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Windows 7: a tricky one

29 Aug 2009   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate (x64)
a tricky one

alright, this one may be for the more advanced here, but basically here is the spill, any help i would love, as i'm kinda stuck with it.

i have a 500gb RAID0 volume. one of the partitions (my Windows XP partition) i want to convert to VHD and be able to run in with virtual PC (windows 7 version, of course). i have tried a couple of methods:

1) used acronis true image to image the partition, then used its "convert to VHD" option. well, after it converts, the VHD file is 20GB. When I try to create a Virtual PC machine using this HD, it says the hard drive is over 120GB and cannot be used in IDE mode. (The reason behind this is that acronis sets the VHD "total size" to the total size of the RAID volume, 465GB, instead of the size of the actual 30GB partition with 20GB used). so acronis was a no go, i couldn't successfully edit things to change the drive to "scsi mode"

2) failing that, i realized something; that windows 7 backups are VHD files. perfect, i thought. we'll see what it does. i did a system backup of the drive, and I end up with a 20GB VHD, and it's the correct partition size! woohoo! well... create my virtual machine... boot up... "A disk read error occurred, press ctrl+alt+del to reboot", right off the bat. so i mounted the VHD through disk management, set the VHD to active.. maybe that was the prob... nope. same deal... disk read error. tried to boot into recovery console using my XP disk and running FIXBOOT, FIXMBR, etc.. hoping it would fix any problems there, it didn't.

here's the catch... virtualbox runs the first image, the one virtual PC screams is too big (and was created with acronis). the second one gives the disk read error in virtualbox and just hangs at a non-blinking cursor right after POST. after running all the fixmbr and fixboot stuff, i'm able to get to the same place with virtual pc... frozen "_" at the top of the screen right after post.

i know the simple solution... just use virtualbox.. i suppose if i HAD to, i could, but i would really prefer using Virtual PC to run it.

my end goal is basically making an image of my old Windows XP partition, and be able to run it in a virtual machine so that I can delete the actual partition and have a useable archived copy.

does anyone have any insight on what i can do to get this thing to boot?

just some extra info, when mounted in disk management, the acronis converted one shows as a 30GB partition, then 430GB or so of unallocated space.

i think i did or was going to try copying over and using the program in the \boot folder of the win7 cd to force it to write NTLDR, i don't know if it is failing because it's seeing it as a raid disk and bails, or if the mbr/boot sector is screwed up because it was imaged from a system with the win7 boot loader, not the old pre-vista loader.

any help, suggestions... please? i'm about ready to go nuts over this one!

i either need one of things accomplished... (or maybe something i haven't thought of)

1) *ideal -- make the acronis image show the total size as less than 120GB aka remove that extra unallocated space...
if you try to 'convert to fixed disk', you can only expand it to the 'total size', which means it would just balloon the vhd up to 400GB+.. not what i want

2) make the windows backup VHD so it is bootable somehow. i dont know if acronis does something special that made it bootable... i can't test that theory in virtual pc cause it wont even let me select that as the hard drive to use, it just says it's too big for the ide bus.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2009   #2

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers

Hi there
I think the VMWARE CONVERTER can convert between various virtual image formats including P2V (Physical to Virtual) which is what you are trying to do with your Windows XP partition.

Once you've create the vm you can use VMWARE PLAYER (free) to run it.

Using QEMU you can create and change virtual machines so you don't need to buy vmware workstation - however out of all these VM products I think vmware - especially the latest version beats all the others hands down for speed and configurability.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2009   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Jimbo already said it, but I was going to suggest the VMWare converter tool as well. It's a free download and can convert physical machines into virtual machines. I've used it numerous times. Works great.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

29 Aug 2009   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate (x64)

excellent.. thanks for the replies! i'm gonna give it a shot and see what happens.. thanks again


wow, this program looks great.. i'm glad you two pointed it out to me, i never knew it existed... especially as a free product! to be honest, vmware has always kind of intimidated me.. i think not because of virtualization concepts, but because of their huge lineup of products and naming of them is very confusing at first.. looking at like.. which do i need we have ESX, ACE, client/server, this, that... my first thought was man... i don't even know wtf all this stuff is for. i guess, little did i realize most of the stuff is enterprise level software, and all a home user really needs is just the vmware workstation i'd assume -- i have tried it before, and i did realize immediately that it was a very robust program, compared to something like virtual pc or virtual box. that kind of made me worry about resources though... i suppose that i made the assumption that simpler software = less resources used. i mean... my computer isn't top of the line, core 2 duo 2.4ghz w/ 4gb memory (just recently upgraded from 2gb for the Win7 install). so i guess i just didn't want to be running this hog of a program grinding my PC to a halt and installing all these extra virtual adapters and bridge drivers on my host machine, etc.

but i'm gonna d/l the trial and give it another shot, see how it works out.. i do find virtual PC and the other ones lacking in features, for sure... which i think vmware includes all of them. i'll give it a shot and let you guys know what i think.


well, unfortunately, i converted the acronis TIB backup file over to VMware format, and then booted it up, and got a blue screen. so obviously i have to use acronis universal restore on it to strip the old HAL/drivers away.. and that explains why one boots and one doesn't. only prob is.. my acronis won't run on win7.. stops it with an incompatibility block. so i had to install it in XP mode. so far i have 2 hours remaining heh.. i think it took 10 mins max last time non-virtualized. oh well. patience. the only other thing i have thought of is to create a new fixed size VHD, mount it via disk management, then mount this acronis VHD that's converting right now... and use a disk cloning program to copy only the active 30GB partition over to it. that'll resize it. tried to use gparted inside of a VM to resize it and it didn't work, etc.. what a huge pain to do

btw, the 'physical machine' didn't work, it said i had to back up both the old xp partition as well as the new windows 7 one or else the machine wouldn't boot. i doubt it would anyways, considering the raid drivers, etc.

i'm gonna give this one more go, i'll go from acronis image -> VHD and then also i'll make acronis create a VMware format image... then i'll see what boots and what doesn't, cause i've spent waaay too many hours fooling with this. i could just take the xp partition and dump it to a physical hard drive.

i can't wait until virtualization hits its peak.. i know it's just now really starting to pick up as a viable, real-world solution (even though it has been around a long time).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2010   #5

Windows 7

Eveytime I install the VMPlayer, i loose my fingerprint reader, and have to use System Restore to go back to before I installed that. I am having an issue with the overall size of my VHD file, while it is only 55gb, the partition is showing it as 148gb. Virtualbox will run it without issue, but Windows 7's Vm wont. I have another post here: VM but not XP mode if someone wants to jump in and assist.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 a tricky one

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