Sunday, December 26, 2010

Converting VHDs to use for VMWare

If you are like me, you probably prefer to use VMWare vs. using Virtual PC or Hyper-V.  I especially like VMWare Workstation because of the flexibility and capabilities it offers over its Microsoft counterparts.  However, building VMs is a very time consuming task, and I would just as soon use something already pre-configured for me.

Fortunately, the folks at Microsoft have done just that for us.  They have created numerous Microsoft server environments for us ranging from Windows Server 2008 to Exchange Server to SQL Server to even Team Foundation Server.  Of course, on the down side, all of these virtual machines are released in the Microsoft proprietary format of VHD.

But, thanks to our friends at VMWare, they have provided us with a solution to utilize these VHDs within VMWare Workstation.

So to get started, you will have to download a Microsoft VHD that you would like to use.  You can download numerous VHDs from here:

Next, you will need to install either VMWare Workstation or VMWare Converter from the VMWare website.  If you are going to be using VMWare Workstation, you can download the most current release (v. 7.13) from here:

If you are using Windows 7, you will then have to install Windows Virtual PC.  You can download it from here:

Once you have downloaded it and installed it, you should now have a menu item in your All Programs folder for Windows Virtual PC.  Beneath the Windows Virtual PC folder, click on the Windows Virtual PC icon.  (Optionally you can also search for Windows Virtual PC and the program should come right up)

Once you click on the icon, you should see a Windows Explorer window with several menu items including one that states "Create virtual machine".  You will want to click on this menu item to begin creating a new virtual machine.

Next, go through all of the standard screens for configuring a new virtual machine.  However, when you get to the screen for "Add a virtual hard disk", select the option for "Use an existing virtual hard disk" and browse to the VHD file that you downloaded earlier from the website.

Click on the Create button and the Windows Virtual PC machine should be created for you.

Now, you are finally ready to create the VHD for use within VMWare:

  1. Open VMWare Workstation
  2. From the File menu, select Import or Export
  3. Begin the Import wizard
  4. On the Source Type screen, select Other
  5. On the Virtual Machine screen, select the path to .vmc file created by Windows Virtual PC
  6. On the Source Data screen, choose the options for the VMWare Disk size.
  7. Proceed through the remaining screens until you reach the Ready to Complete screen.
  8. Click on the Finish button to begin the process of converting the Windows Virtual PC to the VMWare format.
  9. Once the conversion process is complete (this might take anywhere between 1/2 hr or longer), you should now be ready to open the virtual machine directly in VMWare Workstation!

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