How to Import Virtual PC and Virtual Server machines to VMware

by David Davis - January 8, 2009

Do you have Microsoft Virtual PC or Virtual Server machines already built? If so, now you can import them to VMware Workstation or Server with just a few clicks of the mouse?

Why Import Microsoft Virtual PC / Server machines to VMware?

There are a few reasons you may want to import a Microsoft Virtual PC / Server virtual machine to VMware. They are:

  • Save time from having to reinstall operating systems – installing Windows XP, Windows 2003 Server, or Linux can easily take over an hour. If you have existing Virtual PC / Server machines, you can save a lot of time by importing those to VMware
  • Save time from having to install 3rd party applications – perhaps you have applications installed on your Virtual PC / Server machines already. By importing these to VMware, you can save the time it would have to have to reinstall those applications.
  • Quickly create new machines – even if a friend of yours uses Virtual PC / Server, you can save a lot of time by just copying his/her virtual machines and importing those into your new VMware system.

What should I know about Importing Virtual machines?

Here is a list of things you should know about importing your Microsoft Virtual machines:

  • In previous versions of VMware, there was a separate application to perform the import but now it is built into VMware Workstation 5.5+ and VMware Server.
  • If you use the typical importer options, your existing virtual machine image is not changed, only a copy is made of it. However, may not be the case with the custom importer.
  • The importer changes the virtual Microsoft Virtual PC / Server drivers and turns them into Virtual VMware drivers.
  • The virtual machine you are importing must be turned OFF. It cannot be in a paused/saved state
  • The VMware Virtual Machine Importer is also available as a separate application and can be downloaded for free.

How do I Import Microsoft Virtual PC / Server machines to VMware?

It is easy to import Microsoft Virtual PC / Server machines to VMware. Here are the steps you should take: First, inside your VMware Management Interface, go to File -> Import. You will see the Virtual Machine Importer Wizard. Click Next. You can choose from the typical or custom import options. With the custom import option, you can choose to perform some advanced options. For example, you can set the type of VMware host that will use this imported image. You can also choose not to copy the disk image but, instead, link to it. By choosing to link to the disk image, you won’t be able to use that image again in Virtual PC / Server. Choose the default of Typical, and click Next. On the next screen, specify the source image file. For Virtual PC / Server, this will be the .VMC file that is the configuration for that virtual machine. You aren’t specifying the actual virtual disk that you are going to convert. In my case, I browsed to the VMC files at C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\Shared Virtual Machines\vs6-sharepoint\vs6-sharepoint.vmc. Your virtual machines configuration files (.VMC) may be in that directory or they may be located elsewhere. Once you have located your .VMC files, click Next. The importer will now inspect your virtual machine to make sure it can find the virtual disk that it points to and that the machine is not in a saved/paused state. If it is successful, you will get a confirmation screen, like this: If everything is correct on this screen, click Next to begin the import. The Virtual Machine Importer will first copy the virtual hard drive that the .VMC file pointed to. This may take a long time, depending on the size of the virtual disk. When completed, you should see a screen that looks like this: Click Finish You will be brought back to the VMware Management Interface. You should see that the virtual machine you just imported appears as a new VMware virtual machine, like this: If you click Power-On the Microsoft Virtual PC / Server machine should now start in your VMware Workstation or Server system, like this:

Summary

In summary, begin able to import Microsoft Virtual PC / Server virtual machines into VMware Workstation or Server is huge timesaver. This can help you convert to VMware much faster, if you have previously used Virtual PC / Server. It can also assist you in building new VMware machines faster, if you can obtain Virtual PC / Server machines from someone else. This is a very unique feature of VMware and, no, you cannot import VMware machines to Virtual PC or Virtual Server.

Got a question? Post it on our VMware Forums!



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