Dec 20, 2010

How To P2V Windows 7 For Use in VMware

Sorry I have been off for a while. As my last post said, I have been working on getting back into shape for martial arts  and studying for my VCP exam. Speaking of VCP, I have discovered a really cool little trick for converting a physical Windows 7 machine into a VMware virtual machine.

Now I know what you are saying, why not just use the VMware converter tool? Well, that is a good question, and the answer is simple. It doesn’t quite work right for Windows 7. Every time I tried it would either fail to convert, or if it did convert, when I powered it on I would get a really cool Blue Screen of Death!

Anyway, I found a post on IT Knowledge Exchange explaining a method that actually works! Sure, it’s not ideal, but if it works, it works right? I think it would be better if VMware could make their converter just work better with Windows 7 though.

Anyhoo, what I did was:

  • On the Windows 7 laptop I was trying to convert I downloaded and ran a Sysinternals tool called Disk2VHD. Which creates a Microsoft Virtual PC VHD disk file.
  • I took the VHD from the previous step, then ran another free tool called StarWind V2V Converter and converted it to a VMDK file for use in VMWare
  • I took the VMDK file from the previous step and copied it to my ESX server using WinSCP
  • In vSphere I created a new Windows 7 VM, but before I powered it on I removed the hard disk, and replaced it with my existing VMDK from step 2 above.
  • I powered it on and installed VMware tools!

GUINNESS on esx03.sp360

Sure that is a lengthier process than usual, but it’s the only one that has worked for me for Windows 7 both 32bit and 64bit. Maybe I am doing something wrong in VMware converter though. If you know of a way to do a physical to virtual conversion of Windows 7 using the VMware tool, let me know in the comments!

[Via IT Knowledge Exchange]

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