Converting Your Laptop or PC into a Virtual Machine

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VMwareWorkstation

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone

Over the last few months, I’ve been passively looking for a way to capture an image of my old Vista laptop that wouldn’t be too time-consuming or a hassle. While researching some documentation on VMware’s website, I came across their free VMware vCenter Converter. As listed on their website the VMware vCenter Converter:

• Converts Microsoft Windows and Linux-based physical machines and third-party image formats to VMware virtual machines
• Completes multiple conversions simultaneously with a centralized management console
• Has an easy-to-use wizards to minimize the number of steps to conversion

The product lets you convert from a few different environments other than a physical machine. You can capture an image from Microsofts Hyper-V or VMware ESX server.

I couldn’t find too much documentation on how to use the product but after downloading it I realized why….it’s really easy.

A link to the free download can be found here.

Once you have downloaded and installed the VMware vCenter Converter, the home screen gives you a few simple options. Choose the Convert Machine button in the top left corner.

Convert Machine

A new window will open prompting you to choose the source of your image. I chose Powered-on machine since I was running the converter from the Vista machine I was capturing the image from. I specified This local machine as the powered-on machine.

Convert Machine

Click Next.

The select destination screen is now shown.

Convert Machine

For Select destination type, I selected VMware Workstation or other VMware virtual machine since I’ll be running the Vista machine on VMware Workstation.

I selected VMware Workstation 7.0x as the VMware product

Type a name for your virtual machine.

Select a location for your virtual machine. I selected an external drive to run the machine off of.

Click Next.

A new screen listing the options for your new machine is shown. What you choose to do here depends on your knowledge of VMware, the hardware you will be running the new machine on, and your preferences. You are able to adjust options such as the CPU, amount of RAM and how your NIC(s) will be used. I kept the default settings and adjusted them when the machine was installed in my VMware Workstation.

Click Next.

The final screen allows you to review your choices.

Click Finish.

My old laptop has a 300GB hard drive, 3GB of RAM and a dual-core CPU and took about 5 hours to convert onto an external hard drive with a USB 2.0 connection. Once added to my VMware Workstation on my new laptop and powered up, the virtual machine recognized that it needs to update its drivers. Have your drivers available or be prepared to locate the drivers that the virtual machine needs or you may end up with a BSOD on your new virtual machine.