I'm trying to save all my C disk from my old Windows XP computer. I would like to be able to have all my configuration saved in order to deploy it on VitualBox in case the computer dies.

I've tried different ISO maker software in order to achieve my goal, but I haven't been able to yet. Do you know if this is possible?

Any help would be really appreciated.

PS : This is not a duplicate from this post Save HyperV VM as Iso. I'm not trying to save a virtual disk but a real hard drive disk as an ISO.


3 Answers 3


I'm not sure ISO is the right format you're looking for, as that is used for optical discs. There are several paid and free solutions to clone a hard drive to a virtual machine.

This is normally done via a harddrive cloning utility. User friendly products include Paragon, EaseUS, and a host of others. If you're comfortable with a limited interface or command-line solution, Clonezilla or even dd are standard utilities for this.

If you are running the cloning process on the PC you want to clone, you will need to either use the bundled startup software or boot using a live image to avoid booting into Windows so that the disk may be copied in its entirety. You can "convert" any format that is created by the software you choose by booting into a virtual machine the same way and going through the steps to restore the drive.

Note that there may be a lot more set up involved if you intend on booting the cloned harddrive in a virtual machine. Making the OS behave like it used to can be tricky in a virtual environment. Windows will not only expect certain drivers to be there that aren't, but also core software and components will be configured to use the original hardware. It's likely the system will blue screen on boot, and it's usually easier to simply use it as a secondary disk.

  • 1
    ISOs can also be put on flashdrives and I'm willing to bet any media that is large enough. Nov 20, 2019 at 18:46
  • 1
    +1. The procedure is known as P2V (physical to virtual).
    – gronostaj
    Nov 20, 2019 at 18:48
  • @HazardousGlitch You're probably talking about hybrid ISOs. These are a special kind of ISO images that are at the same time a valid disk image. A regular ISO won't work when written to a flash drive.
    – gronostaj
    Nov 20, 2019 at 18:50

This won't work for several reasons.
To begin with ISO is the wrong format for the disk-image.
And the Windows installation need some prep-work to be done before making the image otherwise it will be next to impossible to boot the image in VirtualBox later.

However: An excellent description of the whole process (even using XP as an example) is to be found on the VirtualBox website. Look here: Howto migrate physical to virtual system


Tonny's answer is correct. However, I would offer another option. Microsoft's Disk2VHD will also convert a physical hard disk into a virtual hard disk for use with virtual machines.

  • You're right. Disk2VHD works very well. But if you want the best performance in VirtualBox you will have to convert it to VDI, which is an extra step. VirtualBox can work with a VHD directly, but there is a performance penalty to pay. (About 10% loss in my experience.) That may hardly be noticable if the VHD is located on a SSD (fast+10% is still fast), but if it is on a normal HD that 10% is usually worth the effort of doing the conversion.
    – Tonny
    Nov 28, 2019 at 23:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.