Virtualize Windows NT 4.0 Server?

Posted on 2008-06-10
Last Modified: 2011-07-27
Hey folks...

Would it be possible to virtualize a Windows NT 4.0 Server? I would like to simply take an image of the server and drop it into VMWare and run it in another machine. The hardware from the NT 4.0 server is getting old and I'd like to be able to eliminate hardware failure possibilities with the ancient stuff...

Is this an easy solution?
Question by:pitsbros
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LVL 21

Assisted Solution

za_mkh earned 62 total points
ID: 21754513
Yes, it is possible. Your success rate depends on what is on the NT4 box currently i.e. SCSI drivers etc. You normally end up with BSOD's due to hardware changes. The best and quickest solution is to use a free tool from VMWare ( to do this .It's called VMWare Convertor, and the 'free' edition will definitely do this for you.  Give it a shot!
LVL 18

Assisted Solution

larstr earned 62 total points
ID: 21754976
If you have enterprise esx licenses I would recommend that you use the VMware Converter cold boot cd. If you don't you should build a MOA cd ( to achieve the same thing. By using one of these methods you will be able to clone the drives of your NT4 system while it's not running. This is a much safer method and I've had greater success by doing it this way.

After converting these old NT4 servers I now have much better performance under VMware.

By using VMware Converter it's fairly easy. Depending on how much data your system has it might take some time, especially as most old NT4 servers only have 100Mbit nics.


Author Comment

ID: 21755166
How does the MOA CD work with VMWare? Can I use that to convert to a virtual machine?
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 21755210
MOA is a (bartpe based) livecd and you can include VMware Converter on that CD if you want.

Please see the build instructions here:

Here's a video demonstrating MOA with converter:


Author Comment

ID: 21755286
None of the videos work for me on that site.

So, you're saying that with MOA, I can take an image of my NT 4.0 server, put it on a CD, and run it on my WIndows SMB 2003 server with VMWare Converter?...somehow anyways. :) I'm a newbie at this...forgive my ignorance.
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 21757489
You need to have a recent version of Macromedia Flash installed to view that video.

Yes, if you build the MOA CD, boot your NT4 box from the MOA cd, then you can convert your NT4 system while it's not running. You can also test that your converted system will run fine after conversion directly from the MOA cd.

The video above will show you how this works.


Author Comment

ID: 21761734
I have the latest and it still does not work. Is it working for you? Do I need the original Windows NT 4.0 disks to make this CD? I don't have the original disks anymore. They were lost in a fire in our storage hangar. Hence my need to get this on a new machine to eliminate hardware problems later...
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 21764431
I tested the video now in Internet Explorer and it doesn't work on my system either, but it works perfectly fine in Firefox & Opera. Didn't work in Safari (Windows version) either.

To build the MOA cd you will need the w2k3 CDs (or maybe xp). When p2v'ing an NT4-server you will also need the NT4 CD because you will need to change some drivers in the process. You will also need to reinstall the current service pack of your NT4 system after doing this.

The CD's don't need to be the original ones, but preferably the same version as they were installed with.

LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 21770776
Another very good free option from Mike Laverick and others is ultimate P2V:

Author Comment

ID: 21773980
If I try to convert it with the converter, I need the sysprep files for NT 4.0 Server. Can I use the sysprep files for NT 4.0, or are they different than nt 4.0 server?
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 21774168
The sysprep files for nt4 should be the same independent of the version, whether it's Workstation, Server, Enterprise Server or Terminal Server edition.

LVL 12

Accepted Solution

S00007359 earned 64 total points
ID: 21776718
Here, you can try out this solution: works great.

Hi Dude,

I have found that you can use alternate methods as well.

1) Get Shadowcraft's ShadowProtect IT Edition, get the 30 day eval {FREE} (if ou get iso, make a cd)
2) VMware Server version 1.4 {FREE}, and VMware workstation 6.0.1 [30 days eval, FREE] You need both of this products.
3) Place the ShadowProtect IT Edition cd on each domain controller and autorun (no need to shutdown the servers, DC's) the cd's or manual run the cd program. (see it edition instructions from web), or boot from the cd, if you are not affecting any services, eg doing this process after hours, in a busniess case.
4) Make a full backup on the fly, and you can backup to an external disk or network drive.

----------------------Now the Fun Part-----------------------------------
Assuming you have had some expose to VMware Server, and depedningon what you want to do.

1) Install VMware Server 1.4 on the server (please don't ask for instructions), and make sure you disable DHCP option in VMware Server., and install VMware workstation on another desktop pc maybe, and and make sure you disable DHCP option.
2) Import your shadoprotect backup file via vmware workstation, see instruction here:
Please do not start the virtual machine..
3) Open Vmware server, and open the new virtual machine you created above, or maybe copy to the server's HDD for better I/O Performance.
4) Now start the VM and enjoy.

I hope i have helped you.

LVL 120

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 62 total points
ID: 35707548
This is a very old question, it may not be live or relevant any more.

But conversion of Windows NT 4.0 Server is possible using VMware Converter Standalone. We've done may, BUT, and big BUT here, select an older version  of VMware Converter Standalone, as the latest version 4.0.3 of convertor does not support NT 4.0 anymore. So download 2.0/3.0 from the archives at VMware.

Download VMware vCenter Converter here

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.x Documentation

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.3 User Guide

For the conversion steps, read fellow Expert Bestway's article.

Best Practice Video Guide here
LVL 26

Expert Comment

ID: 36260841
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