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What is an OVA File? What is it for and how to open one

June 27, 2022
What is an OVA File? What is it for and how to open one

Files with the OVA extension are often used by virtualization applications. Virtualization applications are considered in the form of a package that contains all the types of files and information that applications such as VMware Workstation or oracle virtual box they need to set up and run a virtual machine.

The files in an OVA file include a descriptor file with the OVF extension, certificate or manifest files (the latter often use the MF extension), and other files required by virtualization applications.

You can also read: What is an ICS File? What is it for and how to open one

Index of contents

  1. What is an OVA file?
  2. Programs that open and convert OVA files:
    1. Oracle VirtualBox
    2. 1. VMware Workstation (distribution software package files)
    3. 2. Obtiv Octave (partition file)
    4. 3. Web Studio (file sharing) by Beach Software
  3. How to open an OVA file?
    1. Step 1: Get a VMware Workstation
    2. Step 2: Check the version of VMware Workstation and update it if necessary
    3. Step 3: Install the default application to open OVA files on VMware Workstation
    4. Step 4: Check the OVA for errors
  4. How can I convert the OVA files?
    1. Other details
  5. Still can’t open the file?

What is an OVA file?

OVA files are mainly related to Oracle’s VirtualBox software. OVA stands for Open Virtual Appliance. It is the file format used to implement OVF (Open Virtualisation Format).

An OVA file contains all the files that make up a complete copy of the OVF specification. The OVF standard was developed by the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF), a group of more than 160 companies, including major technology groups such as Dell, Oracle, Microsoft, and VMware. It was later adopted by ANSI as the standard for the distribution of virtual machine software.

The OVF format, defined in the standard, allows to describe a virtual machine in XML format, specifying all the software to install and its configuration. OVA virtual machines can be installed directly to create a basic operating system and run deployable software.

Although the OVA standard is safe, OVA files can contain malicious content, so you should only run trusted OVA virtual machines. OVA files can be opened by a variety of programs, including VirtualBox, Vmware, Vagrant, Hyper-V, KVM, Citrix Hypervisor, and Red Hat Virtualization. Other files related to OVA are ISO, OVF, VHD, VHDX, AMI, QCOW2.

Programs that open and convert OVA files:

Oracle VirtualBox

OVA files are often referred to as VirtualBox compressed files because this type of file is the most commonly created or used by this software.

1. VMware Workstation (distribution software package files)

VMWare Workstation is a hosted hypervisor that runs on Windows x64 and Linux operating systems. The software allows users to create virtual machines on a single physical machinewhere each virtual machine can run its own operating system.

The software stores the deployment package in OVA files, which are TAR files that contain multiple files. This file format is considered compressed.

Go to VMware Workstation

2. Obtiv Octave (partition file)

Obtiv Octave is a program for creating sheet music in German music notation. The program supports creating scores manually using the mouse and keyboard or by reading signals from a MIDI device.

The program also supports advanced formatting options. OVA files are partitions created with Octave. This file format is classified as design. Related Links: Reference, Reference

Go to Obtiv Octave

3. Web Studio (file sharing) by Beach Software

Web Studio is a web design software developed by Beach Software for the Windows operating system. The company is no longer active, but the software can still be downloaded from their website. The software uses the OVA extension for files that contain a drawing page. This file format is classified as a page layout.

Go to WebStudio

How to open an OVA file?

There can be several reasons why you may be having trouble accessing OVA files. It should be noted that all common problems with OVA files can be solved by users themselves.

The procedure is fast and does not require the intervention of a computer expert. Below is a list of tips to help you identify and resolve file problems.

Step 1: Get a VMware Workstation

The most common cause of these problems is the lack of proper applications to support the OVA files installed on the system. You can resolve this issue by downloading and installing VMware Workstation or another compatible program such as VMware vCenter Converter, VirtualBox, or VMware Player.

Above you will find a complete list of programs that support OVA files, ordered by system platform for which they are available. The safest way to download VMware Workstation is to go to the manufacturer’s website (VMware, Inc.) and download the software using the links provided.

Step 2: Check the version of VMware Workstation and update it if necessary

Still unable to access your OVA files with VMware Workstation installed on your system? Make sure your software is up to date. Software developers can also update their applications to add support for new file formats.

This may be one of the reasons why OVA files are not compatible with VMware Workstation. The latest version of VMware Workstation is backward compatible and can support file formats that are compatible with earlier versions of the software.

Step 3: Install the default application to open OVA files on VMware Workstation

After installing VMware Workstation (latest version), make sure that it is installed as the default application to open OVA files. The process of assigning file formats to the default application may differ in detail depending on the platform, but the basic procedure is very similar.

Change the default application in Windows

  • Select Open with from the file menuavailable by right-clicking on an OVA file.
  • Tap Other app → Other apps.
  • Select Browse to find another app on this computer to complete the operation, then select the VMware Workstation installation folder using File Explorer. Confirm by checking Always use this app to open OVA files and click OK.

Change the default application in Mac OS

  • Right click on the OVA file and select Information.
  • Open the “Open With” section by clicking on the name.
  • Select your VMware workstation and click Edit.

If you have followed the previous steps you should see a message: This change applies to all files with OVA extension. Then click Next to complete the process.

Step 4: Check the OVA for errors

Have you completed steps 1-3, but the problem still exists? check if the file is a valid OVA file. For various reasons, there may be problems opening the file.

Check the OVA file for viruses or malware

If the OVA file is infected with a virus, this may be the reason why you cannot access it. Immediately scan the file with an antivirus program or check your entire system to make sure it’s secure. If the OVA file is indeed infected, follow the instructions below.

Ensures the integrity of the OVA file structure

If the problem OVA file was received from a third party, ask them to provide you with another copy. Errors may occur when copying the file, causing the file to be incomplete or corrupt. This can cause problems with the file. If the OVA file was only partially downloaded from the Internet, try to download it again.

Verify that the logged in user has administrator rights

The file can only be accessible to users with the appropriate system privileges. Sign in with an administrator account and see if this solves the problem.

Check if your system is compatible with VMware Workstation.

There may be operating systems with enough free resources to run an application that support OVA files. Close all running programs and try to open the OVA file.

Make sure you have installed the latest operating system and driver updates

Up-to-date system and driver not only makes your computer more secure, but also may solve problems with your Open Virtual Appliance file. Outdated drivers or software may render the device needed to support OVA files unusable.

How can I convert the OVA files?

There are only a few reasons why you may need to convert your OVA file. Think about this when deciding which format to use when creating your virtual machine. For example, it is not necessary to convert the OVA file to an OVF or VMDK file in order to extract these files from the archive.

Instead, you can simply extract them from the OVA file using one of the unzip tools mentioned above. The same goes for converting the VMDK file to a Hyper-V VHD; you can’t just convert the OVA file to a VHD.

Instead, you extract the VMDK file from the OVA file, and then convert the VMDK file to a VHD using a program like Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter. Converting the OVA file for use in VMware Workstation is as easy as exporting the virtual machine to an OVA file.

Other details

Next, use Fill > Open in VMware to locate the OVA file and follow the instructions in VMware Workstation to set up the new virtual machine. If the virtual machine program used has not been exported to an OVA file, VMware can continue to open other materials associated with the virtual machinesuch as OVF files.

QCOW2 files are QEMU Copy On Write version 2 hard drive image files that are similar to other virtual machine hard drive image files.

Also you can look for an OVA to ISO converterbut it would make more sense to convert the virtual hard drive files (contained in the OVA file) to an image format (similar to the VHD example above), which is beyond the scope of this article.

The VMware OVF Tool is a command line tool that allows you to import and export OVA files from other VMware products. VMware vCenter Converter also works.

Still can’t open the file?

If the file does not open as suggested above, check if it is a file ending in “.OVA”. This is not always the case, as file formats with similar extensions can be easily confused.

For example, OVR and OVP are written almost identically to OVA, but they are overlay files used by a program called Overlay Maker. If you try to open both file formats with the mentioned virtualization software, nothing will work.

Like Octave partition files, Overture partition files use the OVE extension. It would be easy to confuse the two file formats, but the latter only works with Overture.

You can also read: What is an ABR File? What is it for and how to open one