Old Windows 95 PC + installed applications to VMware for Vista

I have a Windows 95 PC that needs to be replaced but it has some software that just cant be moved to Vista. I would like convert the PC to a virtual machine so I can run the app when necessary.

I understand that it is possible to convert the PC installation of Windows 95 into a VM image and then run it when necessary for a new Vista PC.

Please let me know if there is a cost efficient way of me getting this done.

Many thanks.
Glyn MerrittIT Project ManagerAsked:
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This is the steps that I would take to convert the machine into a virtual machine.  Without any true guarantees about the success rate.

Things to have and know:
USB Attached Drive (HHD or thumb drive depending on size of source)
What the drive and partition configuration of the win9x drive is

Boot the win9x on a linux live/boot cd like Knoppix or Gentoo Live CD or Arch, Ubuntu Live etc etc

Open a terminal:

Verify what the HD is is the WIn9x drive.   ls /dev/hd*    (This will usually show hda as the drive)
Attach the USB drive.  Verify the device attachment.
Mount the drive if it doesn't automatically mount for you.   Depends on the LIVE CD.

***CHANGE if and of locations to the ACTUAL locations of the
Run the command:   dd if=/dev/hda1 of=/mnt/USB/win9x.img.dd

Let that run, it will make a bit by bit copy of the drive to am image.

Start up your VM software, I'm going to talk VMware because I'm most familiar with it.

Create a new VM.  Make sure that the disk drive is at least the same size as the original win9x box.  (I'm guessing less than 8 gig, being win95.)
Boot the machine off the same Live CD
open a terminal
Verify what drive is configured.
ls /dev/hd*   and ls /dev/sd*
Most of the time, vmware creates sda drives.  you'll like see an sdb or sdc which will likelyu correspond with the cd drive attached.
Connect/mount the USB drive into the live cd environment
Run the same dd command but in reverse.

dd if=/mnt/USB/win9x.img.dd of /dev/sda1

Once the dd command is finished, you can run fdisk on the linux terminal.  You should see the same layout as the win9x box.   Make sure that the the partition is set active, but I think it should already be.

Reboot the VM.  not on the CD.

This is where I think you are going to run into issues.  The new hardware may not be recognized by win95.  You may have to run many reboots, auto updating hardware, installing vmware tools, and I don't know for sure if it will work out.    (many swapping HD's to new hardware in 95, barfed on me.)

The vmware convertor tool relies on VSS to operate.

You are going to need to use some sort of imaging tool to create an image.  An old version of ghost had the ability to create a backup image.  

All else fails, you could use a linux boot cd to create a DD image of the win98 drive.  

Then create the vm machine with the right size drive, boot to linux and DD the image to the vmdisk.

Glyn MerrittIT Project ManagerAuthor Commented:
I can create a .GHO and have done so but will need help in converting it into a usable Virtual PC. What are the steps I need to take after creating the GHO or is there another way?
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The free VMware Converter presumably can handle the job of converting from a ghost image to a virtual hard disk file.  I have tried to use it to convert Microsoft's Virtual Pc 2007 .vhd files to that used by VMware Player, but it wasn't successful.  I don't have Ghost, so I cannot vouch for it working to convert from a ghost image to a VMware file any more successfully than my attempted use for it.  Read about the features here:

Glyn MerrittIT Project ManagerAuthor Commented:
I'm struggling quite allot on this one It's apparently not a very easy thing to do. I'm happy to buy an able application that will make the job much easier. If only I could find one.

Creating a readable image for VMWARE Convert is not easy as i dont seem to be able to get it to see my GHO files.
What version of Ghost do you have?  A page on the VMware Converter site says it only supports version 9 or greater.
Rather than use VMware Server, you could try Microsoft's Virtual Server 2005.  Go to this page:


Then this Previously Answered Question should be your answer:

Converting Ghost image to Virtual Server image.
can you move the application to another (more modern) PC?
Glyn MerrittIT Project ManagerAuthor Commented:
Moving the application does not look like a feasible option and all the virtual server applications dont support OS's prior to NT4. I'm starting to think that is impossible to P2V a Windows 98 computer.

I have even tried creating a fresh Windows 98 install, backing up the old PC and then restoring to the new virtual Win 98 PC with no joy.

I'd love to hear from someone that has successfully created a Physical to Virtual PC from a Windows 98 OS.

I'm well and truly stumped
You can download an eval of Symantec Ghost Solution Suite 2.5 and then use VMware Converter to convert over the ghost file.  If it works, you can then make a decision to buy it or not.  :)
Glyn MerrittIT Project ManagerAuthor Commented:
chingmd many thanks.

I'm giving your instructions a go and will let you know how it goes. I've only just got the image from the source HD and now need to get the image onto the VM HD.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Glyn MerrittIT Project ManagerAuthor Commented:
This did work however bizarrely it missed out several directories. But none the less it got Win 98 P toV up and running, thank you very much.
I'm kinda surprised that it missed out on directories.  dd isn't supposed to, since it does a bit image copy.  But great, I'm glad it worked for you.  

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