Migration Assistant: A Guide

Migration Assistant

Migration Assistant is a new feature in Fusion 3, designed to make it easier to migrate your physical Windows computer into a virtual machine. This document aims to give you some information that will be helpful when getting started, as well as providing some troubleshooting tips for common errors. Please be sure to read the "PC Migration Notes" from the Fusion 3 Release Notes, as well:

Getting Started

Before migrating your PC to a virtual machine, there are several things to check:

Your Mac's Operating System: You must be running OS X 10.5.8 or later. This includes 10.6 (Snow Leopard).

Your Windows computer's Operating System: You must be running Windows 2000 SP4 or later. This includes Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Make sure you've run Windows Update and installed all available updates. If you are running an OEM version of Windows, the migration may fail. Also, VMware cannot support OEM copies of Windows migrated into virtual machines as this is a violation of your licensing agreement with Microsoft. If you purchased your computer with Windows pre-installed, you are most likely running an OEM version of Windows. To check whether you are running an OEM version, please see the Microsoft article here: .

Your network connection: Both computers must be connected to the same network. While it's possible to migrate your Windows PC over a wireless connection, we strongly discourage this due to slower transfer speeds and increased possibility of interference. Using a wired ethernet connection is strongly preferred.

Free space: You need at least 200 MB of free space on your Windows PC; more free space is certainly helpful. You will need an amount of free space on your Mac at least equal to the used disk space on your Windows PC. (To check how much disk space is used in Windows: Go to My Computer, right-click each of your hard disk drives / partitions (e.g.. your C: drive, your 😧 drive if you're created a new partition or added a second drive, etc.), and select "Properties" -- the "Used space" and the "Free space" will be displayed.)

NTFS partition: Migration Assistant requires that your Windows PC have at least one NTFS partition (as opposed to a FAT32 partition), in order to be successful.The drive properties (as checked for free space, before) will also show you your "File system"; if this does not say NTFS, you'll need to plug in an external hard drive / flash drive that is NTFS-partitioned that Windows can write to.

Using the Migration Assistant

For an overview of the steps, please see the Fusion Help (accessible in Fusion by going to Help > VMware Fusion Help). From the Help home page, click "Bringing Windows onto Your Mac", and then click "Migrate an Existing Physical PC to a Virtual Machine". There are four distinct steps; the help file gives the exact procedures for each.

1. Set Up Your Mac to Accept the Transfer of Files From Your PC

You must set sharing and firewall system preferences on your Mac to allow the transfer of files needed to create the virtual machine from the physical PC. Note: You must migrate your Windows PC onto your Mac; you cannot migrate the data to a network share.

2. Disable UAC for Windows Vista or Windows 7 Before Migrating

To successfully migrate your PC to VMware Fusion, you must disable User Account Control (UAC) before using the Migrate Your PC feature. (Control Panel > System and Security > Change User Account Control settings, and drag the slider to the bottom)

3. Install and Run the PC Migration Agent on Your PC

For your Mac to be able to connect to your physical PC and start the migration, you must install the PC Migration Agent on your PC. This can be installed from the Fusion CD, or downloaded from here: .

4. Run the Migration Assistant on Your Mac

The Migration Assistant connects to your physical PC and performs the conversions and transfers of files necessary to create the virtual machine on your Mac.

Best Practices

There are several things to keep in mind when using Migration Assistant.

  • If you have a lot of saved data on your Windows PC (e.g., documents, music, pictures, etc.), it may be more efficient to move that data separately, and let Migration Assistant handle moving Windows and your applications only. The fastest way to move your data is with an external hard drive; this will also be useful for backing up your data later! You can also use the Mac Migration Assistant (located in /Applications/Utilities) to move your data, but VMware cannot support this process.

  • Migration Assistant will fail if VMware's Converter product is installed. Be sure to uninstall vCenter Converter (if previously installed) before beginning.

  • Read our Knowledge Base article: Best practices for using and troubleshooting VMware Converter. The recommendations there are equally applicable to Migration Assistant.

  • Read the Release Notes documentation for Fusion 3.0.0 and Fusion 3.0.1.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

There are several issues you may encounter when using Migration Assistant:

An error occurred while creating the virtual machine:

This error suggests that the PC Migration Assistant is being blocked from connecting to your Mac. To fix this, go to System Preferences > Accounts, select the "Guest account" (you may need to click the lock icon and authenticate, first), and make sure that "Allow guests to connect to shared folders" is checked.

Could not create a secure connection:

  1. Follow the steps in this Knowledge Base article to make sure that no Microsoft services (e.g. anti-virus/malware programs) are blocking the Migration Assistant. Also, be sure to disable any services (even Microsoft ones) that have web services and may be listening on port 443 (e.g. IIS or SQL Server).

  2. From a command prompt (Start > Run..., cmd), type in this command: netstat -a -o -p TCP. In the second column, you'll see your computer name, followed by a colon, and a number. If you don't see the number 443, proceed to step 3. If you do see the number 443, type in this command: netstat -a -b -o -p TCP. The command will take a few minutes to complete, but it will show you in brackets what program/process is using Port 443; you'll need shut down this program to continue. (If you don't know what program it is, you may be able to shut it down from the Task Manager.)

  3. Start up in Safe Mode with Networking (press F8 as soon as your computer starts up, and before the Windows logo appears). In this case, you will need to use your PC's IP address rather than the 4-digit code as the Bonjour service will not be started.

Not enough free space:

If you have insufficient space on either your Mac or your Windows PC, you'll need to free up sufficient space (Migration Assistant will tell you how much is needed) to continue.

If All Else Fails

You may have better luck using VMware's stand-alone Converter product, available here:

VMware ELearning has a video walkthrough of Converter here:

Be sure to uninstall the PC Migration Assistant before using Converter.


Please feel free to leave comments if you believe any of the information presented above is incorrect, incomplete, or unclear. Please start a new thread if you have a question about your situation with Migration Assistant as we cannot offer technical support through these comments.

If you do start a thread about Migration Assistant, your logs will be helpful. You can find them at: "%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\VMware\VMware vCenter Converter\logs" (You can just paste that path into Start > Run...). Attaching these logs to your post will be very helpful for anyone who might like to respond.

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