Performing Physical to Virtual (P2V) Conversions using VMM 2008

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Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2008 includes a feature which allows the operating system from a physical computer to be converted to run inside a virtual machine. This is a concept referred to as a physical to virtual or P2V conversion. Conversions can be performed a number of different Microsoft Windows based operating systems, details of which will be provided later in this chapter. In addition, two forms of conversion (online and offline) are available. Whether or not each conversion type is available depends on the operating system running on the source computer.

Online and Offline P2V Conversions

An online P2V conversion use the Volume Shadow Copy Services to perform the conversion while the source computer system is still running, enabling a conversion to take place without any interruption of service. An offline P2V conversion involves restarting the source computer system using the Windows Preinstallation Environment (PE) environment, resulting in a temporary loss of service from the source computer during the conversion process.

Supported P2V Source Operating Systems

A P2V conversion can only be performed on a limited range of Microsoft Windows editions. Further, P2V online conversions are limited to an even smaller subset of Windows editions as illustrated in the the following table:

Operating System

Online P2V

Offline P2V

Windows Server 2008 (32-bit)


Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V (64-bit)


Windows Server 2008 without Hyper-V


Windows Server 2003 (32-bit) SP1 or later


Windows Server 2003 (64-bit) SP1 or later


Windows 2000 Server SP4 or later


Windows 2000 Advanced Server SP4 or later


Windows XP Professional (32-bit) SP2 or later


Windows XP Professional (64-bit) SP2 or later


Windows Vista (32-bit) SP1 or later


Windows Vista (64-bit) SP1 or later


P2V Source System Requirements

In addition to the above operating system requirements, the physical source computer system must also meet the following requirements to be eligible for a P2V conversion:

  • 512MB or more of RAM when performing offline conversions.
  • Source system must be a member of a Workgroup, the same domain as the VMM server or on a different domain with two-way trust established.
  • Must have an Advanced Configuration and Power Interface.
  • Must not be installed in a DMZ/perimeter network.
  • Must be accessible to both VMM and the target host system.

P2V Destination Host Requirements

The destination host is the computer system on which the virtual machine containing the converted operating system will be placed. The requirements for this host are as follows:

  • Windows Server 2008 x64 with Hyper-V or Virtual Server R2 SP1 (or later)
  • Windows Server 2003 with Virtual Server R2 SP1 (or later)
  • Must not be in a DMZ/perimeter network.
  • At least 256 MB RAM in addition to the memory for the virtual machine