VirtualBox P2V Success

virtualbox logo

I’ve been using VirtualBox prior to 1.4, and P2V’ing a Windows host into VirtualBox has been close to impossible. With some hints from Katsumi Inoue and a comment from Robert, I’ve been successfully able to P2V my primary Windows host at work. The following is a quick rundown on how I did it with VirtualBox 2.1.2 and VMware Converter.

  1. Get a copy of VMware Converter.  I went with the standalone version, and if you don’t have an enterprise agreement or license with them, you will need this version too.
  2. Install it.
  3. Run VMware Converter and convert the physical host that you installed it to.  I opted to write the conversion to an external USB drive, and it took about 2 hours to migrate a 37GB disk.  Converter opted for multiple .vmdk’s instead of one monolithic image.  In the past this is where we had to apply some black magic to get VirtualBox to work with a .vmdk.  With the new 2.1 series (this was tested on 2.1.2), VirtualBox is able to use vmdk’s.  With 2.1.2 (possibly earlier), it can deal with a sliced image making this processes extremely simple.
  4. Import the VMDK into VirtualBox.  Make sure that you grab the correct vmdk and not one of the slices.
  5. Create the new guest and attach the VMDK.
  6. In the setting configuration of the guest, make sure that you initially have the “IO APIC” selected.
  7. The machine should boot without a complaint but will run slowly due to IO APIC.
  8. In your new Windows guest, open up the device manager and update the driver for “ACPI Uniprocessor PC”.  Update the driver to use “Advanced Configutation and Power Interface (ACPI) PC” instead.
  9. Shutdown the guest and modify the settings and unselect the “IO APIC”.
  10. Startup the VM and enjoy a newly converted guest!

Finally.  A fully working guest that was P2V’d and didn’t require 24 hours of endless searching or head scratching to get it to work.  Hooray!

23. January 2009 by Jason
Categories: Virtualization | Tags: | 26 comments

Comments (26)

  1. What kind of image did you build? Vmware-converter gives a great many choices of vmware products to target.

    • I chose to create a standalone VM using a VMDK that was split on 2GB boundaries. The segmented VMDK was only necessary as I was writing the conversion to a FAT formatted disk. As the ultimate goal was to get the machine into VirtualBox, I selected the Destination type to be “Other Virtual Machine”, and set the type of virtual machine to be a Workstation 6.x.

  2. Awesome. Just migrated to VirtualBox on a freshly converted SuSE -> Ubuntu Jaunty and was having issues getting my XP host going, since I had so much trouble compiling the VMware modules.


  3. Hello,

    This works great.
    finally my windows is inside my ubuntu, with good performances. I spent a lot of time to get this working, and your trick does it.

    Thank you very much!

  4. Would this method also work if the disk was NTFS?

  5. This procedure works with VirtualBox v3.0.

    Though, you need to remove the VMware Tools if they were installed prior to opening in VirtualBox.

    Also, I had to remove the machine from my AD Domain and add it back before I could use any AD accounts.

  6. I don’t have the Uniproc device, and am struggling to find a setting to change in order to make things work at an acceptable speed. Any thoughts?


  7. Very enjoyed this! Well done!

  8. Excelente post, it helps a lot! I never thought that Vbox could read .vmdk!

  9. Pingback: Physical to Virtual in VirtualBox - VirtualBox P2V | Virtualization Software Support

  10. Pingback: Physical to Virtual in VirtualBox - VirtualBox P2V |

  11. A couple of clarifications: VirtualBox has an Import Appliance functionality. This is not what is needed here. Instead, go to File -> Virtual Media Manager, and click on Add. Then browse to the VMDK file. It will become the hard drive for the guest OS. Then create a new guest with however much CPU and RAM and devices that you want.

    The other clarification is that on Vista and Windows 7 the “ACPI Uniprocessor PC” is called “ACPI x86-based PC” or “ACPI x64-based PC” instead. Also, you will not find this entry in the System Devices category. It is under the Computer category instead.

    This worked perfectly for me virtualizing Vista 32-bit to a guest on top of Windows 7 64-bit. Thanks!

  12. I’ve got a brand new harddrive (removed from a new laptop) with win7 on it sitting in an external cradle. VirtualBox won’t let me boot from the real disk; and vmconverter only runs from the live system … do I have any alternative to booting into windows, installing the vmconverter on it, and following the directions here? Can’t I leverage the existing linuxx64 to execute or convert a physical drive?

  13. Hi Jason,

    I’m new to the world of VM’s. I’ve been playing with virtual box for a bit and i’m keen to p2v a couple of our less critical servers. what sort of prep do you need to do on the server you want to virtualise before setting loose vm converter?

    Thanks for sharing all your hard work with the rest of us.

  14. Hi,
    I am new virtual box user.I have encountered by a problem:
    guest machine: windows Xp
    host machine: win 7
    I have made a vmdk using VMware-converter-4.0.1-161434 of my guest machine. I have created new profile in virtual box(VirtualBox-3.2.8-64453-Win) with this vmdk assigning sufficient memory. But when it is going to boot its giving following (green death )error:

    A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer
    if this is first time you have seen this stop error screen, restart your computer…

    check for virus on your computer . remove any newly installed hard drive and hard drive controller. check your hard drive to make sure it is properly configured and terminated. run chkdsk /f to check your hard drive corruption….

    technical information…

    Anyone can help please??

    my current virtual box setting:
    OS Type:Windows XP

    Base Memory:1024 MB
    Boot Order:Hard Disk
    Nested Paging:Enabled

    Video Memory:16 MB
    3D Acceleration:Disabled
    2D Video Acceleration:Disabled
    Remote Display Server:Disabled

    IDE Controller
    IDE Primary Master:finbd2.vmdk (Normal, 48.87 GB)

    Host Driver:Windows DirectSound
    Controller:ICH AC97

    Adapter 1:PCnet-FAST III (NAT)

    Serial Ports
    Device Filters:0 (0 active)

    Shared Folders

  15. Pingback: Physical to Virtual in VirtualBox – VirtualBox P2V « Kip – Knowledge Is Power

  16. Pingback: P2V from Se7en to VirtualBox at TuM'Fatig

  17. DUDE! This was the best, perfectly explained, step by step, how to of some extraordinarily impressive Sh.iT. I printed it out cause it still works on VirtualBox 4.1

  18. Thank you very much! You are great man!:)

  19. Pingback: Wirtualizacja starego serwera (np. Windows 2000 Serwer) « blog Daniela

  20. Pingback: Is a VirtualBox image just an image of a /* files? - Just just easy answers

  21. I’m using virtualbox 4.3.6 r 91406
    I have a windows 7 machine working just fine but I have created an image from another machine so I have all of them in one.

    but the second image is an image created with VMWare Comverter.

    I’m not sure what is wrong or is it not compatible with VB 4.3?

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *