Converting a Windows Desktop OS into a Virtual Machine
In order to convert a physical Windows desktop installation into a virtual machine you will first need to visit www.vmware.com/products/converter/ from a Windows machine and select Download to grab the VMware converter tool. Note that you will be required to register to use the software, which is offered free by VMware.
The file is about 120 MB, so you can use this time to check that you’re happy with everything that is going to be virtualized. For instance, you might have considerable disk use assigned to personal documents, music, photos, and videos and downloads, things that could impact the speed of the conversion and the performance of the VM once it is created. It is a good idea to spend a few minutes sorting out these files, perhaps copying them to a separate hard disk partition on your Windows computer for full migration later on to your Mac.
One thing to be aware of when installing the converter is that if you have the Windows PC and Mac on the same network, you can download the converter for both platforms and use the Client-Server installation option; otherwise, the Local installation should be fine.
After you have downloaded and installed the converter, you will be ready to begin the process of conversion!
We’re going to assume that the machine you are converting to a virtual machine is the Windows computer and that you have installed the converter locally. Begin by running the converter and selecting Convert Machine. In the conversion wizard, select Powered-on machine as the source and This local machine; you can check information about the machine with the View source details… link.
Click Next to proceed, and then use the Select destination type drop-down menu to switch to VMware Workstation or other VMware virtual machine. In the Select VMware product drop-down, select VMware Fusion 3.x and then give your VM a name and Browse… to find a location to save it to, typically an external hard disk drive.
Once again click Next, and select and ignore the hard disk volumes that you wish to copy. You should restrict choices here to the system volume where Windows is installed, and when done click Next to view a summary of what is to be copied. When you’re happy with these options, click Finish to proceed – the process of creating a virtual machine from your physical Windows computer is beginning!
Image credit: screenshot by author