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Turning a Physical Machine into a Virtual Machine

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This morning my work laptop died a horrible and painful death. Suffice it to say that burning smell was not the smell of bacon on the pan but rather my poor work laptop melting internally.

Luckily, I was able to pull out the hard drive and plug it in elsewhere to ensure that I hadn’t lost any hard drive data. What little fortune I had today was in discovering that the hard disk itself was fine.

This left me with a dead computer, a good hard drive, and no way to run the drive.

CaptureEnter P2V. Using WinImage or any other tool that can convert a drive into a .VHD file, I managed to create an image of my notebook’s drive into a standard VHD.

At this point you may have read about HAL issues when using the VHD, blue screens and other horrific stuff. I was able to ignore all of these issues simply by creating a virtual machine in VirtualBox (not VMWare, Virtual Server or Hyper-V). VirtualBox now supports VHDs, so it’s simply a matter of creating a new VM, and using your VHD as an existing drive.

I was able to boot up without problems, and Windows 7 in the VM automatically downloaded all the new drivers I needed (such as the VM audio card, network card, etc.). Installing virtual additions also works. It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Written by art

November 11th, 2009 at 7:45 pm