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Convert XP into a Windows 7 Virtual Machine with Disk2vhd

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#1 TheSentinel


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Posted 20 September 2010 - 06:07 PM

Convert XP into a Windows 7 Virtual Machine with Disk2vhd

This gallery is also available as a TechRepublic blog post and download. Image created by Greg Shultz for TechRepublic.

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Would you like to be able to still run Microsoft Windows XP while you get familiar with Windows 7? Well, moving your existing Windows XP system to a virtual machine that you can run in Windows 7 is a relatively easy procedure with the Disk2vhd tool from Microsoft's Windows Sysinternals team: Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell.

In this edition of the Windows Desktop Report, I'll show you how to use Disk2vhd, which is a free tool, to move your Windows XP installation into Windows 7 and then run it with Windows Virtual PC.

What is Disk2vhd?
As its name implies, Disk2vhd is designed to create VHD versions of physical disks. This tool can be used to convert systems running Windows XP SP2 and up as well as Windows Server 2003 and up. To perform this task, the Disk2vhd utility makes use of the Windows Volume Snapshot feature built into the operating system. When you run Disk2vhd, it first creates a volume snapshot image of the hard disk. It then exports that image into a VHD that you can then add to Windows Virtual PC as well as to Hyper-V Manager. If you'll be using Windows Virtual PC, keep in mind that it supports a maximum virtual disk size of 127GB. If you create a VHD from a larger disk it will not be accessible from a Windows Virtual PC virtual machine. Another thing to keep in mind is that Windows Virtual PC doesn't support the Multiprocessor Specification and it will not be able to boot VHD's captured from multiprocessor systems.