yes, problem is fixed now, found the following article on the MS web site:
It was a faulty entry for MS Visio 2003, deleted it and it´s working.
I am having this problem trying to convert and XP laptop to a VM before having it upgraded to Vista and the solution outlined in the link has not helped. I deleted an entry in the registry relative to Visio and the only thing it did is cause the failure after the first minute instead at the 95% point after 2.5 hours. The only registry entry left is the one outlined as a default for system in the article. This is extremely frustrating. Google has not yielded any other solutions but plenty of problems.
Me too !
Many thanks - supporting old machines is only possible with forums like this.