Wednesday, February 25, 2015

VMware P2V Converter Best Practices...Pre and Post conversion checklist

As we all know, using Vmware vCenter converter one can convert Windows and Linux based physical machine and third party formats to Vmware virtual machines.
The best/easiest approach to converting a Windows operating system from a physical machine to a virtual machine is to perform a hot migration with VMware Converter installed locally on the source (physical machine) operating system.

only VMware Converter 4.2 and later support physical to virtual machine conversion for Linux sources. For earlier versions of Converter, the support is experimental and some of the features, such as partition resizing, are not available.

Here I am going to discuss what we should check pre and post P2V conversion…..

Tasks to perform before conversion

To prepare for conversion:
1.     If the source is a domain controller, special considerations must be made. VMware does not recommend virtualizing an active domain controller with Converter.

2.     If the source is Microsoft Exchange, SQL, or other database server, VMware recommends that the application (Microsoft Exchange/SQL) and database services be shut down prior to conversion. This minimizes any chance of corrupted database tables or stale data in the destination virtual machine.

3.     Disable the real-time antivirus scanning during the conversion.

4.     Verify that you are using or have downloaded the latest version of VMware Converter.
If you have previously installed or attempted a conversion with an earlier version of VMware Converter, a previous version may still be installed verify/uninstall it.
5.     Install VMware Converter directly to the source operating system using the local Administrator account, if you are going to use remote hot clone feature you may choose a custom installation to only install the converter agent. If the source server is running Windows NT or Windows 2000, you must reboot it after installing VMware Converter or Converter does not start.
        Note: In some cases, a domain administrator account may be used depending on your environment, local and group policies, and account permissions.
6.     If the NIC on the source machine is compatible with TOE (TCP Offload Engine), you need to disable it by running this command in a command prompt on the source machine:

netsh int tcp set global chimney=disabled  
7.     Confirm that the source has 200 MB of free disk space on its system volume. This space is required to operate the disk snapshot features in Converter.
Note: It is possible to separate the source partitions in different destination volumes during the conversion.
8.     Run VMware Converter as a local administrator. Using a local administrator account removes any possible permissions issues. If you are performing a remote conversion, be sure to specify the login user as the Administrator account.

Note: In some cases a domain administrator account may be used depending on your environment, local and group policies, and account permissions.
9.     Run the System Configuration Utility(msconfig) on the source server to reduce the number of services and applications running on startup, all software except for All Microsoft Services and VMware Converter Service..
10.   If you have static IP addresses assigned, assign the interfaces DHCP addresses prior to conversion, if possible.

11.   If the source is a virtual machine created in Microsoft Virtual PC, remove the Virtual PC Additions, prior to conversion.

12.   If the destination is an ESX host:

·         Connect to the server using its IP address instead of DNS host name. Using the host name of the ESX host may expose issues with DNS name resolution that can prevent the Converter from connecting.
·         Confirm that the source server can access the destination ESX host directly using ports 443 and 902, even if using VirtualCenter. Authenticate to the ESX host using the root account.
·         If the source server contains a hard drive or partition larger than 256GB, ensure that the destination datastore's block size is 2MB, 4MB, or 8MB, and not the default 1MB size. The 1 MB default block size cannot accommodate a file larger than 256 GB.  The block size is no longer used on a VMFS 5 datastore connected to an ESXi 5.0 Host.
·         Confirm that you are providing a unique name for the target virtual machine. Use the Virtual Infrastructure (VI) client to confirm that the name is not already in use.

Tasks to perform after conversion has completed

After conversion has completed:
1.     Review the virtual hardware settings:

·         Adjust the number of virtual NICs. If you need to customize the host name or IP address, leave all NICs disconnected but present.
·         Remove any unnecessary devices such as USB controllers (if running on ESX), COM ports or floppy drives
2.     Start the virtual machine in Safe Mode.

3.     Click Start > Control Panel > Add / Remove Programs. Remove any unnecessary programs used to install or support device drivers, such a RAID management tools, network teaming or management software, wireless card management software, and video and sound drivers. Do not restart if prompted by an uninstall program.

4.     Restart the virtual machine into Normal mode.

5.     Remove any additional devices or device drivers that were used to support hardware on the physical server. Use either the Device Manager or Control Panel, depending on the version of Windows, to remove unnecessary devices. It may also be necessary to view the Event Log to clear any remaining device startup failure messages.

Note: To remove the hidden devices from the Windows operating system, follow these steps:
·         Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Command Prompt.
·         At a command prompt, type the following command , and then press ENTER:
            set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1
·         Type the following command at command prompt and then press Enter: start devmgmt.msc
·         Troubleshoot the devices and drivers in Device Manager.
NOTE: Click Show hidden devices on the View menu in Device Manager before you can see devices that are not connected to the computer.
·         When you finish troubleshooting, close Device Manager.
·         Type exit at the command prompt.

Note that when you close the command prompt window, Window clears the devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 variable that you set in step 2 and prevents ghosted devices from being displayed when you click Show hidden devices.

6.     VMware recommends changing the HAL in the virtual machine to uniprocessor if the source server is configured with multi-CPU hardware abstraction layer (HAL), and the destination virtual machine is configured to use a single CPU.

7.     Install VMware Tools and restart if prompted.

8.     If required, customize the virtual machine's identity. VMware recommends using the Microsoft Sysprep utility to accomplish this, however it can also be accomplished by manually changing its computer host name, IP address, and any other required unique identification.

9.     If the System Configuration Utility(msconfig) was used prior to conversion, select the Normal startup option to change switch back to a normal boot configuration.

10.   Apply any previously removed static IP address settings, as required.

11.   Reconnect any disconnected virtual NICs, as required.

Want to read more about Best practices for using and troubleshooting VMware Converter, checkout KB Article 1004588.

For Required VMware vCenter Converter 5.x ports take a look of KB Article 1010056.

For Troubleshooting checklist for VMware Converter take a look of KB Article 1016330.

To see various stages in the conversion process, take a look of Alex Hunt's following blog post: Troubleshooting common P2V Conversion Failures.

If I missed anything please let me know in the comments…..Thank you!

That’s it.... :)


  1. Nice stuff dear. Thanks for sharing it. I am impressed with this blog. I really appreciate your fantastic post. Thanks for sharing such a nice tip. Good information and will be useful for us.
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  2. Very well documented pre and post checklist for p2v its a great help...Thanks Noor Mohammed

  3. Very nice to understanding pre and post checklist thanks Noor

  4. Noor bro your great and thanks for sharing the info like this.
    Super blog, seriously I never see this type of info.
    And how to contact you to check the issues in Vmware.

    1. Thanks for your kind may reach me via TechSpecialists FB group,