Nov 17
Migrating a bootable VHD to Fusion in Mac
I just got a new Macbook Pro for work use and wanted to move a windows image which I used for client work. The image was a bootable VHD file (like this) and that presented a couple of issues for a simple move.
First, the bootable VHD is not the same as the vhd file as used for Microsoft's virtual machine technologies (whether Virtual PC or HyperV). VHD just means "virtual hard disk", but that does not mean the machine image contained within that disk is built for being run as a guest inside another machine. The bootable VHD machine is configured to be run as it's own machine, it's just running via a packaged up file sitting inside of another hard drive partition. The result is you cannot use VMWare Fusion's Import feature to convert this disk from a VHD to a VMWare image.
What you could do is use Fusion's "Migrate Your PC" option to migrate the machine, with a bootable VHD there may be a gotcha. The gotcha is that the Migration option will automatically try to import the host (naked) hard drive in addition to the VHD image if it's connected to your VHD machine. Your VHD image will not be big enough to hold it's parent hard drive! I suppose you could detach the drive, but doing so would require to alter the original machine. That doesn't seem such a good idea if you want to go back to that machine, even to keep as a back up.
What you can do is run the VMWare Standalone Converter from within the Windows machine you're trying to move over. This will allow you to tell it to not try to package up any drives you don't want. It also will let you put the packages elsewhere, not force you to fit it inside of the VHD's space. This creates the virtual machine for you, ready to run in just about any of VMWare's products. You can then simply copy the files over to your mac and then launch it in fusion.
    A couple of gotchas that may arise at this point:
  1. If you did not take the drive with your boot launcher info, you will need your windows CDs (or isos if it's from MSDN) to run a quick Windows Repair to fix the boot info inside the new VM. It's pretty painless, just follow the instructions.
  2. This is a new machine, you may need to run windows or office activation again depending on original activation requirements. OEM installs of windows will probably give you grief, but it's unlikely you were running that from a VHD to begin with.
Overall, once I figured out the need to run the stand alone converter, this was a pretty easy process. But, it did take a bit of noodling and googling to figure out.