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I hot-cloned a Windows Xp machine on Vmware using VMware-converter-4.0.1-161434. Now I want to sync the Windows Xp machine partition on the machine with the vmware created guest OS . Are any tools available ?

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I don't think there is a good way to keep a the system partitions of a physical machine and a VM synced without jumping through some hoops, mainly due to differences in hardware drivers and product activation.

If you can mount both drives (the physical machine and the virtual machine) in a third machine without having either the physical machine or the virtual machine booted up, you can use a tool like SyncToy or Unison (based on rsync) to synchronize the files both ways, ignoring the files related to product activation. Of course, preventing the need to reactivate after every sync may not be so simple for more advanced activation schemes.

A less optimal solution would be to use Acronis TrueImage Workstation with Universal Restore to keep the machines in sync. You'll have to restore the appropriate Windows product activation files after each sync (or there might be an option to exclude those files from the backup/restore).

Probably the easiest solution would be to make the physical machine into a VMware host and copy the guest's virtual hard drive back and forth. There are also enterprise-level virtualization infrastructures that will allow you to migrate VMs from one server to another, while they are running (even VirtualBox has this feature)--but that may be overkill for your use-case.

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You will have network naming collisions and possibly other problems if you completely synchronize the physical machine's OS partition and the VM's OS partition, and both are running simultaneously. There might also be licensing issues with synchronizing the two Windows installations, if you don't have a volume license.

If you just want to synchronize data, that's easy. On my workstation, I just share the host's data partition as a Windows network share, then map that share to a drive letter in the guest OS (Click the "Tools" menu in Windows Explorer, then select "Map Network Drive..."). I use the same drive letter on both the host OS and guest OS. No syncing necessary. ;) Of course, this won't work if you're only running one of the two machines (physical or virtual) at any given time.

If you don't run both machines simultaneously, you can use DropBox to synchronize a specific folder on both machines automatically.

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no issues with licensing !!! I'm not running the VM and the real machine at the same time either.. i do not just want to sync folders... – iceman Dec 29 '09 at 18:43

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