My P2V Notes (Stand alone servers or non-clustered)

Here is my quick notes regarding P2V for stand alone servers.

  • Type of Clone
  • Check list before P2V
  • Type of Converting Method
  • Download vCenter Converter
  • Install vCenter Converter
  • Convert Physical to Virtual Machine
  • After P2V Cleanup
  • FAQs

Type of P2V Clone

There are three type of P2V Clone,

  1. Hot Clone
  2. Warm Clone
  3. Cold Clone

1. Hot Clone

Servers, those can’t effort much downtime where uptime is critical are use hot clone. Update Data are synchronized base on schedule time and wait for short amount of downtime. When change windows arrived, stop services, synchronize the changes, shutdown physical server and power on the VM.

2. Warm Clone

Services are shutdown and perform converting. Required service down time during converting.

3. Cold Clone

Services and Windows are shutdown and perform converting using VMware Cold Clone CD where available for vSphere enterprise license only. For those purchased vSphere Enterprise license, can download from VMware website where VMware no longer provide above vSphere 4.0.

Physical Server boot from Cold Clone CD and perform converting. It doesn’t required vCenter Converter Agent to be install in target servers.

Check List before P2V

  • Assumption: Physical server had been performed capacity plan using vmware capacity planner and selected to be able to convert as VM.
  • run cmd : ipconfig /all > c:\%computername%_ipaddress.txt
  • run cmd : hostname  > c:\%computername%_hostname.txt
  • run cmd : route print  > c:\%computername%_routeprint.txt
  • run cmd : net share > c:\%computername%_netshare.txt
  • run cmd : gpresult /r > c:\%computername%_gpresult.txt
  • Local administrator account and password
  • Confirm latest successful backup for physical server
  • Available free space to install vCenter Converter Agent
  • Available free Memory to run vCenter Converter Agent (minimum 512MB system Memory required)
  • Stop require Services (example: web server, stop iis service)
  • Minimum 1Gbps Network link and required ports between converter and physical server.

Type of Converting Method

There are Two type of method,

  1. Push
  2. Pull
  1. Push method

This method is useful in the case of Source Servers are hardened and converter Server unable to install vCenter converter agent remotely. So installation is done by local (Source Servers) and try to push itself to vCenter Server or ESXi.

Here, how is work for Push Method,

2. Pull Method

Most of my P2V converting done by pull method where vCenter Converter is installed on dedicated Server (Preferred Method), sometime it is installed in vCenter server.

Here, how is work for Pull Method,

Download vCenter Converter

Download vCenter Converter 5.0 from by log on using your VMware Account.

Install vCenter Converter

Once you downloaded run the setup file to start installation.

Click Next..

Click Next..

Accept the license agreement and Click Next…

Check installation path, I am using default installation path, Click Next…

Choose Client-Server installation (advanced), I am using pull method.

Click Next…

Ports requirement, take note, and Click Next…

Click Install…

Click Install…

Click Finish… and run Converter Client.

Choose Connect to a local server, then Click Login.

Here is “working panel” for vCenter Converter.

Convert Physical to Virtual

Time to start P2V converting

Click Convert machine…

Select Source type to Power-on machine

Specify the powered-on machine to A remote machine

Key in IP address or name, user name, password.

Then, Click Next…

Choose Automatically uninstall the files when import succeeds.

Click Yes… to continue Agent Deployment to target server.

Notes: sometime it will fail, those hardened server. Then use push method instead of pull method.

Key in vCenter or ESXi Server ip address, user name and password.

Click Next…

Ignore certificate warning from vCenter or ESXi Server.

Click Ignore…

Give VM Name: Mercury (in this example)

Select Folder, if there is.

Click Next…

Select Cluster: Ring-1 (in this example)

(DRS will decide which ESXi host this VM should land based on load balance across all hosts. If your target is ESXi Server, VM will register and land on your target ESXi Server)

Select Datastore: iOMEGA-LUN-1 (in this example)

Select Virtual Machine Version: Version 8

Click Next…

Click Data to Copy to edit your harddisk layout.

Make sure you have select

  • Ignore page file and hibernation file

  • Create optimized partition layout (This will help you to align disk)

In this example there is two hard drive.

  • C:\ drive with Virtual Disk1
  • D:\ and F:\ with Virtual Disk2

My recommendation is try to keep single partition per Virtual Disk. To do this Click Advanced…

Click Destination layout…

Click Add disk…

Select 8GB partition and Click Move down… (in this example)

Now new disk layout become like,

  • C:\ drive with Virtual Disk1
  • D:\ drive with Virtual Disk2
  • F:\ with Virtual Disk3

This disk layout will allow you to increase disk size easily if your VM require more disk space in future. You can change disk size in disk layout setting, take note it will change from block level to file level copying. File level copy is longer then block level copy.

Select Networks, remove Connect at power-on checkbox.

Which will prevent conflict with Source Server while your doing after P2V cleanup.

All other setting keep it default and you can change it later on.

Click Next…

Click Finish… to start converting.

After P2V Clean up

After p2v clean up is critical as performance and stability will be compromised. VM needs to clean up old hardware and vendor specific software where in Virtual World would not applicable. During the cleanup do not connect to network.

  • Take snapshot of VMs before star doing any cleanup
  • Power up VM and install VMware Tools, ignore new hardware found and driver installation. Once VMware Tool is installed reboot to continue next steps.
  • Change resolution resize (scripted)
  • Clean HP, Dell, IBM and other hardware vendor specific software (manual cleanup required)
  • Remove non present device to run this command (set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1) to see hidden devices in device manager. In device manager set Show hidden device under view menu. (scripted)
  • Rename local area connection (Get the name from c:\%computername%_ipaddress.txt) (manual setting required)
  • Assign correct IP address (manual setting required)
  • Change HAL (upgrade or downgrade). This is critical that windows 2003 and below versions are required to set manual for uni processor and multi processor. (scripted)
  • Confirm Services and application are started and working as expected.
  • Remove snapshot.
  • Connect to network and GO LIVE.

Get required above script from following link, (thanks to Kendrick coleman)


  • How long P2V converting will take?
  • Ans: My experience, it can simply count 20GB to 30GB per hour.
  • Can I install converter to server which hardened?
  • Ans: NO (not recommended). Please use non hardened physical server or VM as converter server.
  • Can I convert my third-party backup image to VM?
  • Ans: YES.
    • Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 and Microsoft Virtual PC 2007
    • Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 and Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2
    • Hyper-V Server virtual machines that run Windows guest operating systems
    • Hyper-V Server virtual machines that run Linux guest operating systems
    • Acronis True Image Echo 9.1, 9.5, and Acronis True Image 10.0, 11.0 (Home product)
    • Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery (formerly LiveState Recovery) 6.5, 7.0, 8.0 and 8.5, LiveState Recovery 3.0 and 6.0 (only .sv2i files)
    • Norton Ghost version 10.0, 11.0, 12.0, 13.0, and 14.0 (only .sv2i files)
    • Parallels Desktop 2.5, 3.0, and 4.0
    • StorageCraft ShadowProtect 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.1, and 3.2
  • How many simultaneous jobs can run per converter server?
  • Ans: the maximum supported number of simultaneous conversion jobs is 20. My recommendation is do not run more than 15 concurrent jobs per converter server.
  • After converting to VM, some of VM’s disks are able to increase size but some can’t and grayed out, Why?
  • Ans: It is because of disk type IDE preventing from you to increase disk size. SCSI disk type are fine and no issue. To convert IDE to SCSI disk please following below KB;
  • I can’t convert windows 2000, Why?
  • Ans: Please use vCenter convert version 4.0.1 or 3.0.3 to convert Windows 2000. See support guest operation system below,

Converter Standalone 3.0.3

Converter Standalone 4.0.1

Converter Standalone 5.0

Supported Guest Operating Systems

Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit)

Windows XP Professional (32- bit and 64-bit)

Windows 2003 Server (32-bit and 64-bit)

Windows 2000 Professional (32-bit)

Windows 2000 Server (32-bit)

Windows NT 4 SP4+ (32-bit) (IE5 or higher required)

Windows NT SP6 and later

Windows 2000 SP4

Windows XP Professional (32 bit and 64 bit)

Windows Server 2003 (32 bit and 64 bit)

Windows Vista (32 bit and 64 bit)

Windows Server 2008 (32 bit and 64 bit)*

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 (32 bit)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0 (32 bit and 64 bit)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0 (32 bit and 64 bit)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.0 (32 bit and 64 bit)

Red Hat Linux Advanced Server 2.1 (32 bit)

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8.0

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9.0 (32 bit and 64 bit)

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10.0 (32 bit and 64 bit)

Ubuntu 5.x

Ubuntu 6.x

Ubuntu 7.x (32 bit and 64 bit)

Ubuntu 8.x (32 bit and 64 bit)

Windows XP Professional SP3 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Windows Server 2003 SP2, R2 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Windows Vista SP2 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Windows Server 2008 SP2 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Windows Server 2008 R2 (64-bit)

Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.x (32-bit and 64-bit)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.x (32-bit and 64-bit)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.x (32-bit and 64-bit)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.x (32-bit and 64-bit)

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8.x (32-bit and 64-bit)

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9.x (32-bit and 64-bit)

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10.x (32-bit and 64-bit)

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11.x (32-bit and 64-bit)

Ubuntu 8.x (32-bit and 64-bit)

Ubuntu 9.x (32-bit and 64-bit)

Ubuntu 10.x (32-bit and 64-bit)

  • During P2V converting, I got error saying that “The source computer has EFI firmware. Conversion of live computers with EFI firmware is not supported”. How to P2V or convert UEFI with GPT disk?
  • Ans: Use VMware Converter 5.1 to convert GPT disks. Check out this VMware KB.
  • Follow this link to understand more about encryption hard drive.
  • If you’re confident your system hasn’t or never use drive encryption, then enjoy…

Try these steps to convert P2V for UEFI system:

1. Identify system drive partition type GPT or MBR. If GPT go to step 3.

2. If system drive is MBR, convert system drive with VMware Converter, do backup and restore for other GPT drive to VM after converting is done. Then go to step 11.

3. Copy the data on the GPT based drives, convert to VHD image using 3rd party tools. Now you got MBR based VHD file with data.

4. Convert VHD to ESX Server VMDK using 3rd party tools.

5. Create new VM without Hard disks.

6. Upload VMDK files to newly created VM folder using vSphere Client.

7. Attach VMDK file to VM. Attach Windows Server DVD or 3rd party tools to repair BCD of system partition. BCD was lost, and it cause system fail to boot because system reserve partition was not included during transfer data to VHD using 3rd party tools.

8. Once power on boot from Windows Server DVD or 3rd party tools.

9. To Repair BCD, follow this Microsoft KB, for those who has a license of 3rd party tools it can done with single click to fix it.

10. After BCD is fixed, now windows can start up

11. Next step is Follow After P2V Clean up.

12. Attach RDM if there is.

13. Check services running fine. Then GO LIVE.


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4 Responses to My P2V Notes (Stand alone servers or non-clustered)

  1. Very informative Thanks for your great post………………

  2. great article man, is there a scientific equation for the time needed for the conversion? since it depends on a lot factors like the source machine performance, IO read/write, network , etc…

    • akmyint says:

      Please refer to “How long P2V converting will take?” under FAQs.
      That’s the rule of thumb regardless of all other factors like Servers’ Hardware, Network and Disk.
      Be sure that you have 1Gbps of network link on your target server.

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