Recover space from a VirtualBox disk

January 18, 2015

When you write large files in a dynamically sized VirtualBox disk, deleting them wonโ€™t help recovering the space at host level. The files will more likely still be on the filesystem, even if marked as free space.

To shrink a VirtualBox disk after removing large files, just zero out the rest of the drive, before asking VirtualBox to compact the disk:

On the guest:

dd if=/dev/zero of=junk # Will fail with disk full error
rm junk

On the host:

find ~/VirtualBox\ VMs -name '*.vdi' -exec VBoxManage modifyhd --compact  {} \;

Here, I choose to compact all the disks, but you can just apply the -exec command to a single one.

Want to leave a comment?

Start a conversation on Twitter or send me an email! ๐Ÿ’Œ
This post helped you? Buy me a coffee! ๐Ÿป