I'm a junior sys admin at a small firm and i just recently have been assigned to a new customer. I went through the normal learning process of getting to know the relatively simple network structure and the requirements of the company.

I come mostly from a unix background so i don't know all the ins and out of Windows server products. Someone removed web and mail servers from the installation and I now found myself in the need to reinstall IIS and Exchange on this machine and being the careful guy that i am, i'd like to have an exact copy of the machine to use as a test bed.

I already have a Windows 2003 SBS virtualized install but the components present are quite different, and a true clone of the machine would work best to be sure that adding or deleting components won't disrupt it.

It currently serves as AD PDC with roaming profiles and several backup tasks pointing to a nas.

Do you have any idea how can i 1:1 clone the machine without turning it off? Something like Volume Shadow Copy?

I am also worrying i might overthink this. Any simpler solution would also be appreciated.

Best Regards,


3 Answers 3


There are a number of ways you can do this but one of the easiest ways might be to use the VMware standalone converter. You can use it to create a clone that you'll be able to open in VMware Player or any number of VMware pproducts.

  • Exactly what i was looking for. Sadly i can't vote up as i don't have enough rep. Kudos to you anyhow.
    – ItsGC
    Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 9:11

if your or using hyper-v or vpc then disk2vhd works fine also and can be done live.

  • i'll keep this in mind if i ever have to deal with Windows virtualization platform. Thanks!
    – ItsGC
    Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 9:11

Since SBS is a DC and also Exchange, is not recommended that this conversion should be performed live.

A P2V from a SBS should always be performed as a cold clone(power off).

Take a look at this article, how to P2V Windows Servers(for VMware and also using cold clone).


I have done some conversions of SBS, but always cold migrations, and using a proper SBS license.

Also beware that most SBS is OEM license. So is not legal to reactivate this license in a Virtual Environment.

OEM License is aggregated to the hardware that was license for. So is this is the case, is not a legal reactivation.

Hope this can help.

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