How to convert Physical machines into Virtual machines

vmwareSometimes you will already have an established server, that was installed the old-fashioned way using physical hardware.  Wouldn't it be great to simply convert it into a shiny new virtual machine?

This process can be applied to physical machines, VMware vms, VMware Consolidated Backups, Microsoft VirtualPCs, Symantec LiveState Recovery Images, Acronis True Image Backup, StorageCraft ShadowStor, Parallels Virtualization Products and Hyper-V virtual machines.

This article shows you how to do it, using VMware Converter version 5.0.


Start by downloading the VMware vCenter Converter Standalone.

You will need to create a VMware account if you haven't already.



Installing is a simple matter of running the downloaded .exe file, on your Windows desktop.  I used Windows XP, but I expect it'll work on Win 7 as well.

  1. Click Run to the Warning dialog box.
  2. Choose a Language.
  3. Click Next on the Welcome screen.
  4. And Next again on the Patent screen.
  5. Agree to the Terms and click Next.
  6. Leave the default Destination folder, and click Next.
  7. Choose Local installation to manage P2V operations from this local machine.
  8. Click Install to begin the installation.
  9. Click Finish to close the dialog box, and start the P2V application.



Creating your first P2V is called converting, here are the steps involved.

  1. Start the VMware vCenter Converter Standalone application.
  2. Click the Convert machine button.
  3. Select the appropriate Source type.
  4. Enter an IP address of the machine being converted.
  5. Enter a Username and Password of an administrator account for the machine being converted.
  6. Leave the default settings to Automatically uninstall the files when import succeeds.
  7. Enter the IP address for your VM host that will host your newly converted machine.
  8. Enter the Username and Password for the same host.
  9. Click Ignore if you get a certificate warning.
  10. Click Next to keep default Name for your server.
  11. Click Next to confirm the Destination details.
  12. Edit any Options as applicable (eg. you might want to reduce memory allocation, and increase disk space).
  13. Click Finish on the Summary screen, to start the conversion.

This is a remarkably efficient process and doesn't take too long, even on a 100MBit LAN.

Your newly converted machine is in a powered off state, so all you have to do now is turn off your old physical machine, and turn on the new virtualised one.


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