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I got given a beast of a laptop by my company. i7 CPU, 6gb of Ram, and a very decent graphics card.

However when it arrived from head office it already had been preinstalled with windows xp (32-BIT!!!!), lotus notes, and some very specific settings to connect to office networks ect. to cut a long story short, I cannot reinstall windows 7 and get all the programs back again.

To get the most out of my laptop, I went out and bought windows 7 64-bit ultimate and a 500gb harddrive. Installed the new hard drive, installed windows 7 and now what i want to know is:

Can I install virtual windows on windows 7 and clone the old windows (xp) to run on my windows 7 hard drive?

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1  
Is your company OK with you messing with their image? I don't know any company that would approve that. – BBlake Mar 9 '11 at 15:07
    
What @BBlake said. Any company that's imaging something that specifically probably does it for a reason... – Shinrai Mar 9 '11 at 15:11

I would suggest to put back in the old drive, boot, then install VMware vCenter Converter and use it to convert the old computer into a virtual machine. You will need VMware Player to use it.

VMware vCenter Converter does an excellent job of creating a really working virtual machine.

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In short, yes.

You can install one of many different virtualisation packages:

  • VMWare
  • VirtualBox
  • Microsoft Virtual PC

etc, and most of them provide facilties to convert a physical partition or hard disk into a virtual hard drive image.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical-to-Virtual shows you many of the tools for achieving what you want.

The only caveat with converting Windows from physical to virtual is that there will be quite a massive change in host hardware as far as Windows sees it, so it may require quite a bit of work to get it working 100% in the virtual machine. Some P2V tools take this into account and attempt to change the windows settings for you to make the migration easier.

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Agree 90% with harrymc - save that you can then have pretty good success converting that VMWare file into the virtual image format of your choice, if you prefer to use another platform.

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