VMWare – Converter Best Practices (p2v)

I found this on the web a while back, it sums up most of what you need to know before doing any P2V work (this generally talks about a windows physical to virtual conversion)….
Converter Best Practices

What should I do after I successfully convert my virtual machine?

If you change from a multi-processor system to a uni-processor system you need to manually change the HAL on the Windows server after the conversion. To do this go into Device Manager after the machine first boots and discovers it’s new hardware and then click on Computer then right-click on the processor and select Update Driver. Then select Install from specific location and then Don’t search I will choose the driver to install. Then select show All compatible hardware and select the appropriate processor. For example, if you went from a dual cpu to a single cpu then select ACPI uni-processor PC instead of ACPI multi-processor PC. You will need to reboot once you change this. To verify what HAL you are using you right-click your hal.dll in c:\windows\system32 and select the Version tab and select Internal Name and it should say halmacpi.dll for multi-processor acpi and halacpi.dll for uni-processor acpi.

Next clean up all the non-present hardware after the P2V conversion. To do this go to a CMD prompt and type;



then select Show Hidden Devices. Delete any old grayed out hardware. Next remove any vendor specific applications/drivers. For example on a HP server you should go to Add/Remove programs and remove any HP management agents, survey utility, array config utility, version control agent, etc. Also check your NIC and make sure there are no vendor specific drivers there (ie. teaming). Check the Services to see if all there is anything vendor specific related there and disable any services that are.

  • Agent Installation Location
    • Locally: Install Converter and agent directly on source machine if converting directly into ESX Server
    • Remotely: Connect to source machine over network to install agent
  • Agent Installation
    • Use local administrator account
    • Avoid domain accounts that have restrictive policies
    • Allow reboot for Windows NT 4.0 and 2000 sources
  • Machine Preparation
    • Do not deactivate services or harden security
    > Workstation service
    > Server service
    > TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper service
    > Volume Shadow Copy service (Windows 2003 or XP)
    • Ensure sufficient free disk space (at least 200MB)
    • Mirrored or striped volumes across multiple disks should be broken
    • Dynamic disks with utility partitions should use cold cloning
    • Disable Windows Simple File Sharing (Windows XP only)
    • Disable anti-virus software
    • Defrag hard disks
    • Shutdown any un-needed Windows Services
    • Clean-up any temporary files and un-needed data
    • Run chkdsk
    • Keep users off if possible
    • Power off VM if not using hot cloning
    • VCB VM exports need editing prior to import
    > Edit virtual disk filenames inside .vmx
    > Rename filenames for .vmdk files to match those listed in .vmx
    > Edit index .vmdk file to change references to span files
  • Network Preparation
    • Open TCP/UDP ports 139, 445, and 902 (Converter 3.0.0) or 443 (Converter 3.0.1)
    • Open network ports between source and destination
    > Alternative is to create a VM visible to source, copy VM files to location visible to destination, and import VM
    • Use FQDN to connect to both source and VI3
  • Converter Preparation
    • Run on OS greater than or equal to source if source is
    > VM and powered off, or
    > Symantec Livestate System Image
  • Cloning
    • Starter edition limitations and workarounds
    > Cannot remote hot clone directly into VI3
    – Workaround 1: install Converter on source machine
    – Workaround 2: select standalone VM as destination, and then import VM to VI3 using two steps
    > Cannot run multiple tasks concurrently
    – Workaround: run multiple copies of Converter
    > Cannot cold clone
    – Workaround: create new VM, use third-party cloning application such as Ghost, and run Converter configure
    • Do not resize volume for fastest clone speed (block-level copying)
    • Resize volumes if source disks have inefficient utilization (resorts to file-level copying)
    • Use cold-cloning disk-based cloning (not volume-based) for non-Windows systems
    • Use hot cloning for Windows NT 4.0 systems to avoid NTFS upgrade
    • Destination needs to be writeable
  • Configure
    • Avoid cloning utility partitions
    • Check partition numbers in boot.ini
    • Automatic “Install VMware Tools” option is only available for ESX Server VMs
  • Clean-Up Prior to Power On
    • Edit VM settings according to desired goal
    > Number of vCPUs
    > Add/Delete USB devices
    > Add/Delete Serial and parallel devices
    > Remove Floppy drive if not needed
    > SCSI controller type (BusLogic vs. LSI Logic)
    • OEM source may require license activation
    > SMBIOS.reflectHost = “TRUE” in .vmx may avoid reactivation
    > Requires destination host to have same hardware
  • Clean-Up After Power On
    • Detect hardware
    > VMware Tools installation may hang if hardware not detected
    • Allow reboots to occur
    > Detect hardware and VMware Tools installation
    • Verify HAL and change if necessary
    • Remove non-present old hardware
    > Next type DEVMGMT.MSC and select Show Hidden Devices
    > Delete any old grayed out non-present hardware
  • Guest Troubleshooting
    • Blue screen after powering on
    > Start Windows in Safe Mode and uninstall hardware-specific applications or services
    > Attach VM to “Helper VM” to remove hardware-specific drivers or to correct the boot.ini
    • No keyboard/mouse
    > Select Workstation/Server VM instead of ESX Server, then import VM to ESX Server
    > Use PS/2 keyboard/mouse on source
    • Display problems
    > Uninstall PC Anywhere prior to installing VMware Tools

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