How to convert a running dual boot laptop to virtual machine

It is not as easy as it sounds. Many have already done this easily and many have failed. After many trials and errors, finally I found a way.

Here is the problem: I had a laptop running Windows 7 and Windows 2003 server in dual boot mode. I wanted to virtualize the W2K3 part only. The hard disk was split into 3 parts. In windows 7, you’d be able to see them all, as c:, d: and e:. In W2K3, you could only see two drives c: (e: from Win 7) and d: (d: from Win 7). The portion which served as c: was not visible in W2K3.

First of all, I tried the VMware vCenter Converter . I ran it from Win 2K3, as my goal was to have a virtual machine of that system only. After close to 5 hours, my vmdk file was ready to be attached to VMWare (system was huge – almost 300GB). When I tried to attach and start the machine, it gave me BSOD. I wasted 1 day in resolving the error, but to no gain.

Then I tried to convert from Win 7 system, as suggested somewhere through the vCenter Converter. This time, after a wait of 5 hours, I was able to boot my vmdk successfully in Win 7. But when I tried to boot in Win 2K3, to my horror, I got the same BSOD again!!

Confused, and frustrated, I again tried to resolve the error, but to no results.

Then I moved to disk2vhd . It’s a very small download, and very fast conversion. The problem is that it creates .vhd/.vhdx files that again needs to be converted to vmdk to be used with VMWare. Anyways, as a drowning man catches at a straw, I had no other option.

I booted into W2K3 and started the conversion to .vhdx using disk2vhd. It took around 1 hour. I then started the conversion from .vhdx to .vmdk using StarWind V2V Image Converter. This took some time, but my concern was not the time, but the result. I loaded the resulting vmdk in VMWare and fired up the machine, and you guessed it right! It didn’t work!!!

Luckily I have a Hyper V host available. I thought of giving it a try, as I have the .vhdx files. I loaded the files and created the machine. To my surprise, it worked! My W2K3 system was running correctly! Only problem was that it was showing dual boot option on startup. I booted the machine from recovery disc iso and run the fixmbr and fixboot commands. This solved the dual boot problem too!

So, this is how I converted my physical dual boot laptop to virtual machine.


Author: ashishtilak

I am happy go lucky kinda person. Always smiling and making people smile. Luv every thing life has to offer. And, I am a software engg. too, working at a manufacturing company. See more about myself in my blogs.

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