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How To Convert a Physical Computer to a Virtual Machine

Updated on October 29, 2015

How To Convert a Physical Computer to a Virtual Computer

There are a number of ways that can be used to convert a physical computer to a virtual machine. There are tools in the VMWare world where you can convert a physical to a virtual machine. In this hub, I will show you a simple way that uses Ease US Todo Backup. This backup software is probably one of the easiest and reliable software that I have used. I was using it's free version.

Essentially, the steps are :

1. Backup the physical machine to an image file.

2. Convert the image to a hard disk image suitable for use with a virtual environment.

3. Open the converted image in a virtual environment.

Backup the Physical Machine to an Image File

I have been experimenting with Ease US's Todo Backup and find it to be reliable and easy to use.

They have a free version as well as a trial version that you can download. In the previous free version (version 3) you can backup and also convert the backup image to a hard disk file in either the vhd or vmdk format. We will convert the image to a vmdk format to be used with the free VMPlayer from WMWare.

To obtain Ease US Todo backup, you can Google "Ease US Todo Backup download", and download it from the Ease US web site.

You will need to download and install the trial version in this case because we are obtaining the latest version and want to convert the image file.

Run a Full Backup

Choose Disk/Partition for the type of backup
Choose Disk/Partition for the type of backup
Choose Destination
Choose Destination

Convert the Image File to a VMDK file

After you have successfully backed up your physical machine's hard disk partition, you are ready to convert the backup image into a VMDK file.

On the Home tab of Ease US Todo Backup, select the Tools option.

Navigate to the backup image and then select VMWare as the type of image to convert to. When you proceed, you will get an error message that VMWare disk lib is not installed.

Navigate to the backup image.
Navigate to the backup image.
Select VMWare as the type of image to convert to
Select VMWare as the type of image to convert to

Error - missing file

Error
Error
Downloading the VMWare Disk Lib 1.1.1
Downloading the VMWare Disk Lib 1.1.1

Installing VMWare Disk Lib

You need to download and install the VMWare Disk lib version 1.1.1 to be able to convert the image to WMWare (VMDK file).

You can get the VMWare Disk lib from the VMWare web site.

You will need to register to the VMWare site (for free).

Once you have downloaded and installed the VMWare Disk Lib 1.1.1 you can proceed with converting the image to VMDK format.

Open the VMDK file in VMPlayer

Once you have converted the backup file to the VMDK format, it is now time to open it within VMPlayer.

VMPlayer is a free virtual machine application that runs under Windows and Linux that you can download from the VMWare site.

Once you have installed and run VMPlayer, you will need to create a machine in VMPlayer, and attach the VMDK file to the machine.

It should boot up the machine just like the physical machine. The only catch is it might ask you to re-license Windows again, so make sure you have the Product Key ready (from the old machine)

Conclusion

It is very useful to be able to convert a physical machine to a virtual machine and to do it simply with a backup product like EASE US Todo Backup makes it worthwhile to purchase such a backup program. Not only does it backup your files so you can retrieve them in emergency situations, but if your hardware dies, you can convert the image backup to a virtual machine and you can run your application on a new host.

This article does not go in detail about how to attach a VMDK file to VMPlayer, but I will put up another hub which will show how to install and configure VMPlayer.

VMWare also offers a free physical to virtual machine solution. This can be an alternative to running EASE US Todo Backup.

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