I’ve just installed VMWare Fusion 2 on my Mac.

Microsoft makes available some Virtual PC disk images containing different versions of IE, so that us humble web developers can test our code on them:

I want to convert these .vhd files to work with VMWare Fusion 2.

Note: VMWare Fusion 3 can import .vhd files natively (File > Import). This works just fine on the Microsoft IE compatibility VMs.

I’ve tried VMWare Converter Standalone on Windows, but it doesn’t work with .vhd files (as of the current version, 4.0.1).

Any ideas? VMWare’s website is confused corporate hell.


10 Answers 10


This isn't an answer so much as it is precautionary...

I've launched those MS provided VM's with Microsoft's Virtual PC, then used VMware Converter to convert them as suggested by others.

It ain't pretty. Or at least, wasn't 2 years ago when I last tried. Among other things, I lost the windows license...

  • Virtual PC seems to crash my VMWare Windows virtual machine, so running the Microsoft VMs in Virtual PC within a VMWare instance doesn’t seem to be an option either. Oct 12, 2009 at 22:22
  • Just for the record, I installed a purchased Windows XP Pro in one VM, then copied it twice in order to run IE6, IE7 and IE8 in their own Virtual Machine. The Microsoft IE Virtual PC VMs won’t activate over the internet when converted and running in VMWare. Haven’t tried calling the activation phone number though, that might work. Oct 16, 2009 at 10:56
  • 2
    Windows always needs to be reactivated when you change hypervisors. That's normal. As long as you have a valid license, just call the number and explain what you're doing and they'll let you re-activate. Jun 23, 2010 at 19:55

Alternatively, if you are using Windows 7, you can mount the .vhd file in the drive manager, then use that mounted drive as a physical drive in vmware.

  • Aha: mount the VHD, then import it as if it were a physical drive. Cool. Unfortunately I’m not on Windows 7, but that’s a good workaround. Sep 30, 2009 at 11:57
  • Nice workaround, you just saved me a few hours of sleep ;) Jul 13, 2010 at 7:01

The VMware Virtual Machine Importer can convert several VM formats (and physical disks) to a VMware disk. This includes the VHD format used by VirtualPC.

Check the doc here for the supported formats.

  • But when you create a full copy of your system, Microsoft creates a VHD and some auxiliary files, but forgets to add the *.VMC file. Without that, you cannot use it with VMWare.
    – Abel
    Sep 5, 2010 at 16:46
  • The link you gave is for the documentation for the Importer. Link for downloading the Importer is: vmware.com/download/eula/vmimporter_v20.html Dec 14, 2010 at 15:39

Use WinImage to convert the VHD file into a VMDK file. Here is a great walkthrough:



Your problem is that the VMware Converter Standalone wants to convert whole Virtual PC images which are .vmc files and not just the disk images, the .vhd files.

I guess you'll need to download Virtual PC, create an image that uses the disk, and then convert that.

  • Sure, that’s probably the sensible way to go. Virtual PC is a free download, so it’s not much bother. Sep 30, 2009 at 12:15
  • Aha: as mentioned below, Windows on the MS images may start complaining when you run it after this conversion process. Watch this space. Sep 30, 2009 at 16:49

Qemu will convert .vhds to work with VMWare:

(Qemu doesn’t work on the Mac. There is a Mac port called Q, but I couldn’t get it working with the Windows Virtual PC files I had.)


Not a direct answer, but IEs4Linux lets you test your site using multiple versions of Internet Explorer, without actually running Windows.



I used WinImage and was left with two vmdk files. One was several GBs and the other was 1KB. I did not have a vmx file though so I couldn't open in vmware.

I was able to create a vmx file at this website and the image works great. http://www.easyvmx.com


Windows 7’s XP Mode might be a decent alternative.


Possible instructions here:

Not sure how much money they require you to give to VMWare though.

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