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how to create disk image of entire running windows operating system in linux or windows

Posted on 2010-08-28
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Last Modified: 2013-12-06
I want to create iso disk image of entire running windows vista os aong with installed applications.
This os is installed on a disk which I can  configure to be not the boot disk and let the other disk be the boot disk on which I have my main os fedora 13. In fedora I can see this disk mounted as /media/something. Please tell how do I create such a disk image of windows vista from fedora?

Please do not recommend to use the original windows vista dvd from ms$ to create os from as huge amount of effort has gone into setting up all the applications and upgrade to service pack 2.

This is dell oem version of windows vista but since I am setting it up as virtual os in exactly same machine for which it is licensed so this should not cause activation problem.


The purpose of this disk image to use that as source to set up a new guest os using virtulization software like virtualbox. If not possible in linux then how to do withing the same running windows of which a disk image needs to be created. I think they also call snapshot of the running  os at a given instant of time.

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Question by:zenguru
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by:burrcm
ID: 33548988
Image from a running system - http://www.drivesnapshot.de/en/

Chris B
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by:zenguru
ID: 33549071
I had come across the above link before posting my question. Please recommend a solution that does not require placing online order for some product as I do not have means to do online purchasing. Secondly I am not even sure if the virtual dirve created by that solftware is compatible with lunux to use as the source for virtual guest os setup as specified in my question.

I believe in linux there is a way to create disk image that will satisfy above requirements. I just dont know how.

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by:roylong
ID: 33549081
You can use the free vmware converter tool to convert the physical running OS to a virtual image.

Will this work for you?
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by:roylong
ID: 33549088
http://downloads.vmware.com/d/info/datacenter_downloads/vmware_vcenter_converter_standalone/4_0

you should be able to create a user account for free and then download either the windows version of the linux version of the product.
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by:rindi
ID: 33549180
First of all I'd do that using PartedMagic, and not your installed FC version, although that would also work. PartedMagic is a free LiveCD which contains an imaging utility, G4U, which is easy to use and specially built for such things:

http://partedmagic.com/

If you insist on using FC13, you first have to unmount your windows partition, and then install partimage (or another imaging utility) etc., and then use that. You can probably install them via yum.
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by:shanyuen
ID: 33549550
Creating disk images in running windows is very risky.
Every second windows dynamically read and write to disk.
You can see that with process monitor.
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by:rindi
ID: 33549564
I don't think he means that windows is actually running at the time the image is made. It is more likely he meant a functioning windows installation. I think he just has a dual booting system. So it's probably a case of "mis-formulation".
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by:zenguru
ID: 33550073
Thanks for help. I am thinking using vmware converter whcih creates vmdk disk image. Then I need to convert vmdk format to virtualbox format (vdi).

But biggest question I have, does vmware converter generated image is the same size as the hard disk size on which windows is originally installed? The hard disk is   320 GB of which about 270 GB is free space. If it creates 320 GB vmdi file then this would not work for me because fedora disk is also 320 GB hard disk.

I am waiting for answer before proceeding ...
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by:rindi
ID: 33550117
Why don't you use PartedMagic? It is simpler to use, and it compresses the image. vmware converter is used more for converting the hardware based PC to a VMware Virtual Machine and then run as such. It creates a Virtual disk and not really an image. Also, OEM versions of windows can't be used in a Virtual environment, as that is different emulated "hardware" than the original Dell the OS was running on (you'll be asked to activate the OS, and that won't be possible to do).
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by:roylong
ID: 33550184
you can set up vmware converter to create a thin-provisioned disk - which means it only uses the amount of space that is currently in use.

You can also create a new disk of a set size for your conversion - say 100GB and then the vmdk will be created to this size and the image content saved within this (presuming in this example that the contents of your current disk fit within the size disk you specify in the vmware converter interface).
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by:zenguru
ID: 33552311
I used vmware converter and successfully created vista VM in virtualbox from vmware image file.

But still got 2 issues:

In the VM windows vista, it says 3 business days for automatic activation on the Dell detail info tab.

Starting with SP1 for OEM (and retail) windows MS now allows installing windows as VM on the same machine for which OEM was licensed.
ref:  http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/vista-virtualization-the-bigger-picture/360

But I am not sure what  3 business days for automatic activation link means. Does it mean if I dont do anything the license would be deactivated.
My thinking is that since I also installed the same windows oem on the licensed dell pc and it was automatically activated, now the VM installation  detected it, so after 3 business days it would deactivate the original not-VM installation and activate the VM installation. But I am not sure.

Any one had above scenario and what happened?

Secondly the graphics resolution is not good. I cannot get 1680x1050 resolution and also aero is gone from VM version of Vista despite allocating 128 MB video memory in the virtualbox settings. . I did guest additions in virtualbox but it made no difference.
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by:roylong
ID: 33553696
Hey,

I think the activation needs to be done on the VM.  Is the VM on the same hardware as the original install?  The activation will need to be done on the VM - this is something that will be done online and presumably if you have not re-installed and reactivated the same system this should be pretty painless as it will just presume you have just done a reinstall.  My one concern would be if the install is on a different hardware platform.

As far as the resolution of the VM goes, did you install the vmware tools into the VM?  This is pretty straightforward but usually resolves a whole bunch of driver and associated issues.

feedback what happens
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by:zenguru
ID: 33554347
Sorry I should have made this clear, yes VM is installed in exactly the same system for which Vista  OEM was originally licensed for.

No I did not install vmware tools when creating vmware image because I am using vmware image in virtualbox and not in vmware products. I was advised not to install the vmware tools if using for virtualbox in some post somewhere. Do you mean this will fix the screen resolution problem in virtualbox?


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roylong earned 500 total points
ID: 33554381
aah ok, vmware tools will not work in virtualbox, which is freeware and not as supportable as vmware.  So do not install vmware tools.  You may have to check virtualbox support for your combination if hardware.
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by:TobiasHolm
ID: 33581702
You can install VirtualBox additions if you're not using the OSE of VirtualBox. Then you might get better graphics.

Regards, Tobias
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