Sunday, January 30, 2011

Converting Windows 2000 with VMware Converter

Converting a Windows 2000 machine has a bunch of caveats and problems when going from physical to virtual (p2v), using VMware vCenter Converter Standalone.

  • VMware Standalone Converter version 4.0.1 (See Additional Info at the end)
  • Update Rollup 1 for Windows 2000 SP4 (KB891861)
  • Windows 2000 Sysprep tools (Q257813)
  • A Windows or Linux LiveCD. I recommend Knoppix (6.4+ - Linux) or Hiren (Windows).
    If you need to modify registry keys, use Hiren.

  1. Install VMware Standalone Converter version 4.0.1
  2. Extract sysprep tools and place them in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware vCenter Converter Standalone\sysprep\2k
    That should be on the same machine that has VMware Converter, not the Windows 2000 server.
    * On Windows 2008, the location is C:\Users\All Users\VMware\VMware vCenter Converter Standalone\sysprep\2k (Thanks Anonymous for the tip!)
    or C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware vCenter Converter Standalone\sysprep\2k (thanks Ben!)
  3. Either apply the update rollup to the server or extract the update rollup and replace it with the file SCSIPORT.SYS in C:\WINNT\system32\drivers. Applying the update is recommended if the system is stable.
  4. If you’re using a static IP on the Windows 2000 server, see this Knowledge Base article.
  5. Run the Converter and deploy the agent. If you’re asked to restart, restart then start the VMware Converter service manually before running the Converter again, otherwise it’ll ask you to deploy the agent again.
  6. In Step 3: View / Edit Options, Click on the Devices pane and change the disk controller to BusLogic SCSI.
  7. Keep the number of processors as is, because if you change it, Windows 2000 won’t auto-detect new CPUs and you’ll need to update the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) on it manually. See KB234558 and KB249694 for more details.
  8. In the Networks pane, deselect the option to connect at power on.
  9. In the Advanced Options pane, do not select the options to power off the source and select the option to power on the target (VM). Do install VMware tools.
    Do NOT select "configure guest preferences for the virtual machine"
With that, you should be set to convert that machine. After the conversion is complete, the VM will start, install VMware tools, then restart. After it comes up you should apply the proper network settings then shutdown and enable the NIC to connect at power on.

Problems and Solutions:
  • "disk read error" when starting the virtual machine.
    This happens because you have selected the Disk Controller as “Preserve Source” or “IDE” -- you must select “SCSI” -- after doing so, you’ll need to reconvert the machine.
  • “KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED” Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) during boot up.
    This happens because Windows 2000 is using the old SCSI driver (SCSIPORT.SYS).
    You must boot into a LiveCD and replace the file in the location mentioned above.
    This happened to me even after I copied the SCSIPORT.SYS to the target machine before converting.
  • After installing the Converter agent, you face problems & restart the Windows 2000 server, then when running converter again, it asks you to re-deploy the agent.
    This happens because when the Windows 2000 system comes up again, the Converter agent service isn’t started again.
    Open the services console (services.msc in run) and right-click VMware Converter then choose Start. After the service is started, run VMware Converter and it should connect.
  • Unable to communicate to the agent.
    The network traffic is probably blocked by firewalls that are on the Converter machine, the Windows 2000 target machine or in between. Make sure the firewalls are disabled or port 9089 is allowed to pass through.
  • "Inaccessible boot device" Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) during boot up.
    This happens due to some misconfiguration of drivers in the registry.
    To fix this, run the Converter program again and do a machine reconfiguration only (don't reconvert). Let it install VMware Tools, select "Reconfigure destination virtual machine" and do NOT select "Configure guest preferences for the virtual machine"
    If that does not solve your problem, read this thread.

Using The Linux LiveCD:
If you’re new to Linux, then here are some steps to help you replace files on virtual machines.

  1. Boot the virtual machine from the LiveCD, by either attaching the ISO file from the data store, your machine, or burning the ISO to a CD (as an image!) and booting it from your CD drive.
  2. At the boot prompt of Knoppix, just press enter to boot into the graphical interface.
  3. Now we need to attach the VM’s disk to the Linux system: open a root shell / terminal.
  4. Type: fdisk -l
    This will list all disks in your VM. Identify your operating system hard disk (by capacity if possible). If it’s not possible, then proceed with the next steps until you find your desired partition by looking at its contents.
    You will see things like: /dev/sda, /dev/sda1, /dev/sda2, ...etc. sda is your first hard disk. sdb is your second hard disk. sda1 is the first partition in your first hard disk.
  5. Type: mkdir /mnt/os
  6. If your operating system (OS) is installed on the first hard disk, first partition, then type: mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/os
  7. You can now open a file manager in the graphical interface and go to this directory: /mnt/os -- you’ll see the contents of that partition.
    If that is not your desired partition, skip to step 10 then try mounting another partition.

    Note: Make sure you mount a partition & not a disk!
    mount /dev/sda1 is correct. mount /dev/sda is not.
  8. To copy a file over the network from a Windows share on another machine, open a file manager and in the address tab type: smb://ip
    Example: smb://, where the IP is of the machine you want to access over the network to copy a file from.
  9. Right click & copy the file, then go to /mnt/os and paste it there.
  10. You’re almost done. Now you just need to unmount the partition, so close the file manager window that opens /mnt/os and then in the root shell type: umount /mnt/os
  11. Reboot the VM and unattach the CD / ISO.

Additional Info:
  • Knoppix is like any *nix system: case-sensitive when it comes to file names. So you may have to delete to the original file manually then copy the new .SYS file due to the difference in letter case.
  • The sysprep tools will be used by the VMware Converter to prepare a new copy of Windows. It’s required for the cloning process.
  • Support for Windows 2000 has been dropped in VMware Converter version 4.3.
  • VMware Converter Standalone is free. VMware requires that you register to be able to download, but their servers are slow (at least in my experience). I got my copy from 4shared, so just search for it & verify the md5 checksum.
    Windows: VMware-converter-4.0.1-161434.exe - 35f22a3b40b114d70cdbda2d5056c10f
    Linux: VMware-converter-4.0.1-161434.tar.gz - 90ce68a9f75af91aed9119d419a98b3c
  • LiveCD Selection: You can choose anything that works for you as long as it has SCSI disk drivers, otherwise you won’t be able to see the VM’s disks (which is why getting Damn Small Linux was a waste of time...) and can read & write to the NTFS filesystem.

New Google Docs Shows No Love For Blogs

I haven't used Google Docs to publish posts in a while and I found out today that the new version of Google Docs does not support publishing to blogs. I found out after I had finished writing my post.

I didn't find a way to revert back, as the option to use the old version has been removed. Also, Blogger has no option to import a post from an ODF or Word.
My options are limited to one: Pasting the text into the composer then manually removing any coloring of the text, since it hard-codes the colors which contradict with my theme.

I'll blame myself for trusting Google in maintaining a usable solution after deploying it to the masses. I'll stick to writing in Blogger's direct composer from now on.