86d} because a hard disk ‘E:\VirtualBox VMs\Windows 8 Enterprise\Windows 8 Enterprise2.vhd’ with UUID {ca2bdc6a-a487-4e57-9fcd-509d0c31d86d} already exists.

Result Code:
E_INVALIDARG (0x80070057)


IVirtualBox {3b2f08eb-b810-4715-bee0-bb06b9880ad2}

Callee RC:

Oracle has a chapter in the VirtualBox manual that covers UUID problems, which may reveal how to fix this. Or you can just follow the steps below.

How to Reset the UUID

To fix this, you’ll need to run some text commands. Open up the Command Prompt. In both Windows 8 and Windows 7, it can be found by typing “cmd” into the Start Menu search box.

launch cmd prompt windows 7windows 8 command prompt

Now change the cmd prompt’s directory to the folder you installed VirtualBox in. If you put it in the default the command is this:

cd C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\

cd to the virtualbox directory

Now type in the following command (or copy/paste using right click):

VBOXMANAGE.EXE internalcommands sethduuid “pathtovhdfile”

uuid changed

If everything worked, you should see a message saying “UUID change to: …” and then the VirtualBox should work. All fixed!

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31 Responses to How to Fix VirtualBox “UUID already exists” Errors

  1. E1000i June 13, 2013 at 6:31 am #

    This will work also for linux (ubuntu-debian) atleast:

    just can directly execute wherever your located a slightly different command:

    vboxmanage internalcommands sethduuid “newPathto.vdi”

    thanks for the post, it saved me a lot of reserach and reading!

  2. Victor July 18, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

    Thank you very much. 😀

  3. Hamid August 12, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

    It works fine

  4. Adrian Constantin August 20, 2013 at 3:55 am #

    Thank you, Austin!
    You saved me a lot time!

  5. saif March 12, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    thinks man realy thinks you realy helpe me

  6. Alguien July 23, 2014 at 9:35 am #

    Thank you! It works!!

  7. remih August 20, 2014 at 11:52 pm #

    Thanks !!!
    Solution works great on Windows 8 and
    saved me a lot of time !:)

  8. KP September 19, 2014 at 12:56 am #

    Thanks for your blog.
    But i am stuck at another error that my vmdk file already exists …..

    actually i am importing the virtual alliance to VM box … so the moment i change the uuid and start importing again it gives the error cannot create because vmdk already exists.. Then i delete machine and start importing same UUID error occurs then again after fixing vmdk exists … So i am kind of looping in it …

  9. AbdreyS February 4, 2015 at 4:31 am #

    Excellent!!! Thank you very much! Best regards, Andrey from Russia

  10. Jazzy April 28, 2015 at 6:42 am #

    I had moved a *.vmdk over to a network drive and everything got the above error. Tried this and it worked, brilliant.

  11. Amro August 17, 2015 at 4:58 pm #

    Thanks a lot it worked.

  12. Sandro October 1, 2015 at 5:10 am #


  13. Alex Heresmann October 15, 2015 at 6:53 pm #

    It worked perfectly!!!

  14. Koez October 16, 2015 at 8:30 am #

    Hi, guys. Need help here. I did occur the same problem, but when i enter the following command, it returns this-> VBoxManage.exe : error : Format autodetect failed: VERR_FILE_NOT_FOUND

    • FRTV December 2, 2015 at 5:07 am #

      How did you solve the problem?

    • Experian April 2, 2017 at 9:15 am #

      Odds are you left the ” ” on each side of the filename. Do not put
      VBOXMANAGE.EXE internalcommands sethduuid “c:\vms\myvm.vdi”
      VBOXMANAGE.EXE internalcommands sethduuid c:\vms\myvm.vdi

      I tried with the “” and it gave me the same issue. Not sure what to do if your path has spaces in it. I’d say just move the file to a top level directory with no spaces. That will work for sure.

    • Juan Olivier September 1, 2017 at 12:03 am #

      I got the same error when I used the following:
      VBOXMANAGE.EXE internalcommands sethduuid D:\Virtuele Rekenaars\Oracle VM VirtualBox\Windows 7.vdi”

      Then I cut the file to the top directory and removed the space in the name like the following:
      VBoxManage internalcommands sethduuid D:\Windows7.vdi

      Then it worked

      c:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox>VBoxManage internalcommands sethduuid D:\Windows7.vdi
      UUID changed to: 9257de09-2a9c-4c13-ac6d-00d9fea8dcea

  15. Laura October 23, 2015 at 8:40 am #

    Nice! works perfectly! thanks

  16. Mohit November 8, 2015 at 1:40 am #

    Worked like a charm, Thank you!

  17. Ahmed January 7, 2016 at 5:07 pm #

    a lot of thanks to you sir

  18. D Lee February 10, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

    much appreciated!!! Worked like a charm!

  19. Cristian February 13, 2016 at 2:52 am #

    How to type if the file is on the dextop and there name is Serverfilelist Mt2WordOnline.vdi

  20. Ricardo March 30, 2016 at 8:58 am #

    Thank you.

  21. JORGE B April 9, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

    Gracias…me salvó

  22. Yang Hang April 13, 2016 at 4:16 am #

    Thanks. Saved my day!

  23. Peter June 17, 2016 at 6:00 pm #

    Dude thank you! This was exactly what I was looking for!
    (Windows 10.0.10586 Home, VirtualBox 5.0.10)

  24. KAMAL KUMAR July 17, 2016 at 10:41 am #

    Thanks.. it saved my time.

  25. Helmut October 12, 2016 at 4:11 am #

    In the Virtualbox version 5.1.6 there is unfortunately no VBOXMANAGE.EXE what now?

    • Foden October 16, 2016 at 6:06 pm #

      Hi Helmut

      (Win 10 64bit Pro)

      VBoxManage.exe does still exist in Virtualbox v 5.1.6. You need to run the commandlline from the install location of Virtualbox (default is C:\Program files\Oracle\Virtualbox – I believe) or you can add the Virtualbox path to the path environment variable

  26. rleonard May 19, 2017 at 8:41 am #


    This was a real life-saver.

    Thanks for saving my sanity!

  27. Grant June 12, 2017 at 7:22 pm #

    There’s an easier way to deal with this. In the main Virtual Box window, go to File -> Virtual Media Manager and you’ll see a list of disks.

    The disk that you moved should appear with a yellow warning symbol (since VirtualBox can’t find it at its previous location). Click the disk, click “Remove”, and confirm. You can now add the disk back to your virtual machine and VirtualBox won’t complain about conflicting UUIDs.

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