virt-clone Man page

VIRT-CLONE(1) Virtual Machine Manager VIRT-CLONE(1)


virt-clone – clone existing virtual machine images


virt-clone [OPTION]…


virt-clone is a command line tool for cloning existing virtual machine
images using the “libvirt” hypervisor management library. It will copy
the disk images of any existing virtual machine, and define a new guest
with an identical virtual hardware configuration. Elements which
require uniqueness will be updated to avoid a clash between old and new

By default, virt-clone will show an error if the necessary information
to clone the guest is not provided. The –auto-clone option will
generate all needed input, aside from the source guest to clone.

Please note, virt-clone does not change anything _inside_ the guest OS,
it only duplicates disks and does host side changes. So things like
changing passwords, changing static IP address, etc are outside the
scope of this tool. For these types of changes, please see virt-



Most options are not required. Minimum requirements are –original or
–original-xml (to specify the guest to clone), –name, and appropriate
storage options via -file.

–connect URI
Connect to a non-default hypervisor. See virt-install for

Name of the original guest to be cloned. This guest must be shut
off or paused since it is not possible to safely clone active
guests at this time.

–original-xml ORIGINAL_XML
Libvirt guest xml file to use as the original guest. The guest does
not need to be defined on the libvirt connection. This takes the
place of the “–original” parameter.

Generate a new guest name, and paths for new storage.

An example or possible generated output:

Original name : MyVM
Generated clone name : MyVM-clone

Original disk path : /home/user/foobar.img
Generated disk path : /home/user/foobar-clone.img

If generated names collide with existing VMs or storage, a number
is appended, such as foobar-clone-1.img, or MyVM-clone-3.





Name of the new guest virtual machine instance. This must be unique
amongst all guests known to the hypervisor connection, including
those not currently active.

–uuid UUID
UUID for the guest; if none is given a random UUID will be
generated. If you specify UUID, you should use a 32-digit
hexadecimal number. UUID are intended to be unique across the
entire data center, and indeed world. Bear this in mind if manually
specifying a UUID

Path to the file, disk partition, or logical volume to use as the
backing store for the new guest’s virtual disk. If the original
guest has multiple disks, this parameter must be repeated multiple
times, once per disk in the original virtual machine.

–force-copy TARGET
Force cloning the passed disk target (‘hdc’, ‘sda’, etc.). By
default, “virt-clone” will skip certain disks, such as those marked
‘readonly’ or ‘shareable’.

Fully allocate the new storage if the path being cloned is a sparse
file. See virt-install for more details on sparse vs.

No storage is cloned: disk images specific by –file are preserved
as is, and referenced in the new clone XML. This is useful if you
want to clone a VM XML template, but not the storage contents.

When –reflink is specified, perform a lightweight copy. This is
much faster if source images and destination images are all on the
same btrfs filesystem. If COW copy is not possible, then virt-
clone fails.

-m MAC
–mac MAC
Fixed MAC address for the guest; If this parameter is omitted, or
the value “RANDOM” is specified a suitable address will be randomly
generated. Addresses are applied sequentially to the networks as
they are listed in the original guest XML.

Print the generated clone XML and exit without cloning.

Shutdown and remove any existing guest with the passed “–name”
before cloning the original guest.

Show the help message and exit

Show program’s version number and exit

Enable or disable some validation checks. See virt-install for
more details.

Suppress non-error output.

Print debugging information to the terminal when running the
install process. The debugging information is also stored in
“~/.cache/virt-manager/virt-clone.log” even if this parameter is

Clone the guest called “demo” on the default connection, auto
generating a new name and disk clone path.

# virt-clone \
–original demo \

Clone the guest called “demo” which has a single disk to copy

# virt-clone \
–original demo \
–name newdemo \
–file /var/lib/xen/images/newdemo.img

Clone a QEMU guest with multiple disks

# virt-clone \
–connect qemu:///system \
–original demo \
–name newdemo \
–file /var/lib/xen/images/newdemo.img \
–file /var/lib/xen/images/newdata.img

Clone a guest to a physical device which is at least as big as the
original guests disks. If the destination device is bigger, the new
guest can do a filesystem resize when it boots.

# virt-clone \
–connect qemu:///system \
–original demo \
–name newdemo \
–file /dev/HostVG/DemoVM \
–mac 52:54:00:34:11:54


Please see


Copyright (C) Fujitsu Limited, Copyright (C) Red Hat, Inc, and various
contributors. This is free software. You may redistribute copies of it
under the terms of the GNU General Public License
“”. There is NO WARRANTY, to the
extent permitted by law.


“virt-sysprep(1)”, virsh, “virt-install“, “virt-manager“, the
project website “”

1.3.2 2016-07-20 VIRT-CLONE(1)