This guide explains how to do VirtualBox P2V in Windows host OS. By this method, you can convert a physical computer that can be local or network (remote computer) to the virtual environment. It’s not a straight forward method since there are no tools available for P2V (Physical to Virtual) in VirtualBox. But still, it’s possible with few free tools. You can use these tools to convert most of the Windows Operating Systems from Windows 7 to 10 and Server versions Windows 2008 to latest Windows 2019 server.
Before starting the procedures, let me tell you how it’s going to work.
We can use two tools for this purpose. You need to select the correct tool which matches your scenario.
Two Tools for VirtualBox P2V in Windows 10 Host
It is a free tool from Microsoft to convert a local physical computer to a virtual format. This tool should be running on the local computer to convert its physical disks to virtual disk format VHD. If you need to convert a remote or networked computer, you need to run it from that particular computer. Compared to the 2nd tool, it should be executed from the local computer only. The output virtual disk format is VHD which is used by Microsoft Hyper-V. But, the Oracle VirtualBox will read this file format easily.
2) VMware vCenter Converter
This tool is from VMware to convert physical or virtual computers and servers to their VMware virtualization software such as Workstations and ESXi (or vSphere). The output will in VMDK virtual disk format, but still, our friendly VirtualBox will read this disk format. The advantage of vCenter converter over Disk2vhd is it can convert computer (or server) in the network. If you have administrative credentials of a remote computer, it will work perfectly over the network for P2V.
Both tools will give the virtual hard disks of the physical computer. We need to create a new virtual machine on VirtualBox with the proper hardware and Operating System settings then attach this converted hard disks to make it work.
P2V with Disk2vhd in VirtualBox
As mentioned earlier, we need to execute this tool from the physical computer that needs to be converted. Since the steps are already mentioned in several guides earlier, you can refer below links.
- To know how to convert a physical computer to VirtualBox virtual platform and fix the possible errors, read this guide.
- How to use Disk2vhd to convert a physical server to Hyper-V
Physical to Virtual in VirtualBox by VMware vCenter Converter
2) Convert your physical computer to virtual using free VMware vCentre converter as mentioned here. Make sure that you select correct physical partitions, processors and memory size for the new virtual machine. Don’t split the virtual disks during the conversion.
3) Once successfully created, locate the VMX and VMDK files. Don’t bother about VMX files.
4) Now add the newly created vmdk file to VirtualBox media manager as shown below.
5) Read more about adding and accessing vmdk disk files in VirtualBox here. This article explains how you can access a vmdk disk file as a partition inside a virtual machine.
6) After successfully added vmdk disk file, create a new virtual machine in VirtualBox. Select the correct guest OS, processor type and memory size. In the virtual hard disk option, select ‘Use existing Hard Disk’ and browse the disk you added by vmdk file in VirtualBox media manager. So your new virtual machine will boot from vmdk disk which we converted from physical to virtual.
7) That’s it. Boot the virtual machine now. It will be booting and working fine. Sometimes it may install additional required drivers for VirtualBox hardware platform. Let it complete and install the VB guest additions to get better display performance with additional features.
8) You must see your physical computer on VirtualBox as a virtual machine now. This is the easiest method to convert Physical to Virtual in VirtualBox with free tools.
9) If you are still interested in running a pure VirtualBox machine with VDI disk files, you can convert your newly created VMDK files to VDI format with a free tool as mentioned here. After created the VDI file, add it to media manager and boot a virtual machine from vdi files.
Hope you understood the fundamentals and steps to P2V Windows client or server computers to VirtualBox.