There have been a number of issues that have been fixed with the new version of Converter that is included in WS8. It's hard to say whether the issues that you encountered with previous versions have been resolved, without knowing what those issues were. I would suggest you try out WS8, and let folks here know if it works (or didn't work).
Can I get the new converter without installing WS8?
I have seen issues with WS8 and Delphi development which I don't particularly want to encounter. And I believe that if I install WS8 my old trusty WS7 will be hosed in the process, right?
I later found the download of VMWare vSphere Converter 5, which probably is what is needed here.
But can it work off of a hard disk or must the source system be running?
Yes, you can use VMware Converter without installing WS8 on your host. The source must be running since Converter connects to the source machine over the network, and pulls off all the data to make a VM out of the source.
that means that the conversion speed will be network bandwidth limited then, I guess. Too bad considering the size of the source (several hundred Gb) and the fact that I have a 100 Mbit/s network only.
Can conversion be done from the source (install Converter on source) with the target a USB attached hard drive?
That way I don't have to install Converter on my new machine and it would not be network limited...
Is there any helpfile or such available before I install the software?
I installed Converter into my source PC (the old Dell desktop) and started it.
Since I had already before tried to convert this PC and had a virtual clone that bluescreens when I try to start it I now first tried the reconfigure approach.
But now I got an error message I can't understand, see attached image.
I have no clue as to what I need to do to proceed and of course if I use help I don't see any explanation of "sysprep" on the page that pops up...
In the sidebar there is a link to a topic dealing with saving of sysprep, but it does not say how to obtain this crucial file.
It says I must download the correct sysprep file but fails to say from where...
What is this sysprep file in the first place?
I never encountered this when I converted a few laptops using the Paragon GoVirtual software. Those HP laptops just converted and then opened fine in WS7. But this converted desktop just bluescreens, this is why I am trying out VMWare Converter.....
Any ideas where I should go from here?
Get Acronis with Universal Restore instead, maybe? But that would require twice as much storage space because in the process it will use the backup to restore into the new virtual machine. So in the end both the backup and the new guest disks will exist simultaneously.
For the sysprep files, you will need to get them from Microsoft's website. Pick the correct files depending on the OS and SP level of your machine. Unfortunately, Converter cannot show the exact location of the files because this is proprietary Microsoft stuff. Yes, it is inconvenient, but if you search the Microsoft (probably Technet) website for sysprep you should be able to find it pretty easily.
you do not need sysprep-files at all
looks like you enable a feature that needs sysprep - so disable it again