Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a computer with a Unix OS installed on it. I want to convert this computer to a virtual machine so that I can run it on another computer with VMware workstation.

share|improve this question
Plz send codez!!!!11!!one – Le Comte du Merde-fou Oct 15 '09 at 20:12
Hardly. I think this is a real question. Do you want them to pad it with three paragraphs of irrelevant back story? – Mark Henderson Oct 15 '09 at 20:16
Alex: Please be more descriptive. It looks like you are asking how to convert an existing install to a vmware image, but we have no idea what kind of existing install. Bare metal? Xen? Another VM system? – Scott Markwell Oct 15 '09 at 20:22
I think it would be more beneficial to visit the VMWare site and obtain the appropriate tools and information from them. After all, they seem to know something about this stuff. – John Gardeniers Oct 15 '09 at 20:51
SO/F/U is not the place to be answering with "Google It" links. The idea is that when people google it brings them here. – Mark Henderson Oct 15 '09 at 21:22

The product you need is called VMWare Converter. You will be after the Standalone version. The documentation for it can be found here.

Basically, the VMWare Converter will take the existing physical Unix machine and convert it into a VMWare format. This VMWare image can then be loaded into whichever VMWare host you choose.

share|improve this answer
can I install it on unix? does it support unix? – Alex Oct 15 '09 at 21:29
this sounds like the way to go for me. – djangofan Oct 15 '09 at 21:30
Hi Alex, please read the documentation. "Unix" isn't a good enough description. Is it FreeBSD? AIX? AT&T System V? – Mark Henderson Oct 15 '09 at 21:50
Note that you can must have an ESXi / vSphere Hypervisor system for a target when converting a Linux system with VMware Converter. You cannot just create the files needed by VMware Workstation / Player directly. – lcbrevard Apr 24 '13 at 21:51

Although I prefer the VMWare Converter answer, you could probably also do it using Clonezilla. Just be careful to create a VMWare image that has a virtual hard drive that is the same size or bigger than the original. Also, keep in mind that when the virtual machine starts up its going to detect totally different hardware and so you might have an issue with X-windows, network connectivity, etc. that you will need to work around.

share|improve this answer

If by UNIX you mean Linux, you can use VMware Standalone Converter.

But you must have a running VMware Hypervisor / ESXi system as the destination.

You cannot just create the files that are then opened in VMware Workstation or Player (or Server). [When converting a Windows system, you can just create the files directly.]

As for other "UNIX" I believe only Linux is supported and I know for sure (from trying it) that FreeBSD is NOT supported for conversion.

Note that the ESXi Hypervisor can either run on bare hardware or can run in a virtual machine - if you have newer hardware (that supports VT extensions in the CPU) and a new enough version of VMware Workstation (8 or better).

Also note that you control and manage ESXi / vSphere Hypervisor from another program - the VMware vSphere Client - running on Windows!

For instance, I installed ESXi 5.0 as a VM on VMware Workstation 8 hosted on Windows 7 on a 12-core AMD Opteron system. I ran both the Converter and the vSphere Client on the Windows 7 host system.

This was needed to convert a 64-bit CentOS 4 system to virtual. My older ESXi 3 system hardware would not support 64-bit guests.

Once the CentOS 4 system was converted to a VM under ESXi 5.0 under Workstation 8.0, I exported it to run directly under Workstation. I then shut down the ESXi VM.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.