Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Converting a Physical PC to VM with VMWare Converter

When the software I'm working on is installed on the PC which is later shipped to the client, the PC has an exact configuration and the operating system is set up in a certain way, which is precisely documented. To make sure every workstation has exactly the same configuration, the images of the hard disk partitions are created once and then copied over to every PC. There are cases, however, when the same configuration needs to be applied to the Virtual Machine - for example, to simplify some of the testing tasks. In this case the desired action is to use the preconfigured PC and to convert it to the Virtual Machine. Since we use the VMWare products, the tool that I use also comes from VMWare and it's called VMware vCenter Converter (aka vConverter Standalone).

To start with, I downloaded and installed VMware vCenter Converter (aka vConverter Standalone). In my case, Local installation was sufficient. In local mode I can only create and manage conversion tasks from the PC on which I install the converter. The client-server installation allows to create and manage conversion tasks remotely in case you need that.

Choose "Local Installation".

Two important configurations have to be set up on the source PC (the PC that is converted to VM) before the conversion starts. First, file sharing has to be disabled.

Turn off file sharing

Also, the Windows firewall has to be disabled.

Disable Windows Firewall

You should also check some other things, such as the Windows version being supported, network access, no other conversion jobs running on the source machine and no VMware Converter installations existing on the source PC. After all that is taken care of, I ran the client application. In the application, I selected Convert machine and filled in the details.

Source PC details

When the connection succeeded, I saw the following message. Just to make sure that I will not forget to remove the agent and to free myself from extra hassle, I chose the automatic version.

Select the uninstallation method for Converter Standalone

Next step was to provide the location where the virtual machine will be saved.

Destination System

Next step was to select what I wanted to copy. I wanted to copy the whole machine, with one small exclusion: there was a disk drive that only contained some backup data and was irrelevant. So it was possible to save some time and disk space this way. I unchecked the drive I was not interested in. If you are an advanced user, you can apply further configuration changes.

Conversion task options

Uncheck the hard disk

Next step was to review the details and press Finish. Everything went well and a job was be added to the list, displaying some details and estimated time to completion. Now all I needed was some patience.

Conversion task

When the conversion task was complete, I opened the newly created VM.

Open Virtual Machine

I got a warning message, which, I assumed, was related to the fact that VMWare tools were not yet installed. After I installed the tools later, I never saw the warning again.

Warning message

Finally the VMWare tools improve graphic performance on the guest PC. So the last step was to install them.

Install VMWare tools

In my case, a message appeared and I did exactly as it advised - on the VM, logged in and ran E:\setup.exe from the command prompt. The installation started and I followed the prompts until VMWare tools were installed.

VMWare message

by . Also posted on my website

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