As some of you know I have been using VMware for years to create and manage virtual machines. It is one of the best ways I know to evaluate operating systems and configurations with out messing up a ‘live’ system. Using VMware (and the VMWare converter) I can also convert Acronis images to Virtual machines, enabling me to test service pack updates and application upgrades. I even have several OS X VM’s I use too. Look here and here.
I also use Virtual Server 2005R2 on my server/home workdation (for XP it’s called MS virtual PC 2005) and now Hyper V for 2008 server. Using MS Virtual server I have been able to download and evaluate various full blown MS products extremely easily by just downloading a pre-made VHDs from MS and adding them to the virtual server. Things like, Win2008R2, Exchange 2007 and 2010, SQL2008 and many more operating systems applications and configurations.
There is now an updated tool available from Sysinternals (who where swallowed up by MS) to actually create complete VHD’s (virtual hard drives) from your existing running systems!
These can be used as backups, for fail over safety, or testing purposes too. The vhd’s can be added to Virtual server, Virtual PC and Hyper V VERY easily. And they will not require another activation as is nearly always necessary when using VMware.
Here is very good article from LifeHacker with a quick rundown of it:
This article prompted me to revisit this, so I decided to see how well it would work with my office machine, which I just happened to have sitting on my desk here at home.
I downloaded and copied the new Disk2vhd app to the laptop, ran the application to create the vhd and saved the vhd to a share on my home server. After the vhd was created I launched the MS Virtual Server Administration console on my server (a localmachine website), ‘created’ a new vm and added the vhd, set up the network options and started it.
And bam, it works like a champ! I was even able to connect from the VM to my office via VPN and run my ‘Cisco SoftPhone’!
Now, if you have no desire to try this just take off now, sorry for wasting your time.
But for any of you fellow techies that want to learn or experience something new, here is more info.
Latest version of Disk2vhd:
MS VirtualPC 2007:
or:Virtual Server 2005 R2:Info:
Or if you are already using Windows 2008 Server you can use Hyper V:
As always if you do not understand something, take the time to read about it and learn it. If you still don’t get it, read some more. Maybe a lot more. If you try something and is doesn’t work. Try this http://www.google.com/ and type in your question. But don’t type it to me 🙂
Other notes:If you don’t have a modern machine with modern processor (Intel core2duo, Athlon multi-core or better) and plenty of RAM, don’t even think about trying to create a virtual machines. It will be slower than a 1995 Packard Bell.