Converting Physical x64 Machine to Virtual (Windows 7/Server 2008 R2): Microsoft – 1 : VMware – 0

Being an old fan of VMware products (in particular, the fact that I can run VMware VMs on my MacBook, as well as on Wintel desktop), I found myself utterly disappointed this week, when I tried to convert my physical Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 into a virtual instance.

The latest version of VMware Converter kept crashing on me at the start of the conversion process with the error: “Unable to create a VSS snapshot of the source volume(s).”
More disappointingly, even according to press releases VMware vCenter Converter – the latest and greatest version of VMware Converter, officially doesn’t support Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 editions (its latest version at the moment is 4.0.1 and dated 2009-12-08).

After a few failed attempts with VMware, I decided to look at Microsoft offerings. Even though, I couldn’t find an official Microsoft converter product, I found something better – a Sysinternals utility Disk2vhd, which can create a virtual hard disk (VHD) out of running physical image.

The most impressive part that the whole process of converting my running 60G RAID-0 hard drive array took only a couple of minutes, with minimal configuration effort – no heavy installation or complex user-interface interactions. All I had to do is select a check box with the volume(s), which needs to be converted and that’s it. Systinternals delivered an impressive utility once again! Kudos to Microsoft for keeping Sysinternals brand alive and bringing new useful tools.


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