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Windows 7: Moving win7-Pro to a Virtual Machine

22 May 2014   #1

Win7 Starter
Moving win7-Pro to a Virtual Machine

Hi All,

I have a 2007 Acer laptop that I no longer use that has win7-Pro. I also have VMware Player running XP for some old software I still need to refer to from time to time. Given the continual exploits being found in XP, I'd like to create a VM using the now unused win7pro and transfer the XP programs that I need to a win7 VM.

I did not get a win CD with the laptop, it only has a recovery partition. is there some way I can create a VM from that laptop drive?

I tried doing an image of it and converting that to a VHD which kind of worked as I am able to mount it with my win8.1 laptop Drive Management, but the ability to use some programs is very limited. I tried installing VirtualBox to run the VHD, but it immediately trashed it and made it unreadable for win8.1. No real surprises there.

I also tried using the VMWare Converter on the VHD but that too failed.

Does anyone have some suggestions for re-purposing the win7 on my current laptop in a VM?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2014   #2

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers

Hi there
Apart from having to re-activate it converting a PHYSICAL to a VIRTUAL machine (P2V) is usually very simple rather than the OTHER way around (much more complex).

(Just activate by phone if any probs - just say moving W7 to a new machine - don't tell them anything about Virtual machines !!!)

Also DO NOT activate until you are satisfied with the VM configuration settings -- you get 30 days on W7 before you have to activate anyway.

I see you already tried the VMware converter and it failed.

perhaps the next best thing is simply to INSTALL it as a new virtual machine.

Here's another idea though if you have ACRONIS or other Disk imaging software.

1) Backup EXISTING PHYSICAL machine.
2) create bootable ISO image of acronis.
3) Create a NEW VM with sufficient disk space (virtual disk space) BUT DO NOT CREATE / INSTALL THE OS. Ensure disk(s) are initialized too -- you can do that with GPARTED - create an ISO image and boot the newly created VM from the ISO image - in the VM settings you can also specify an iso image as a "virtual CD/ DVD device".
4) Now restore the backup image you created to the Virtual machine's HDD -- boot from the iso image you made in step 2. Acronis has a universal restore feature which allows restoring to a different hardware set so it should create a bootable W7 system.

8) boot the VM -- if the first time it gives you a BSOD simply start "repair system" from the W7 install disk (either boot the VM from a physical device or an ISO image). Usually though creating a Virtual machine from an existing physical machine won't fail on boot - the hardware set is much more limited than the original !!!

9) once the VM has booted install VMWARE tools.

(If you don't have ACRONIS then any decent imaging program should work - it's better if it HAS the Universal Restore feature which allows you to restore an image to DIFFERENT hardware - but if you don't a normal restore should work. You'll get a few messages maybe at boot time and you might have to install the odd driver but it should boot).

Again don't activate until you've configured the VM how you want it - you should have 30 days before activation is required.

Things like Ms office might want re-activation too -- same again - don't re-activate until you are happy with the config.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2014   #3

Win7 Starter

Thanks Jimbo, I appreciate the amount of detail you went into. I will print that out and give it a try.

I don't have Acronis, but will check for a free trial version as it is not something I would use often enough to buy as I use the free version of Reflect for images etc. Office will not be an issue as the old software is non-msoft stuff and mostly stuff I have written myself for preparing files for CNC machines.

Because of the security "features" built into win8 these programs will not run without tossing errors all the time as I need to access some pretty low level CPU functions. That must be what's called progress, eh? :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec


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