Check out our new AWS podcast with Certified Expert, Phil Phillips! Listen to "How to Execute a Seamless AWS Migration" on EE or on your favorite podcast platform. Listen Now


HOW TO:  P2V a Windows XP computer to VMware vSphere Hypervisor 7.0 (ESXi 7.0)

Published on
3,647 Points
1 Endorsement
Last Modified:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow)
EE Fellow, 2xMVE, Expert of the Year 2017-2011, Scribe 2016-2012, Author of the Year 2018-6,2013-2012 VMware vExpert Pro, vExpert 2020-2011
In this article, I will show you how to perform a Physical to Virtual conversion of  a Windows XP computer to VMware vSphere Hypervisor 7.0 (ESXi 7.0) using VMware vCenter Converter Standalone
Support for Windows XP ended on the 8th April 2014. Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for the Windows XP operating system. It is critical to migrate now to a modern operating system.

That's the official Microsoft statement out of the way, I'm not going to debate about security and migration in this article of Windows XP professional to a modern operating system, but there are sometimes occasions when a Microsoft Windows XP Professional computer needs to be converted to a virtual machine. e.g. the physical computer is failing, and the existing computer runs a semiconductor wafer processing machine, and the software package is ONLY compatible with Microsoft Windows XP. Sourcing a new computer and the modern operating system would take months, causing months of production downtime.

In this article, I will show you how to perform a Physical to Virtual conversion of a Windows XP computer to VMware vSphere Hypervisor 7.0 (ESXi 7.0) using VMware vCenter Converter Standalone This procedure can be followed for any legacy operating system, which is not supported by VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 

WHY ?  to debunk a myth that  VMware vCenter Converter Standalone the latest edition of VMware Converter as of 9 June 2020, does not work with Windows XP

Here are the steps to P2V:

1. Software Pre-requisites

The download links to VMware vCenter Converter Standalone  are published in this article  

HOW TO:  P2V, V2V for FREE - VMware vCenter Converter Standalone

In the above article, you may have read the following:-

Please note the following, as with all releases of VMware vCenter Converter Standalone, when an operating system vendor discontinues an Operating System, VMware also removes the support from VMware vCenter Converter Standalone. With the release of VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 6.0, Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP3 (32-bit and 64-bit) support has been removed, the last version that supported Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP3 (32-bit and 64-bit) was VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.5.3.

There may have been some confusion with this statement I've written, and it would have been better to write VMware support instead of support.   (So I hold my hand up to that! misinformation - Sorry!)

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone can be used with older legacy operating systems, and perform a successful conversion, but VMware Support will not take a service request to deal with any issues related to VMware vCenter Converter Standalone  and that legacy operating system.

2. Download and Install  VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 

Download VMware vCenter Converter Standalone from the links published in the article above. Install VMware vCenter Converter Standalone ON THE computer to be converted to a virtual machine, using the Local Administrator account. This is the recommended best practice and overcomes network and permissions issues with the Microsoft Windows operating system.

3. The Conversion

To start the conversion, click the Convert machine button on the ribbon.

Select Powered on - This Local Machine, and click Next to continue, "VMware Converter" will scan the computer to determine the operating system installed.

Select destination type: VMware Infrastructure virtual machine.

Enter the server name, where you will create the virtual machine. This can be an ESXi standalone server or vCenter Server, you can use an FQDN or an IP Address. I always recommend using an FQDN.

Also, enter the username and password for a user which has the correct permissions to create virtual machines.

Click next to continue.

If presented with a certificate warning, select Ignore.

Enter a name for the virtual machine, this is the name of the machine in the vSphere inventory, not the Guest OS hostname. The default name used is the current OS hostname.

Click next to continue. 

Select a datastore and datacentre. Also, select a virtual machine version, the latest virtual machine version is 17 (for ESXi 7.0), I would not recommend using the latest virtual machine version, because there is no virtual hardware support for the legacy operating system. I would recommend virtual machine version 7 or 8 for a Windows XP OS.

Look carefully at the options selected, these are the features which will be created for your virtual machine, these can be changed on the host after conversion. In my experience changing these default, options can sometimes cause conversions to fail. You can alter the virtual machine target disk size if required. Click next to continue and click Finish.

The job will be submitted.

4. The Job
Conversions take time, it's a data copy operation, and depending on the speed of source disk, network and target disk.

In this tutorial the physical "spinning rust" disk is 120GB, and it's a 100MBps network. The target datastore is flash.

If your job passes 1%, it's converting, now wait... after a few minutes, you will get a rough estimate of how long the conversion will take.

This conversion will take approx 3 hours.

P2V/V2V tasks can fail at 1%-2%, and 96%-100%. If a task fails between 2%-96% it's often caused by a disk fault, corruption or a network issue. Check the conversion logs for more information.

If you look at the above screenshot the P2V took 2 hours 18 minutes and has completed.

If you log in to the destination server, to check the virtual machine. Please check this previous article Part 2: HOW TO: Connect to the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 7.0 (ESXi 7.0) using the vSphere (HTML5 Web) Host Client 7.0.

Congratulations, you have successfully updated  P2V(ed) a Windows XP computer to VMware vSphere Hypervisor 7.0 (ESXi 7.0).

This also proves that  VMware vCenter Converter Standalone  can be used to P2V/V2V a Windows XP computer. 

I hope this debunks the myth!

Please refer to the previous articles as to how to prepare your virtual machine after conversion.

HOW TO: FAQ VMware P2V Troubleshooting

HOW TO:  P2V, V2V for FREE - VMware vCenter Converter Standalone

Basic VMware Articles Series:

These articles are also applicable to VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.0, 5.5, 6.0.
These articles are applicable to VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5.

These articles are applicable to VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.7.

Previous articles in this VMware vSphere 7.0 series are here.

If you found this tutorial helpful, please do click the  Thumbs-Up  icon below. This lets me know what is valuable for EE members and provides direction for future articles. If you have a related question based on this article, please click  here.

Thank you very much! 

Regards, Andy

Ask questions about what you read
If you have a question about something within an article, you can receive help directly from the article author. Experts Exchange article authors are available to answer questions and further the discussion.
Get 7 days free