Convert phisical PC to Virtual Machine

Discussion in 'Virtual PC' started by Pedro Gonçalves, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. Hi,

    I'm a software developer and I just purchased a new PC.

    I already configured all I think of, but my expirence tells me that there's
    always something missing!

    I think the best would be to convert my old machine to a Virtual PC machine.
    That way I always can use my old environment if I need it in the future.

    Does anyone knows how to do it? Free tools would be better...
    (step by step or documentation is a must)

    Pedro Gonçalves
    Pedro Gonçalves, Feb 28, 2008
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  2. Take a look at Acronis TrueImage. They have a 15-day trial license that could get
    the job done for you, and might even convince you it's a worthwhile tool to have
    around. Basically, you need to install it, make an image of your drive, restore
    that image to a VHD, and create a new VM that uses this VHD. You may need to run a
    repair on the VM "installation" when you first boot it up.
    You want a pillow with that, too? <LOL>
    Karl E. Peterson, Feb 28, 2008
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  3. Pedro Gonçalves

    Jim Kay Guest

    You will also need the "Universal Restore" feature which allows you to
    create a VHD. It also allows you to restore to a different real machine and
    it will update the HAL so it's bootable. (I don't know of any other way to
    do this.) Think about how really cool that is!

    Universal Restore is great--but right now, it won't work with ATA
    controllers. I have had an open case with them on this since December 2007.

    Jim Kay
    Jim Kay, Feb 29, 2008
  4. Pedro Gonçalves

    Jack Guest

    Have you tried using Ghost, Jim?

    Jack, Feb 29, 2008
  5. Pedro Gonçalves

    ohaya Guest


    Sorry to jump in, but doesn't an "in-place repair" do that? I know that
    that takes awhile (maybe longer than a clean install), but I've done
    this on several occasions, both moving a physical drive to a different
    physical machine, and restoring a partition from a physical drive to a VHD.

    ohaya, Mar 1, 2008
  6. Pedro Gonçalves

    Jim Kay Guest

    Ghost, as far as I know, will not update an image to support a different HAL
    or a different boot controller. Only Universal Restore does that.

    Jim Kay, Mar 2, 2008
  7. Pedro Gonçalves

    Jack Guest

    --snip ---
    Karl, can you please elaborate more on 'restore that image to a VHD' ????
    How to do that without having Virtual Machine?
    Jack, Mar 3, 2008
  8. Pedro Gonçalves

    Jack Guest

    Will that 'Universal Restore' work with Acronis True Image Home, Jim?
    I think I need that.
    I have just restored my dual boot system to guest, but none of OS will
    1 boot is WinXP and 2nd boot is Vista Home.
    The boot manager is there in guest. I can select either OS to boot but after
    that I have black screen and not action.

    Jack, Mar 3, 2008
  9. Pedro Gonçalves

    Bo Berglund Guest

    Maybe like this then:

    You create a new virtual machine with a new empty virtual hard disk of
    suitable size.
    Then you boot this with the Acronis boot CD and go from there.
    Most likely you need the Acronis system to be able to access the disk
    image file on the host via the network, which is spossible with Ghost.
    But I don't know if Acronis can do that, you have to check with them.

    Another way is to create a working virtual machine with for example XP
    installed. Then install Acronis in that virtual machine.
    Then also install the Virtual Machine Additions in this guest so that
    you can enable the shared folders for this guest.
    Next attach the virtual disk you created for the new guest above to
    the XP "utility guest" (in the guest settings with the guest switched
    Now you could start up your XP guest and then share the host folder
    containing the disk image and then fire up Acronis inside the guest.
    Then restore the image to the second (empty) drive in the guest.

    When it all finishes you shut down the XP guest and disconnect the
    virtual disk from it and then you start up the first guest, now with a
    virtual disk containing the restored image.

    Bo Berglund
    Bo Berglund, Mar 3, 2008
  10. I find it to be a confusing UI, myself. I'm using "Acronis True Image Echo
    Workstation with Acronis Universal Restore" here.

    Under the Tools menu, there's an option, "Convert Backup To Virtual Disk", which
    fires off a wizard that does just that. Once you have the VHD, it's simple to add a
    new VM that points to it.
    Karl E. Peterson, Mar 3, 2008
  11. Pedro Gonçalves

    Jack Guest

    Thank you both Bo and Karl.
    I am going to try Acronis True Image Echo Workstation with Acronis Universal
    Acronis True Image Home ver.11 which I have apparently cannot do that
    Just I wonder how to do it in my case.
    I have a dual boot system (XP & Vista) and I want to take the image of Vista
    which is on drive D and put it on C drive in guest (it could be D:\ if
    necessary) but what about boot manager which sits on C:\ .
    How to clone that?
    Jack, Mar 3, 2008
  12. That surprises me, actually. I don't have that version, so I can't say, but I
    thought I knew of folks using it for that.
    This too, I'm unsure about, as I only recently bought it to deal with a specific
    case I had here. One thing I will say is, their sales/support staff is extremely
    eager to talk about the problems and point in the right direction, hoping for a
    Karl E. Peterson, Mar 3, 2008
  13. Pedro Gonçalves

    Bo Berglund Guest

    When you boot to the Vista image, what will the system drive be?
    If it is C: as seen from within Vista my guess is that you could try
    to restore that image as a C: main drive inside a VPC guest.
    But if it boots up and shows its system drive as D: then you are
    probably toast. THen you need to clone the complete dual-boot system
    and you will have a guest that dual-boots too...
    Bo Berglund, Mar 4, 2008
  14. Thanks Karl!

    Your tip helped but didn't solve my problem.

    I downloaded the Acronis True Image Echo Workstation, the one thatr permit
    to convert a backup file to a VHD.
    I made a full backup. Then converted it to a Virtual PC virtual disk. In
    this convertions I had about 4 errors regarding a service... I don't remember
    exactly but at the time I thought it would be ok.
    (By the way, the Acronis True Image seams very cool ands useful).

    I created a new virtual machine using that disk, and at first time I used
    the repair option (after selected new installation as first option in the
    install CD of Win XP).
    But after copied all files it freezes at "Saving configuration..."!
    I'm not sure were the problem has it's origin.

    My virtual disk has 74GB. Is that a problem?

    So, I'm now having the same aproach using diferent tools. I another thread
    of this newsgroup I saw that someone solve his problem using VMware
    Converter, to convert physical machine to a VMware virtual machine, and then
    using vmToolKit converter to convert from VMware format to VPC format.

    Let's see it it works... I'll came back soon.

    Pedro Gonçalves
    Pedro Gonçalves, Mar 5, 2008
  15. Hi,

    This last approach result in the same!

    Well, not the same, I think. It stopped at "Saving configurations..." so I
    left a couple of hours and when I look at it is was restarting!
    So, it's fair to assume that the other way would result the same if I had
    pacience enought.

    But on starting Windows XP it breaks with a blue screen "BAD_POOL_CALLER".
    The technical infoemation is: "*** STOP: 0X000000C2 (0X00000007, 0X00000CD4,
    0X00720067, 0XF8A5F4A8)"

    I can't enter Windows in Safe Mode because it says that can run in safe mode
    while installing...
    So, What can I do? Is there a way to solve this problem?

    Pedro Gonçalves
    Pedro Gonçalves, Mar 6, 2008
  16. Pedro Gonçalves

    Jack Guest

    Have you succeded in creating at least one, living virtual machine Karl?
    I am trying and trying, using WinXP disk and WinVista disk and I am unable
    to port them to virtual machine by any method:
    by image or by ceating vhd disk as you did.
    Jack, Mar 6, 2008
  17. Absolutely. I've done it with both 2000 and 2000 Server machines, as they were
    retiring. Wanted to keep virtual ghosts of them, for future reference.
    I haven't tried with the newer, more nazi, operating systems that incorporate
    activation. But I'm positive others here have, as they were the ones who encouraged
    me to go the Acronis route. I don't know if activation is getting in your way, or
    what. It's "just worked" for me, though. Have you tried asking Acronis about it?
    As I said, they seem *highly* motivated to help you succeed, more so than nearly any
    company whose trial products I've used at any point in recent memory.
    Karl E. Peterson, Mar 6, 2008
  18. Jack:

    Too late for you now, maybe, but this is why I always recommend to use a 3rd
    party boot manager like BootIT NG. This allows each OS to be on its own
    partition together with all its boot files. Each OS sees itself as being
    installed on the C drive, and any image you take of it will be self-contained.
    David Wilkinson, Mar 13, 2008
  19. Dave, have you used BootIt NG for booting Vista?
    How about a multi-boot mixture of Vista and XP or Linux?
    If so, which version of BootIt NG?

    Timothy Daniels, Mar 15, 2008
  20. Pedro Gonçalves

    Lyle Guest

    Pedro and others concerned,

    A VM or VPC environment is not usually close enough to the physical hardware
    to allow for seamless conversion. Differences in the various kernel attached
    drivers in the real physical machine will cause most modern OS to hang or
    crash. As an example, if your real system uses a modern low level RAID HDD
    controller, migration to a single ATA simulated VPC environment may cause an
    inability to find startup files or a crash/hang. Their are no conversion
    utilities that can account for all of these potential conflicts.

    In some of the XP cases listed in this thread, repair installations can
    finish the conversion, but not in all of these cases. There are many hardware
    setups that cannot be repaired when moved to another system environment. VM
    or VPC is another system environment. Your milage will definitely vary and no
    vendor is likely to provide the support you are seeking.
    Lyle, Mar 18, 2008
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