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Several posts (like this one) seem to indicate that if you have a physical hard drive, you can "just" connect it with VMWare and it will be converted in a VMWare virtual machine.

I have a physical disk which is bootable (but not booted into!), and is accessible by Windows as drive H:. With all the options that VMWare offers to convert (a live system, a VHD image, etc) it doesn't list a way to simply pick up a physical drive and use it.

How can I convert this physical drive with a working OS to a VMWare image?

note: I also have a VHD backup (larger than 137GB), but not the VMC file, because I chose Full Backup from Vista; VMWare Workstation can only connect if the VHD is accompanied by a VMC file

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2 Answers 2

What I've done before is to create the VM and a blank disk but boot from a recovery Linux ISO (eg SystemRescueCd), mount the VMware disk, add the network details then attach the physical drive to a Linux box and use dd over ssh to transfer the entire drive contents to the VM disk.

Once it's all copied let the VM boot from it.

For recovering what was a running system this has worked fine. The only problem may be with having the drivers for the type of drive that the VM now has.

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If you are able to boot the hard drive on the hardware it used to live on you can P2V it with http://www.vmware.com/products/converter/

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