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I have a full system image using Acronis True Image Home 10 and want to run it as a virtual machine on Windows 7 Professional.

I have created a virtual machine but Windows Virtual PC doesn't allow access to a USB external hard disk when booting from the Acronis Recovery CD.

I've copied the backup onto the host machine and I can access it via the network using the Acronis boot CD but I'm wondering if there is an easier way?

Does any other free Virtual Machine software support USB devices during boot (i.e. I can restore a backup image from the USB hard disk directly)

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This step-by-step article describes how to create a Microsoft Virtual PC virtual hard disk that is an identical copy of a physical hard disk by using a backup disk image file.

How to create a Virtual PC hard disk image by using a backup disk image file

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This article does not relate to Virtual PC 2007 which comes with Windows 7 – Anthony Dec 30 '09 at 23:24
@Anthony - Virtual PC 2007 does not actually come with Windows 7. The feature is simply called Virtual PC if I am not mistaken. This might be splitting hairs but an incorrect statement is well incorrect. – Ramhound Sep 7 '12 at 11:33

I recently investigated this and am hopeful you'll get a better answer. I found no FREE way to do it. I upgraded to Acronis Backup and Recovery 10 which WILL make virtual machines out of Acronis images anywhere you can point its browser. I suppose you could download a trial, install it on the would-be host machine, and try it out. That's what I did.

There are two things to note, however:

  1. I would get an error when trying to create a Virtual PC VM. Acronis reported that Vista (that's what my original machine ran) would not run in VPC. That's not true. I never pursued it, however, opting to create a VMWare VM which I then ran in VMWare Player successfully. I've done two P2V conversions from Acronis images this way.

  2. Also: It's simply not a brain-dead procedure. You may run into problems when you get the VM. For instance, some enterprise products will strip out drivers. Acronis does not. So, you could wind up with a VM that has driver conflicts or problems. Driver conflicts can, at least in VMWare's world, lead to an inability to install Tools or other issues. In my two test P2V, one wouldn't install a network driver until I found a workaround. The other was fine. FWIW, even in the land of enterprise-level virtualization you can run into problems like this.

Good luck!


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There is also the Universal Restore addon for TrueImage Workstation, IIRC, which is also not free, but a lot cheaper. – paradroid Oct 16 '10 at 17:03

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