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What's the best way to create a virtual machine from an old Windows 2000 machine?
I found VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.0.1 which is the last version to support Windows 2000.
Are there any recommended alternatives? Are there any pitfalls I should expect? I'd like to run the VM on a Windows XP machine.

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if you are going to use VMware then you must update your win2k machine to SP4 before using the vCenter Converter. It is straight forward converter. there is dis2vhd for Microsoft Virtual Software, but It VMware is much easy to use:msmvps.com/blogs/jeffloucks/archive/2009/10/08/… –  Miro co Oct 15 '11 at 20:57
    
Thanks. I'll check re: SP4. Unfortunately, dis2vhd doesn't work with Win2K. –  Adi Shavit Oct 16 '11 at 6:46

2 Answers 2

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I've done this once, long time ago. The biggest pain was installing the correct drivers for the (virtual) hard disk. You must do it while this Windows installation still can boot on hardware.

If your hardware uses AHCI, and your virtual machine uses ATA, you're in trouble, you need to convert your Windows to ATA mode before you move to virtual. Google is full of recipes for this, but I cannot recommend any, since none worked for me.

So my advise is, make a copy of the disk, make sure you keep your original machine intact in case you need to reconfigure it again, install all needed drivers and try to boot in VMWare. Your success is very much dependent on your current hardware configuration.

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I use Xen. So assuming that the virtual host is on a different physical machine, I would boot the Windows 2000 machine from a linux livecd. Then use dd to image the disk(s). I use LVM on my Xen host, so I would set up receiving volumes and dd the disk images into the volumes (this can all be done in one step if you have a reliable network connection, as the dd output can be piped into netcat, across the network to another instance of netcat on the Xen host that pipes it into the dd writing to the LVM volume).

From there it is just a case of putting together a quick config and spinning up the VM instance. No conversion needed really.

If the vm host is to be on the same host as 2000, then it just needs to be installed into a different partition and when you create the VM you use the 2000 partitions as the disks for the VM

While this describes a Xen oriented approach, the same applies to any VM host. You don't need to convert the 2000 partitions into anything else, they are usable as is. Take the hard disk out of the 2000 box, install it in the XP box. Use Virtualbox or VMWare Server to create a new virtual machine and when adding a disk, select the physical disk as the virtual disk media (as opposed to using an image). Physical disks / partitions are faster than using vmdk or cow image files also.

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