5 Replies Latest reply on Apr 10, 2008 8:45 AM by WoodyZ

    Import existing hard drive...

    JeffLangston Novice

      Okay, I've searched the discussions and the KB and can't seem to find this.  I have a client whose PC died.  Either the logic board or CPU died, but the hard drive is perfectly fine.  He's decided to go Mac, but still has PC only apps that he needs to run.  So we got VMWare Fusion for his brand new MacBook.  Now since I can't run the old PC to install VMWare converter, how do I get this existing hard drive to become a container on the MacBook drive?  I've got the drive plugged into the MacBook through a USB cable and it mounts and I can see everything, but how do I get that into a virtual drive on the MacBook to start running in VMWare?  Please help!  Thanks!

       

      Jeff Langston

        • 1. Re: Import existing hard drive...
          Silica V Hot Shot

          You would like to run the Virtual Machine (VMware Fusion) from external USB drive , correct me if i am wrong here.

           

          You will not be able to run the Virtual Machine from the external drivers, but you can install windows OS and mount the drive in side the Virtual Machine to access the data.

          • 2. Re: Import existing hard drive...
            JeffLangston Novice

            No, I don't want to run my virtual machine off the USB drive, I want to migrate the drive into a virtual drive on my MacBook.  If the PC were functional, I'd install the VMWare Converter on it to transfer it to a virtual drive, but I don't have a functional PC anymore so I can't run the software to convert it.  But I would still like the final result - a virtual disk image with the complete contents of the original hard drive from the PC (and booting off of it.)  Thanks again for any help.

             

            Jeff

            • 3. Re: Import existing hard drive...
              WoodyZ Guru
              Silica V wrote:

              You will not be able to run the Virtual Machine from the external drivers, but you can install windows OS and mount the drive in side the Virtual Machine to access the data.

               

               

               

              For the record one can run Virtual Machines from an External FireWire or USB Hard Drive.  These can be native file based Virtual Machines or a Virtual Machine that uses the external FireWire or USB Hard Drive as a RAW Disk for the Virtual Machine's Hard Drive.  In either case FireWire is the preferred type as it is faster then USB and "/Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion/vmware-rawdiskCreator" typically has no problem creating the Virtual Hard Drive that contains the Metadata (Disk Descriptor) for the RAW Disk in order to use it in the Virtual Machine.  USB is noticeably slower and vmware-rawdiskCreator does not always work on USB External drives however I have gotten USB External Drives to work as RAW Disks however it's not as easy if to do if vmware-rawdiskCreator does not work.

               

              With that said and in the case of an existing hard drive from a physical system hooked up as an external drive then depending on one's knowledge, skills and ability I would have to say that in the long run it may just be easier and faster to clean build a native files based Virtual Machine with a Windows OS and then transfer the User Data from the external hard drive to the new Virtual Machine however there are other options.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Import existing hard drive...
                JeffLangston Novice

                Thanks Woody, for the info.  Can I please ask for the other options?  I'm a computer consultant with over 20 years of experience so I'm not daunted by lengthy and difficult descriptions and procedures.  The existing Windows hard drive has a ton of proprietary apps and and years of stuff on there and the user has a deadline tomorrow to meet so I unfortunately can't even think about starting the system from scratch at this point.  That would be my preferred method too, but I have a time crunch so I just need to get this thing up and running ASAP right now.  So if someone could please tell me the quickest way to convert this real disk into a virtual disk image, I would be a happy camper.   Thanks again.

                 

                Jeff

                • 5. Re: Import existing hard drive...
                  WoodyZ Guru
                  JeffLangston wrote:

                  Thanks Woody, for the info.  Can I please ask for the other options?  I'm a computer consultant with over 20 years of experience so I'm not daunted by lengthy and difficult descriptions and procedures.  The existing Windows hard drive has a ton of proprietary apps and and years of stuff on there and the user has a deadline tomorrow to meet so I unfortunately can't even think about starting the system from scratch at this point.  That would be my preferred method too, but I have a time crunch so I just need to get this thing up and running ASAP right now.  So if someone could please tell me the quickest way to convert this real disk into a virtual disk image, I would be a happy camper.   Thanks again.

                   

                  Jeff

                   

                   

                   

                  As I said in my reply to what Silica V said in the long run it may just be easier and faster to clean build a native files based Virtual Machine with a Windows OS and then transfer the User Data from the external hard drive to the new Virtual Machine however there are other options and that would be as follows.

                   

                  I have done this so I know it can work however it is time consuming and requires additional resources other then Fusion and in the end is not always successful all of the time...

                   

                  Create a Fusion Virtual Machine using the New Virtual Machine Assistant and at the Virtual Hard Disk sheet set the Disk size: to that of the external hard drive and then uncheck the Use Easy Install: check box on the Windows Easy Install sheet.  Aside for the fact that this is not going to be a "Windows Easy Install" it also then uses an IDE Virtual Hard Drive vs a SCSI Virtual Hard Drive and while SCSI if faster it also can be harder to do what comes next.

                   

                  In the next step you can use a commercial product like Symantec's Norton Ghost or you can boot the Virtual Machine with a Linux Live CD/DVD like Knoppix 5.1 and use dd to image the disk.

                   

                  If you use Ghost you can make the Virtual Hard Drive smaller (or larger) then the actual size when creating the Virtual Machine as Ghost can dynamically resize the partition when restoring from a Ghost Image however if you use dd then the Virtual Hard Disk need to be the same size as the Physical Hard Drive and while it can be larger you should not make it smaller until after you have Windows up and running if you want to.

                   

                  Anyway I just booted a Virtual Machine, that I created with a 60 GB Virtual Hard Drive to match the 60 GB USB External Hard Drive containing the Windows XP Professional OS, with a Knoppix 5.1 CD ISO Image and attached the External USB Drive to the Virtual Machine while at the Knoppix Boot Screen.  Once at the Knoppix Desktop I had two disks showing on the Desktop.  One was sda1 and the other was hda1. I checked to see that sda1 was the external drive and it was so I then unmounted it.  Next I used the Root Shell (Terminal) from the Penguin menu and used dd to image the disks.

                   

                  After using dd I exited Knoppix to shutdown the Virtual Machine and disconnected the External USB Hard Drive before the Virtual Machine was completely off but still open ready to start again.  I then changed the CD/DVD to point to an ISO Image of the Windows XP CD and boot it and did a Repair Install of Windows to correct the Hardware differences between the System the External Hard Drive came from and the Virtual Hardware of the Virtual Machine.

                   

                  Once complete the Virtual Machine booted normally and all was working with programs and data without having to reinstall any of the programs although YMMV.

                   

                  Anyway like I said in the beginning... in the long run it may just be easier and faster to clean build a native files based Virtual Machine with a Windows OS and then transfer the User Data from the external hard drive to the new Virtual Machine.

                   

                  There are also other methods and software products to accomplish the same thing I just did however I have used both Ghost and dd with success.

                   

                  I also use Knoppix 5.1 (KNOPPIX_V5.1.1CD-2007-01-04-EN.iso) from http://www.knoppix.com because it works with VMware Virtual Machine's and will recognize SCSI Virtual Hard Disks without any additional drivers and is free.  I also use Ghost however I use that mainly when dealing with P2P not P2V as I normally always clean build my Virtual Machines.

                   

                  Good Luck and Have Fun!