P2V conversion for Windows NT 4.0 Server


We have a client with a Windows NT 4.0 Server which is seriously in need of migration to virtual environment. We cannot simply replace the server, as there are some legacy apps that we cant reinstall on modern operating systems.

We want to virtualize it, but so far have had problems in the conversion process / creating a virtual image. I like the parrallels for mac conversion agent as it works flawlessly over network, and i never have the headaches with it that I have with VMwares standalone desktop converter agent. However, we cant even install the Parralels transporter agent on the machine, we get an error

"Entry Point not found: The procedure entry point GetSystemWindowsDirectoryW could not be located in the dynamic link library KERNEL32.DLL"

Im assuming this is some sort of unreconcilable runtime error, but if we can fix it thats amazing. If not, im looking for best practices advice. We have the capacity to virtualise the system using parrallels for mac on top of osx mountain lion, or Microsoft Virtual PC on top of windows 7, or we can install vmware.

The server does not have USB, but i can pull the drive and image it using acronis or similar on another machine.

Thanks for the help. Paul
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PaulAuthor Commented:
Problem was somewhat solved, and i feel hesitant to grade the solution as average but in fairness the outcome i achieved was only done so by abstract interpolation of the facts from the linked articles.

I guess I want other people facing my problem themselves to be aware that there will be more footwork required by them and independent investigation and trial to complete similar migrations.

Whilst the literature that I was linked to did indeed end up in helping to successfully complete the magor part of the P2V migration of the Windows NT Server, it was fairly incomplete and a lot of additional research and about 7 attempts before a workable image could be attained. This was not directly the fault of the solution provider, rather the lack of clarity present in the linked articles, this is definitely an inadequately undocumented subject. Very suprised microsoft don't want to make it easier for clients to stay MS based with their virtual migration projects. In this instance, we chose to go VMware out of ethical principles, because it was there conversion tool that enabled us to create a workable virtual image. I felt that it was unfair of me to then use a free vdk2vhd converter to transfer the project to hyper-v/virtual PC.

For those struggling, heres a guide to what we did in the end to get the system operational.

Back it up. Full image backup.

Uninstall anything unnecessary that might cause compatibilty problems in the virtual environment. Including antivirus, and backup tools that will load drivers and services on booting that will call upon hardware resources that wont be present in the VM, such as tape drives. If you dont do this, and services fail on boot, you'll have headaches as the failed services stall most of the NT control panel functionality

For that same reason, If you have any services failing on boot prior to virtualizing, disable them as well.

Update to SP6A, Cant stress this enough. And confirm the update sticks by running the "winvers" command. SP6 alone will bring you serious PAIN, such as waiting 4minutes and 56 seconds between clicking directories and contents displaying (thats every time btw, extremely painful when trying to navigate to the vmware tools MSI).

Make sure after disabling or uninstalling services and or software that the server still boots correctly and that your databases and other resources are functional.

Find yourself an ISO of the VMware cold clone disk. If upon booting you can access network resources you can migrate straight over the network to a VMware host server, or if using workstation, to a file on a network share that you can easily access from the computer with VMware Workstation/Player installed. In our case, despite the fact that the network card shows up in the cold clone win PE environment, and reports it is connected to the network, we were unable to access the network with either DHCP or static IP configuration. To bypass this we had to shutdown again and install a disk internally to save the output file onto, then plug that into another computer to retrieve it. Alternatively the coldclone can actually save the image onto the servers local disk, even if its a disk included in the migration, very swish. We opted not to do this, the disk speed even when copying from internal physical disk to internal physical disk was pitiful, being ATA33 or something ancient.

Once you get the output file, and get the files loaded up on a host machine, boot it up. If you cant install the VMtools, or the speed is unusable, which we discovered 3-4 times, you probably did it wrong and should start again!
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