Using VMware Workstation, can I "clone" a real machine into a virtual machine ?

Posted on 2006-07-05
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I have an old laptop (Win XP Pro) with a 30 GB hard disk.  I would like to "clone" that into a VM on my new laptop, which is a dual-processor with a 100 GB disk and plenty of horsepower.

Hopefully I should be able to use the VM on the new laptop just as if it were my old laptop, with nothing more than a backup-restore, without having to reinstall any applications or tweak the registry.

Could you give me step by step instuctions on how to do this transfer?

Thanks for your help

Question by:csharp_guru
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Expert Comment

ID: 17046824
This is an exchange section.... Where is exchange?


Expert Comment

ID: 17046829
Opppz sorry!!! ignore.... log...

Accepted Solution

Urlryn earned 400 total points
ID: 17047103
Hmmm What I would probably do in this instance is use something like Norton's Ghost and make a clone backup of the old Laptop

Network the two laptops, if you can, and put the Backup file onto the new Laptop

On the new laptop install VMWare

from here i'm not 100% but if you can boot from a floppy in VMware and restore the backup to a "VM" enviroment

Just be sure you aren't doing anythign to your physical drives.

I'll have to check a few things but this should be doable!

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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 17047751
Assuming that your old Laptop Ghost Image works on the new laptop.
and its a must.
make a ghost image of the old laptop

create a new VM for windows and boot that with ghost flopy and use the old laptop ghost image

LVL 44

Expert Comment

ID: 17048370
No you cant do this, XP is hardware specific.  The chance that your old system has the same hardware as the new one is 0.000001%, so there is no possibility of running the old setup on the new system without at least a hardware redetect or a repair install or a reinstall.  Laptop setups are VERY power management dependent, so you will have to remove all the old power drivers and install new ones, etc.

Better to make a VM space, and simply copy the apps from the old setup into it, so you know what to reinstall.  Then you will have to reinstall all the apps into this virtual machine to mimic the old setup.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 17048432
If the Both laptops are from same company then you may have chances, or install the new motherboard drivers on the old laptop and then take a ghost image...

Important: If you have new Laptop with SATA harddisk you will have problems.

LVL 20

Assisted Solution

RPPreacher earned 100 total points
ID: 17050383
VMWare makes a product P2V (Physical to Virtual) that allows you to do exactly what you are asking.

Expert Comment

ID: 17055252
Yep the hardware is the only thing that will be a problem unless they are the same types.

and RPPreacher beat me to it..just found the VMWare product for taking a physical machine to Virtual

Author Comment

ID: 17171621
Thank you all very much.

I have accepted Urlryn's answers with 400 and RPPreacher's with 100 points.  VMware's P2V tool is probably expensive.  I left a message at the number of the VMware website to get a "quote".  Doesn't look good!   There is a free tool called "Ultimate P2V" at  But that'll probably cost me even more in the time it takes.  So for now, I'll just have to build the VM from scratch.

Appreciate your help.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 17172272
Why cant you install the NEW laptop drivers on the old machine and take a ghost image of the laptop
Run the VMWare from that ISO image


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