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Eric Hammersley <insert impressive list of technology to blog about here>

They’ve done it again.

The date on this tool is a few months ago but I just found it yesterday.  VMware offers for free download a virtual machine importer that will convert your Virtual PC and Virtual Server machines into VMware machines.  How cool is that?

Of course the first thing I tried to convert…VSTS Beta 2 VPC from MSDN.  Now, I don’t know if this is covered in the EULA for the VPC they distributed but I don’t intend on using it, I just want to see if it worked.  :-)  It did!

Download the Virtual Machine Importer tool from VMware and install it.  Now, unpack a fresh VPC image of VSTS, or what ever you want to convert.  You will have to remove the ReadOnly flag from the vhd file once it is unpacked since they created it with undo disks.  If you do not use a fresh copy of the VSTS image it will not convert because the tool won’t touch Undo disks.  Use a fresh copy or if you are using another image commit your undo disks prior to the conversion.

If you are converting for use in VMware 5 you can just run the Virtual Machine Importer and choose Typical.  If you want the image to be converted into something compatible with GSX, ESX or Workstation 4.5 then you need to choose Custom.  Answer a few questions and off it goes.  Once complete you have the VSTS Beta 2 image working in a VMware VM.  Pretty cool stuff.  Don’t forget to install your VMtools once the server is up and running.  Also, Workstation v5 will give a warning about the SCSI driver in Windows Server 2003 and where to download a copy of the driver to install on the server.  I did not see this as necessary.  Actually the VMware SCSI driver the server has installed is newer than the one you download.  Oh well.

Two big things to note here.

  • It will invalidate Windows Activation because it detects it as a major hardware change.  I’m not sure if it does that with all the VMs or just the VSTS one I converted.  Try and see.  You can always just erase it. 
  • I do not know if the EULA for the VSTS Beta 2 VPC image allows for this conversion nor do I condone it.  I’m merely using it as an example to illustrate the functionality of the tool with an image that most IT pros and Devs at the moment can relate to.

Also, if you haven’t tried their P2V Assistant tool it is quite awesome.  It can take a Physical (P) machine and convert it into (2) a Virtual (V) machine.  :-)  Great for those rebuilds and server migration / upgrades.  Check it out.  Unlike above it is not free however I believe there is some sort of trial.  You’ll have to check it out yourself.

Posted on Thursday, August 4, 2005 10:53 AM Software | Back to top


Comments on this post: VMware Virtual Machine Importer - What a great idea!

# re: VMware Virtual Machine Importer - What a great idea!
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Excellent - I imported a Virtual Server image into GSX server works a dream!
Left by Rick on Feb 24, 2006 7:26 AM

# re: VMware Virtual Machine Importer - What a great idea!
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Yes, it is a great tool. Their new VMWare Server line that they are offering for FREE will include this functionality builtin.
Left by Eric Hammersley on Feb 24, 2006 7:33 AM

# re: VMware Virtual Machine Importer - What a great idea!
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Works well but what happens with any vhd drives afterwards that were not included in the initial machine settings.
Do you have to go back to the beggining, include it and start conversion again?
Left by Fred on Jul 01, 2006 10:55 PM

# re: VMware Virtual Machine Importer - What a great idea!
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tres bonne idée
Left by devoteam on Jan 16, 2007 5:10 AM

# re: VMware Virtual Machine Importer - What a great idea!
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Now this is a real piece of work. You know why? Because VPC is having a bad bug where it sucks the CPU usage when I launch my XP Home Edition, but now, I shall give a try to the same virtual machine but on VMWare without the need to reinstall XP Home.
Totally marvelous and a brilliant idea as well.

Those who commented have also brilliant minds because they thought of it :D :-)
Left by Zeratul on Mar 13, 2007 3:33 PM

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