I'm reading the TurnKey Linux 14 documentation and it states that in order to preseed values for an appliance, you have to write them to the file system before the machine boots for the first time.

The most obvious way to do this that I can think of, is to boot the VM to a Live CD and mount the file system in question in order to write the file.

Does VirtualBox contain another way of doing this? For instance using a bash utility of some sort to write an external file to the existing file system?

I believe there was a way to accomplish this on VMWare using vSphere, which is why I am asking.

  • You can change the virtual hard drive file without the VM being booted (if thats what you want...). What do you want to do exactly?
    – Wilf
    Nov 14, 2015 at 22:48
  • I'm trying to add /etc/inithooks.conf to the vdmk file that I have, so it will skip the interactive prompts asking the user for the values.
    – leeand00
    Nov 14, 2015 at 23:07

2 Answers 2


You can use libguestfs tools to access filesystems in a virtual machine image.

mkdir ~/mnt
guestmount -a /path/to/vm-image.vdi -m /dev/sda1 ~/mnt
… edit files …
fusermount -u ~/mnt

Libguestfs uses QEMU, which may use KVM. KVM and VirtualBox cannot be used at the same time. If you have VirtualBox running, either close it and make sure that the kvm kernel module is loaded, or arrange to run QEMU without KVM. You can make QEMU avoid KVM (slower, but not in a way that matters to just mount the filesystem and edit a few files) by setting LIBGUESTFS_BACKEND_SETTINGS=force_tcg in the environment.

  • Didn't know about this +1 - I think my previous method for mucking around with VM disks was to convert them to imgs or something :)
    – Wilf
    Nov 19, 2015 at 19:51

If you are doing this so you can create a customised TurnKey VM that you can redistribute with pre-seeded values, then there is another option that is probably a little less involved (for some).

Boot your VM, run through the first boot scripts manually, create the pre-seeds file as you want it. Then reset the RUN_FIRSTBOOT flag (in /etc/default/inithooks) so that it will re-run the firstboot scripts on next boot (firstboot of your extracted virtual appliance).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.