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P2V Conversion using Macrium Reflect to VMWare ESXi Server

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P2V Conversion using Macrium Reflect to VMWare ESXi Server

This article explains how to convert a physical machine to a virtual machine on a VMware ESXi Host

Migrating old physical hardware to virtual machine is an increasingly common business requirement as companies consolidate old hardware onto newer, more powerful, virtual systems to reduce asset management overhead.

This article deals explicitly with conversion from a physical host to an ESXi-based virtual machine. However many of these steps are relevant to other VMware products. In addition, moving VMware virtual machines from one VMware product to another is well supported.


There are two initial preparation steps to this process:

1. Create a rescue media ISO. To do this, please see the KB article on rescue media. On the last page of this wizard, change the CD/DVD burner to "create ISO Image":

Then click finish. Select a location for the ISO file and click save.

2. Upload the ISO to the ESXi file store. To do this, in the vSphere client, select configuration, right click on the datastore and select browse datastore:

Create a sensibly-named location. Then press the upload button, browse for your ISO and press Ok. The following screenshot shows the upload button, the location created and the in-progress transfer:

3. Image your physical system. To do this, please refer to the knowledgebase article How to Create a Disk Image.

Having completed these steps, you are now ready to perform one of the following two methods, depending on your possible workflow.

Restore method
The restore method acts like a physical restore, but on a virtual machine. There are some slight variations to the process, which we detail here. For a more in depth coverage of the restore process, please see how to restore a backup image.

The steps for this method are as follows:
1. Define a virtual machine matching your requirements using the VMware client.
2. Open the virtual machine and attach the rescue ISO to it. The menus you need to use are highlighted in the following screenshot:

3. Ensure the device is connected at 'power on' in the hardware tab of the virtual machine settings.
4. Restore your system image to the virtual machine using this rescue ISO. An example of an in progress restore:

VHD Disk Image Method
The disk image method converts a Macrium Reflect Image file directly to a Virtual Hard Disk for use in Hyper-V. If you are intending to use your image on Hyper-V based systems as well as VMWare you may prefer this option.

Before taking this route, note that you will also need to convert the VHD to a VMDK, the native disk image format for VMware systems. This adds additional time to the process.

The steps for this method are as follows:
1. Convert your Macrium Image to a VHD. The first half of the article create a virtual machine from a Macrium Reflect disk image explains how to do this.
2. Convert the VHD to a VMDK. At present Macrium Reflect cannot do this automatically - you will need to use a third party tool for this step.
3. Upload your created VMDK to the ESXi data store. This is similar to the preparation step "uploading a rescue ISO".
4. Define a virtual machine matching your requirements using the VMware client. Important: when defining a virtual machine, select the custom configuration. This allows you to choose a custom disk image, as show below.

5. Configure your VM as desired. When you reach the Select a Disk step, Select "use an existing virtual disk".

6. Locate the disk on the file store and complete the wizard.
7. Power on the VM.
If your physical hardware and VM hardware are similar, your image should now boot in the virtual environment.

Resolving stop error 7B issues
If your physical hardware does not match the virtualised selection closely, you may find your VM is unable to boot and you see the following error:

To resolve this issue, you will need to use ReDeploy from a bootable rescue ISO created in the preparation stage.

You can find a general overview of ReDeploy in our online help. This section will focus on specific requirements for ESXi.

1. Download the necessary drivers for your configuration. VMware Workstation 5.1 emulates the LSI SAS 1068 controller when LSI Logic SAS is chosen, for example. These drivers can be downloaded here:
Download these to a network location or other storage you can access from your rescue media.
2. Attach and boot from your Rescue ISO. Wait for the rescue environment to load.
3. From the restore menu, select redeploy to new hardware.
4. In the redeploy dialog, select add to add an additional location. If necessary, select map drive to map a network share first.

5. The driver location is added to the list, as show below. Select next.

6. In the next dialog you will see the the chosen driver available in green:

Press next and on the next page select finish to complete the wizard.
7. At the reboot prompt, select reboot to restart your VM.

Your previously non-booting VM should now launch to the login screen. You may need to make adjustments for other utilities e.g. graphics cards, but these can be handled from within Windows.

Search Terms
Physical to Virtual
Macrium Reflect

Last Modified:16 Jul 2013

Last Modified By:

Type: Tutorial

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