Tag Archives: virtualbox

Convert VMWare 2.x Image to VirtualBox 3.x (seamless mode)

Windows 7 Home Premium has no XP Mode Feature like in Pro or Ultimate Edition to run an Windows XP virtual machine seamless. Home Premium can be upgraded by Anytime Upgrade within Windows to Professional or Ultimate (90$* or 140$*). You need at least Professional Version for XP Mode. So i looked for alternatives. Under Windows XP was VMWare server 2.x my first choice without seamless mode. Seamless Mode made VM windows be available in host OS as “normal” windows without the rest of the VM OS. One Alternative is VMWare Workstation 7 with seamless mode (176€*). Paralells has currently an beta version available with Coherence (seamless) feature. Virtualbox as open source alternative has seamless mode too. You need only to install the guest additions of virtualbox, reboot after installation and call from menu “seamless mode”.

So i give Virtualbox a try and installed the current 3.0.10 version under Windows 7. VirtualBox can work with VMware VMDK Hard disks out of the box.

Steps to convert from VMware to Virtualbox:

  1. Start VMware image under VMware
  2. Uninstall VMware Tools inside VM
  3. Shutdown VM
  4. Open DOS command shell in VM folder
  5. set path variable to include VMWare server folder: set path=;%PATH%
  6. convert splitted VM hard disk to single file: vmware-vdiskmanager -r source_multiples.vmdk -t 2 single_file.vmdk (use ” to surround file name if file name contains spaces)
  7. copy new single_file.vmdk and single_file-flat.vmdk to \harddisks on host os with virtualbox
  8. Start VirtualBox under host OS
  9. Open in file menu “Virtual media manager”
  10. Go to “Hard Disks” tab
  11. Click on Add Button and choose single_file.vmdk
  12. Close dialog with OK button
  13. Click on “New” button to create a new VM
  14. Click on “Next” button
  15. Enter name for new VM and choose operation system including version (in my example Win_vista” as name, “Microsoft Windows” as OS and “Windows Vista” as version)
  16. Set memory to a suitable value (on my machine i prefer 512MB for good enough performance)
  17. On the next page choose “Use existing hard disk” and select from Drop down the old VMware hard disk image
  18. Click on Finish
  19. Open Settings of new VM to correct problems with different hard ware in VMware and VirtualBox
  20. Go to System => Motherboard and “enable IO APIC”
  21. a had an scsci lsi logic controller under VMware: Go to “Hard Disks” and “Enable Additional Controller” including selection of “SCSI (Lsilogic)”s
  22. Start new VM
  23. Install Virtualbox guest additions from vm window menu under “Devices”
  24. reboot vm
  25. Start for example a IE windows inside vm and call from “Machine” menu “seamless mode”

Currently that doesn’t seems to work with windows vista. Another VM in virtualbox with windows XP Professional works as expected in seamless mode.

Keep in mind that such a migration with Windows Vista as guest os needs another activation because of changed multiple hardware components.

Another possibility is to install the unofficial Virtual PC 6.1 for windows 7 from the knowledge base (32bit / 64bit). As described here you see in the windows 7 start menu the entries of the installed programs under the xp vm to start them directly in seamless mode. Comparing to the windows 7 XP mode their is the requirement for a separate windows xp license for a windows home or starter host os. Windows 7 professional or ultimate include such a license for a virtual windows xp on the same machine. Virtual PC needs a Virtualization hardware support like intel VT-X or AMD-V. The installation of Virtual PC fails if the processor and mainboard don’t fit to this requirement.

Startmenu entry of Virtual PC

Startmenue Virtual PC

Start installed Apps inside XP VM from Windows 7

Start Apps inside XP VM from Windows 7

Seamless started XP VM Application under Windows 7

Seamless started App

*Price are only snapshots from the manufacturer websites without any guarantee and only provided to compare the possibilities.

Migrating Microsoft Virtual Server/PC image to VMware Server

Microsoft has for free the Virtual Server or Virtual PC 2007 SP 1 as virtualization software. I wanted to test Microsoft Windows 2003 R2 Server. On the Virtual Appliance Marketplace at VMware is only a VHD from Microsoft available. A VHD is the Microsoft vm image type. I installed the Microsoft Virtual Server and had no luck to start the vhd image successfully. Virtual PC 2007 works instead. I can start the VM and configure this vm server as active directory, DNS and WINS server like described in this howto. The networking functionality in Microsoft Virtual Server/PC is a pain in my ass. For active directory and dns server is a fixed ip configured inside the vm. No clue on which ip i can reach my vm from the host system. Sun virtualbox works in that aspect more like expected. You can switch between NAT and hostonly mode. With the host only networking mode has the VM a fixed ip inside the host system. So far so good. I tested this with a ubuntu 9.04 server as guest os inside virtualbox. For updates you need to shutdown, reconfigure to use NAT and start the vm again. In NAT mode is the vm only accessible via the virtualbox window. You have to define each port manually if you want to access the NAT vm from outside the virtualbox. Typically i use such a vm ubuntu server as subversion, maven artifactory, … server for development. VMware server 2.x works for me like expected. NAT networking to have internet access from the guest os and full access on all ports from the hostsystem. The guest os see a DHCP networking interface and the host os has a fixed ip to access the vm. So how do i get the 30 days trial edition from Microsoft Windows 2003 server get to run inside VMware server? After setting up the server inside Virtual PC you had to remove the Virtual Machine additions via the menu. This additions are not available as software package inside the software overview in windows 2003 server. Now shutdown the guest os and close virtual pc. With the VMWare vCenter Converter 3.0.3 (Starter Edition) you can convert the VHD to a VMX image for VMWare Server or Player. Select in the last step of the wizard to remove all checkpoints inside the guest os, to install VMWare tools and to setup the networking interface (NAT on one instead of two nic). The VHD image has 1,5 GB and needs on my laptop round about 1h to convert. After that i can start VMWare server and register this new guest os image. The converter has set the type correct to MS Windows 2003 server 32bit. A little bit annoying is that my bluetooth connected mouse works perfect inside Virtual PC but not out of the box inside the VMWare window 🙁 So i grabbed my old usb mouse to have a running mouse. With the Sysinternals ADExplorer i can examine my new active directory from my host os. Inside eclipse 3.5 is Apache Directory Studio a good choice to to access the AD via LDAP.