Transition Physical Machine To Virtual
I'm writing more so as a reminder to myself...
What I am trying to do is transition an older machine, one that is "semi-retired" but still contains some stuff that I need every once and a while for work purposes and I'd rather not muck up my new installation with these tools.
So enter virtualization technology... wouldn't it be nice to somehow convert the physical machine to a virtual machine that can be stored and utilized from any newer machine that I choose... when and if the need should arise?
The tools that I've used thus far are:
I used the Disk2vhd tool to convert the physical disk to a VHDX formatted virtual disk; the nice thing about this tool is it is designed to be run on an active system utilizing "Windows' Volume Snapshot" capabilities. What this really means is that it's smart enough to be able to image the drive even though files are in-use.
I then downloaded and installed VirtualBox on the target machine that I'd like to get this up and running on. I then created a new virtual machine and hit my first problem... thanks to Visual Studio 2012+... Hyper-V is enabled by default in order to facilitate development and testing on Windows Phone devices. Because of this, VirtualBox does not allow me to create a virtual machine that is 64-bit; which, of course, the original machine was. The first step was to disable Hyper-V. To do so, you could either go to Enable/Disable Windows Features and do it using a mouse... our, use the following command line (requires Administrator elevation)...
bcdedit /set hypervisorlaunchtype off
(Note: To enable later, use "bcdedit /set hypervisorlaunchtype auto".)
Once you have successfully executed the above command line, a reboot is required. Now that this has been completed... of course, as you can probably guess, yet another "speed bump"...
In order for 64-bit virtualization technology to be leveraged, the BIOS (most likely culprit) needs to be entered and Intel Virtualization needs to be enabled. On the target machine, a newer model Windows 8 Sony VAIO® Fit 15A / Flip PC, I had to press the "Assist" button pressing the "Power" button from a powered off state. Now that this has been completed, YEAH!, I can finally create a 64-bit Windows 7 virtual machine in VirtualBox.
OK, I create a new machine, set the memory to what the original was (4GB) and leave the HD until later... as it turns out, I was not yet prepared to "use an existing disk".
Apparently the VHDX formatted virtual disk is not compatible with VirtualBox; here's where Windows PowerShell and Convert-VHD come into play. The following command line can be executed to easily (albeit slowly depending on the size of the disk) convert between VHDX to VHD (or the other way around if you have the need)...
Convert-VHD nameofdisk.vhdx nameofdisk.vhd -Passthru
(and wait for this to complete)
Once done, I can then modify the settings of the virtual machine and connect the disk image with success. In my case, the original machine was SATA, so I chose the SATA path instead of IDE.
I then started the virtual machine... after a bit of chugging along and several Windows updates... I now have a virtual machine that appears to match the original physical machine.