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I fear I have an impending hardware breakdown coming ... the last time the box booted I had to power off and on a couple times before Windows loaded. Seems fine when up and running. So I'm preparing to install new hardware and would like to bring over the currently installed image.

From what I've read of VM capabilities of VM I shouldn't have to re-install? VM seems most applicable to data centers and enterprises. I'd like to see some coverage of the tricks for SOHO users.

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Are you using virtual machines? It sounds like you have a copy of Windows 7 on a physical machine with failing hardware? –  ta.speot.is May 22 '10 at 12:38
    
Right...just getting started with VM in general. Running win7 pro 32. –  justSteve May 22 '10 at 13:05

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If you are using virtual pc microsoft provides a utility called disk2vhd that will convert a live drive to a virtual hard drive(vhd) - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/ee656415.aspx

If you are using one of vmware's products they provide vmware converter that will convert physical computer to a virtual computer.

It sounds more like you would want to create a image backup of your hard drive. Assuming you're just going to replace your hard drive this would probably be the best option. There are several tools to do this. A couple free ones below:

http://www.easeus.com/disk-copy/

http://clonezilla.org/

paid product: http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/

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