Upgrade to Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander) VM Painlessly
Originally, I had Ubuntu 12.10 installed on my Windows 8 computer in a VirtualBox virtual machien. Then I made the mistake of clicking "Upgrade..." when Software Updater asked whether I wanted to upgrade to Ubuntu 13.04. Although the upgrade was successful, it put my Ubuntu virtual machine into a fresh state where I couldn't get my routine work done. For an entire week, I gone through the pain of setting everything up again. But I had been running happily with Ubuntu 13.04 ever since then.
Yesterday, Software Updater mentioned that Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander) is now available. I almost made the same mistake of clicking "Upgrade..." again. Luckily I restrained myself from having the latest and greatest right away. Today, I realized that there is a much better solution.
Simply clone the VirtualBox virtual machine. Upgrade on the clone. And if the upgrade is successful, you can still configure it over time while working with your existing virtual machine.
To clone a VirtualBox virtual machine, right click the virtual machine you want to clone. Click "Clone..." and give it a new machine name. When VirtualBox asks you the "Clone type", be sure to select "Full clone" in order to clone the entire hard drive. You wouldn't want to link to your existing hard drive, because the upgrade will overwrite the existing operating system.
After it's done you'll have a cloned virtual machine to install the upgrade onto. And if the upgrade fails, you can simply wipe the clone and start over.
Another way... use the "Export Appliance" function in VirtualBox. It basically creates a backup. Then upgrade. If the upgrade is fouled, delete the virtual machine and import the appliance that you've exported earlier.
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