VMWare Converter

mubs

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I wanted to convert my old XP install (the actual boot drive) to a VM. Looks like I'm out of luck.

The Converter 5.0 literature led me to believe I could point it any install and convert a physical install to a VM. Not so. The Help says:

For computers not powered on:

- A bunch of different types of VMs, which my old XP install isn't

- Third-party virtual machines or system images
- Acronis True Image Echo 9.1, 9.5, and Acronis True Image Home 10 and 11 (.tib).
-Norton Ghost version 10.0, 12.0, and 14.0 (.sv2i format only).
-StorageCraft ShadowProtect Desktop, ShadowProtect Server, ShadowProtect Small Business Server (SBS), ShadowProtect IT Edition, versions 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.1, and 3.2 (.spf).
-Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery (formerly LiveState Recovery) 6.5, 7.0, 8.0, and 8.5, LiveState Recovery 3.0 and 6.0 (only .sv2i).
-Parallels Desktop 2.5, 3.0, and 4.0 (.pvs and .hdd). Compressed disks are not supported.
-Parallels Workstation 2.x (.pvs). Compressed disks are not supported. Parallels Virtuozzo Containers are not supported.
-Microsoft VHD format for the following sources:
-Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 and Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 (.vmc)
-Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 and 2005 R2 (.vmc)

I checked the websites of the first 3; all trial versions are higher than supported by Converter.

Kinda disappointed. Isn't my kind of scenario also relevant to Converter? Where the MB died, and you have the boot drive and want to pull off some info (like say, serial #s of programs, etc.) ?
 

mubs

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That's what I meant by saying "I checked the websites of the first 3; all trial versions are higher than supported by Converter". I don't already have any of these imaging programs.
 

MaxBurn

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Oh, didn't catch that. I'd pick one and try it anyway, unless they made major changes the images they support of the same file type are likely backwards compatible.
 

Howell

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Admittedly I normally use True Image and their plus pack but you might get some milage with this method.

https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Migrate_Windows

I think you you should still be able to dd a secondary drive from a linux boot disk if required but I'm not terribly familiar with dd.

Virtualbox can convert their own format to vmdx in a second step or possible all in one step.
 

jtr1962

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You could try booting from the old boot drive in your new machine and convert that way. You would probably need to do a repair install of XP for that but I don't see why it wouldn't work. In a bit of irony, I had planned to convert my existing install of XP to a VM after my new system was in the case. Fortunately, I went on the VMWare website to read about converting while my old A7N8X is still up and running. I'm glad I did given that converting a powered-on system was my only viable option. Yesterday, I converted my old XP install to a .vmdk file, copied it through the home network to my new system (which is running on my work table downstairs), installed player on the new system, and tried to see if it worked. Surprisingly, it worked on the first try. Earlier I had tried XP Mode on the new system but there were some issues, and it takes a long time to boot into an XP VM. It would have taken even longer to convert my existing XP install. Besides that, it seems XP Mode is buggy and slow like everything else from M$. With VM Player I can boot into my old XP install in under 30 seconds. It's nice having it as a security blanket so I can install the software I need on the new OS at my leisure (or just use the VM for the things I only use very infrequently).

One issue did pop up though. I can't run DOS programs in full screen in the VM even though they work fine on my existing XP install. My PCB layout problem uses 1024x1280 VESA driver. It seems VMPlayer doesn't support that. Even an old text-based word processor won't run in full screen. In fact, trying to run any DOS programs in full screen gives an NTVDM error. Anyone know of any workarounds? All the ones I've found online don't work for me. The odd thing is I can run both programs in full screen under Windows 7 by using DOSBox. The only issue here is I can't think of any way to associate a .pcb file with my pcb software so it opens under the pcb software. The just doesn't seem to be any way to do that using DOSBox. I had no trouble doing that in XP. The only thing I've been able to do so far is make a DOSBox shortcut which opens my pcb software. I still need to manually load whatever .pcb file I'll be working on which is a PITA given that I have separate folders for each project.

BTW, anyone know why VMPlayer even has the option use up to 64GB of RAM for XP VMs? Just for kicks I tried 8 GB but XP nevers sees more than 3 GB, so I went with that. I'm guessing VMPlayer doesn't bother to check if the VM is 32-bit or not when setting the options. No big deal here, but it seems like an oversight.
 

Mercutio

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The thingy I've found works well is Sysinternals Disk2VHD. VHDs are a standard image format that are used by tons and tons of Microsoft tools and everybody else supports using or converting them to a native format as well.
 

mubs

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Thanks guys. I'm going to try Disk2VHD first (I respect Sysinternals) and see where it takes me.
 

mubs

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Used Disk2VHD; it converted the OS partition to a .VHD (virtual disk) file. Converter cannot see that. So I downloaded Virtual PC 2007, which looked at it and created a 9kb .VMC file (cirtual PC VM).

Now Converter was able to see the .VMC and created a VMW VM. Player looks at this VM, tries to boot, then says operating system not found.

In Player I can Map the virtual disk to a drive letter in W7-64 and explore the contents. All the folders are there with their contents - Windows, Program files, etc. Root has boot.ini, ntldr, ntdetect.com, etc.

:rant:
 

MaxBurn

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I'd try a repair install but someone more adept at disk utilities might be able to do something with the boot sector MBR or something.
 

mubs

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There's about a 7 year difference in hardware. Repair install would be my last option.

I can't believe it's so hard to convert a physical m/c into a virtual one when the m/c is dead. Kinda defeats 50% of the purpose of Converter.
 

MaxBurn

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Given the difference in hardware maybe a repair install would be the first option, need to get it happy in the new hardware environment as well as booting.
 

mubs

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My understanding was that the old install would be happier in a VM rather than on the new physical machine.

Disconnecting my W64 drives, connecting only the old XP one, doing a repair install, installing the system drivers for the new hw into XP, etc. is quite a bit of work!
 

MaxBurn

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Oh no, do the repair install inside the VM.

I think you are almost there.
 

mubs

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Aah! I've misunderstood you all along; I thought you guys wanted me to do a repair on the physical image! I'll try the repair inside the VM. Thanks!

Late now, will try first thing in the morning.
 

Howell

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The thingy I've found works well is Sysinternals Disk2VHD. VHDs are a standard image format that are used by tons and tons of Microsoft tools and everybody else supports using or converting them to a native format as well.
Good find with that tool.

Interestingly, my VMware admin told me Converter was installed on one of our boxes and although I did not complete the conversion it looks like if you were to attach the old drive to your new computer you would be able to convert just the one drive, similar to the way Disk2VHD works.
 

mubs

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Good find with that tool.

Interestingly, my VMware admin told me Converter was installed on one of our boxes and although I did not complete the conversion it looks like if you were to attach the old drive to your new computer you would be able to convert just the one drive, similar to the way Disk2VHD works.
Not true. Converter will not see the OS boot partition on the old drive at all. You can convert a live (currently running OS on which Converter is installed) or you can convert a running OS that is on the network, or it has to be a VM.
 

mubs

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No luck so far.

For this VM, VMW Player always tries "Network Boot From AMD AM79C970A", which fails and results in an "Operating System not found" message. I then deleted the network adapter in the VM config, and it results immediately in the OS not found message.

I went into recovery console, tried chkdsk (ok) fixmbr (result ok), fixboot (result ok), same end results: try network boot & no os found, or no os found.

I did a repair install (Xp on top of XP), same results.
 

mubs

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The same problems are there in the Virtual PC VM. That means something has gone wrong in one or more of the following setps:

1) Copy of the boot partition (this is not the original)
2) Creation of the Virtual disk using the Sysinternals tool
3) Creation of the Virtual PC VM by Virtual PC by looking at the virtual HD

In the Virtual PC VM, when I type FixMBR in recovery console, it said the MBR and partition were non standard. So I think it is futile to persist taking this route.
 

Bozo

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VMWare converter will convert Acronis .tib files to VMWare Player or Workstation. You can download a free version of Acronis from Western Digital or Seagate. But you must have one of their drives installed. I have used a USB WD drive on a computer with a Hitachi drive installed and the WD version worked fine.
 

mubs

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Thanks Chewy and Bozo.

I tried restoring the XP boot image from an image backup I had and retried the disk2vhd/VirtualPC route, no dice. This route, for me anyway, is a dead-end.

I disconnected all my other drives and tried booting from the XP boot partition; saw the XP logo briefly, then got a Stop 007 error (disk access failure etc. because of wrong driver). Oddly, the drive concerned is a SATA drive, as was the original XP boot drive, so I fail to see what the problem was.

My current drives are Hitachi & Samsung, but I do have some WD externals, so I can try that route, Bozo.

I'll also look into your suggestion, Chewy.

At this time, I have spent way, way too much time trying to solve this. In a way, it's become a challenge. I hope my experiences will help someone save some frustration in the future.
 

MaxBurn

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When you converted it did you chose the SCSI disk controller? I have another thread about that ATA trap here somewhere.
 

mubs

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Not sure I understand.

Disk2VHD has no option for choosing the controller; only for specifying which drive you want converted to a VHD.

Virtual PC has no option to choose the type of controller. The CD/DVD drive can be switched between IDE Primary or Secondary, but that's about it.

My plan was to get the VM working in Virtual PC before I converted it to a VMW VM, but thus far I haven't been able to get it to work in VPC itself.
 

mubs

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No dice, Bozo.

I downloaded Acronis True Image WD Edition (Build 14.184) and ran it. VMW Converter says:

"The source parameters are invalid"

Don't know if it is because the source is corrupted (I doubt it) or because the Acronis version is different - VMW Converter supports only Acronis True Image Echo 9.1, 9.5, and Acronis True Image Home 10 and 11.

Chewy's method seems daunting to me. Scratching head.
 

Chewy509

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Since you're on Windows, there's a little bit of work involved.

1. You need to create a copy of the HDD as a raw image using 'dd' -
http://aeroquartet.com/movierepair/dd for windows

2. Convert this raw image into something that VMWare can use -
http://trainofthought.segfault.gr/2010/06/14/mounting-a-raw-dd-image-as-a-vmware-virtual-disk/
http://irhowto.wordpress.com/2010/07/05/booting-a-dd-image-with-vmware/
http://securitybraindump.blogspot.com.au/2011/05/virtualizing-raw-disk-images.html
http://www.ehow.com/how_5888207_convert-dd-image-vmware.html

3. Install/Update the drivers so the image doesn't crash in VMWare (See VMWare docs on this part).

That's about it...
 

mubs

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Thanks Chewy! Been busy with social stuff for the last couple of days, couldn't get back here.

My problem's SOLVED!

Maxburn, you da man!

On a lark, I reconverted the physical partition to VHD, built a basic Virtual PC 2007 with it, fed that to converter. Then following Max's advice, before turning it on, changed the disk type to SCSI. It booted fine on the first try! Why the heck should this be so difficult?

Mercutio's tip on Disk2VHD and Maxburn's on changing the disk type to SCSI in the VMWare VM before starting it were the key. Thanks, both of you!

Sorry I didn't try anybody else's method. Chewy's would have been the next one if I hadn't made any progress.

Thanks all!
 

mubs

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For anybody going this route in the future with a dead PC and a working boot partition:

1) Attach the drive to your system, and boot your system to its native OS, taking care NOT to boot into the OS you want to convert to a VM. If this does happen, you may be fried, as happened with me, but I had an image of the boot partition that I restored, so this problem got solved for me.

2) Use SysInternals Disk2VHD to convert the OS you want to convert to a VM into a VHD (virtual hard disk). The only inputs Disk2VHD will accept are the partition to convert and the destination path and filename for the output. Thanks Mercutio!

3) Use Virtual PC 2007 to create a new basic VM, and when the wizard gets to the disk, select "Use an existing Virtual Disk" and point it to the VHD created in step 2.

4) Start VMWare Converter. Select "convert other / 3rd party VM" and point it to the VM created in step 3. Provide additional input (type, where to create VM, etc.) and let converter do its job.

5) Open the VMWare VM created in step 4 with VMWare Player and EDIT the VM configuration. This step is very important, and what got my VM working. Change the disk type to SCSI.

6) You can change other params as well, like how much RAM to allot the VM.

7) Start the VM.

I had to reactivate Windows XP since I got a message that the hardware had changed too much. The OS in question was a retail copy, so reactivation wasn't a problem.
 

MaxBurn

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Good to hear. This is likely going to be a common thing in years to come.
 

jtr1962

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Thanks for the detailed step-by-step procedure, mubs. I have an old Windows 98 PC which I very occasionally boot into just to see what software is on it which might be useful. I'll turn it into another VM on my new PC to add to the growing collection (my current XP stall, DOS 6.22, XP clean install, Ubuntu 7.10). I also want to make a VM of the latest version of Ubuntu.
 

mubs

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jtr, you may want to download SysInternals Disk2VHD and Virtual PC 2007 right now; who knows when versions will change and Converter may not be able to work with the output of the the new version.

Od course I have them saved and can provide them through a file upload/download service. Disk2VHD is less than 2MB (in typical SysInternals fashion) and VPC 2007 is ~ 32MB.
 
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