Proxmox Import QCOW2: A Step-by-Step Guide

Proxmox Virtual Environment (Proxmox VE) is a powerful open-source virtualization platform allowing you to manage virtual machines (VMs), containers, and more. QCOW2 (QEMU Copy-On-Write version 2) is a versatile disk image format known for efficient storage utilization, making it popular for virtual machines. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of importing existing QCOW2 images into your Proxmox environment.


  • A running Proxmox VE installation.
  • A QCOW2 disk image file (.qcow2 extension) ready for import.
  • Access to your Proxmox server via web interface or SSH.

Understanding QCOW2

Before we dive in, let’s clarify why QCOW2 is useful:

  • Space Efficiency: QCOW2 images only store changes made to the virtual disk since its creation. This prevents unnecessary duplication and saves storage space.
  • Snapshots: QCOW2 supports snapshots, letting you capture point-in-time states of your VM for restoration, if needed.

Methods for Importing QCOW2 into Proxmox

There are two main ways to import QCOW2 images into Proxmox:

1. Web Interface

  • Upload: Navigate to your Proxmox storage and upload the QCOW2 image.
  • Create VM: Create a new VM without attaching a disk initially.
  • Import Disk: Under the VM’s “Hardware” tab, select “Add” -> “Hard Disk” -> “Unused Disk”. Select your uploaded QCOW2 image and set the bus type to “VirtIO Block”.
  • Attach Disk: Click “Add” to attach the imported disk to your VM.

2. Command Line Interface (CLI)

  • Transferring the Image: Use tools like WinSCP (Windows) or SCP (Linux/macOS) to transfer the QCOW2 image to your Proxmox server.
  • Import: Run the following command
  • <VMID>: ID of the VM to attach the disk to.
  • <imagefilename.qcow2>: Filename of your QCOW2 image.
  • <storage-pool>: Name of the storage where you want to place the disk.

Example CLI Import

Let’s say you want to import a QCOW2 image named “ubuntu-server.qcow2” to a VM with ID 105, storing it on the “local-lvm” storage pool:

Additional Considerations

  • Network Configuration: After import, you may need to manually adjust the VM’s network settings for connectivity.
  • Performance: For optimal performance, use “VirtIO Block” as the bus type during import.
  • Troubleshooting: If you encounter issues, check error messages carefully, ensure file integrity, and verify you have sufficient storage space.

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