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I have a physical disk from a dead machine which used to run Linux. I am trying to recover files I had there (shared with Samba). I want to convert the disk to a VHD and run it in a VM so that I can copy the files from the shares.

There are two partitions on the disk an nither gets assigned a drive letter. I planned to use disk2vhd but unfortunately this utility works on volumes not on disks and requires drive letters.

I also tried using virtual PC 2007 which supports assigning a physical disk Virtual PC.exe crasehs when I try to start a VM when such a disk is attached to the VM.

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What is the file system on each partition? – dnbrv Dec 31 '11 at 0:26
I'm not sure. It's a Debian installation and I used the defaults. – John Dec 31 '11 at 0:48
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Not a direct answer, but:

If you only want to recover files from the physical disk, it's much easier to just mount the disk as an external disk and copy off the files. If it's a default Debian install, it uses ext3, which any halfway modern Linux distro will read.

Just boot Linux (e.g. by using a rescue CD), mount the disk, and copy off what you need. You can either mount your internal main disk to copy the data to, or use an external drive.

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I know you asked for a VHD converter tool, however you are flirting with much pain and suffering unless you have paid-for Hyper-V tools at your disposal. In my estimation, the free tools that are available for P2V conversions in the VHD world are not worth your effort.

If you can flex a little bit on your requirements, read on.

Enter: VMware

I would suggest that you consider the use of VMware vCenter Converter to P2V your disk and then use VMware Player to play the virtual machine. If you must have a VHD, you could then take the working VMware virtual machine and convert it to a VHD. A bit of a Texas Three-Step, however, oddly, it would likely work better than trying to go straight from physical disk to VHD... unless you want to pay for SCVMM.

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I prefer solution based on Virtual PC or VirtualBox since I have these products installed on machines. – John Dec 31 '11 at 1:16
I tried the vCenter Converter and it has the same limitation as disk2vhd - it only converts volumes with drive letters. – John Dec 31 '11 at 1:28

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