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Best practices for using and troubleshooting VMware Converter (1004588)

Symptoms

  • No keyboard or mouse in a converted virtual machine
  • You see one of these messages in an error dialog:

    • Unknown error returned by VMware Converter Agent
    • Out of disk space

  • You see one of these messages in a VMware Converter log file:

    • Failed to establish Vim connection
    • Import host not found
    • P2VError UFAD_SYSTEM_ERROR(Internal Error)
    • Pcopy_CloneTree failed with err=80
    • The file exists (80)
    • Failed to connect
    • Giving up trying to connect
    • Failed to take snapshot of the source volume
    • stcbasic.sys not installed or snapshot creation failed. err=2
    • Can't create undo folder
    • sysimage.fault.FileCreateError
    • sysimage.fault.ReconfigFault
    • sysimage.fault.PlatformError
    • Number of virtual devices exceeds maximum for a given controller
    • TooManyDevices
    • QueryDosDevice: ret=270 size=1024 err=0
    • Error opening disk device: Incorrect function (1)
    • Vsnap does not have admin rights
    • Specified key identifier already exists
    • vim.fault.NoDiskSpac

Purpose

This article describes various best practice techniques that can be followed to minimize potential problems when using the VMware Converter product.

Take note of the procedures outlined in this article. While not all steps may apply to your situation, if one of the steps in the article is different from what you had followed in your environment, attempt another conversion after changing your procedure to follow the recommendation in that step.

Resolution


These steps are not a recommendation against using certain features of VMware Converter in normal use, but are a guide to assist in troubleshooting general failures with Converter.

If you encounter a specific failure, open the Converter log file, identify the failure message near the end of the log file and perform a search in the VMware Knowledge Base for more detailed assistance on the issue.

The best approach to converting a Windows operating system to a virtual machine is to perform a hot migration with VMware Converter installed locally in the operating system. If this is not possible, a remote hot migration is the next best choice. 

Download Converter from the VMware Download Center.

Note: Currently, only VMware Converter 4.2 and later support physical to virtual machine conversion for Linux sources. For earlier versions of Converter, the support is experimental and some of the features, such as partition resizing, are not available. 

Notes and preparation for conversion

To prepare for conversion:

  1. If the source is a domain controller, special considerations must be made. VMware does not recommend virtualizing an active domain controller with Converter. For more information, see Virtualizing existing domain controllers (1006996).
  2. If the source is Microsoft Exchange, SQL, or other database server, VMware recommends that the application (Microsoft Exchange/SQL) and database services be shut down prior to conversion. This minimizes any chance of corrupted database tables or stale data in the destination virtual machine.
  3. Disable the real-time antivirus scanning during the conversion.
  4. Read the VMware Converter Release Notes. The release notes review important limitations or issues that may affect the conversion process.
  5. Verify that you are using or have downloaded the latest version of VMware Converter.
    If you have previously installed or attempted a conversion with an earlier version of VMware Converter, a previous version may still be installed.

    1. Uninstall VMware Converter from the source computer:

      1. Click Start > Control Panel > Add / Remove Programs.
      2. Uninstall any version of VMware Converter, Converter agent, or Converter Enterprise.

    2. Restart the server.
    3. Install the latest version of VMware Converter using the local Administrator account. If you are going to use the remote hot clone feature you may choose a custom installation to only install the Converter Agent.
    4. If the server is running Windows 2000 or Windows NT, you must restart the server or Converter does not start.

  6. Install VMware Converter directly to the source operating system using the local Administrator account. If the source server is running Windows NT or Windows 2000, you must reboot it after installing VMware Converter or Converter does not start.

    Note: In some cases, a domain administrator account may be used depending on your environment, local and group policies, and account permissions.

  7. If the NIC on the source machine is compatible with TOE (TCP Offload Engine), you need to disable it by running this command in a command prompt on the source machine:

    netsh int tcp set global chimney=disabled  

    For additional information, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base article 951037.

    Note: The preceding link was correct as of November 28, 2013. If you find the link is broken, provide feedback and a VMware employee will update the link.

  8. Confirm that the source has 200 MB of free disk space on its system volume. This space is required to operate the disk snapshot features in Converter. For more information, see Investigating operating system disk space (1004007).

    Note: It is possible to separate the source partitions in different destination volumes during the conversion.

  9. Run VMware Converter as a local administrator. Using a local administrator account removes any possible permissions issues. If you are performing a remote conversion, be sure to specify the login user as the Administrator account.

    Note: In some cases a domain administrator account may be used depending on your environment, local and group policies, and account permissions.

  10. Run the System Configuration Utility(msconfig) on the source server to reduce the number of services and applications running on startup, all software except for All Microsoft Services and VMware Converter Service. For more information, see Using the Windows System Configuration utility (1004010).

  11. If you have static IP addresses assigned, assign the interfaces DHCP addresses prior to conversion, if possible.
  12. If the source is a virtual machine created in Microsoft Virtual PC, remove the Virtual PC Additions, prior to conversion.
  13. If the destination is an ESX host:

    • Connect to the server using its IP address instead of DNS host name. Using the host name of the ESX host may expose issues with DNS name resolution that can prevent the Converter from connecting.
    • Confirm that the source server can access the destination ESX host directly using ports 443 and 902, even if using VirtualCenter. For more information, see Verifying and troubleshooting networking connections that may cause VMware Converter to fail (1006607).
    • Authenticate to the ESX host using the root account.
    • If the source server contains a hard drive or partition larger than 256GB, ensure that the destination datastore's block size is 2MB, 4MB, or 8MB, and not the default 1MB size. The 1 MB default block size cannot accommodate a file larger than 256 GB.  The block size is no longer used on a VMFS 5 datastore connected to an ESXi 5.0 Host.
    • Confirm that you are providing a unique name for the target virtual machine. Use the Virtual Infrastructure (VI) client to confirm that the name is not already in use.

Optimizing the conversion for best success

To set up conversion for the best success:

If you are encountering failures with Converter, reduce the number of optional items in the Conversion Wizard:

  • Do not convert diagnostic partitions or unrecognized file systems.
  • If you are experiencing cloning phase failures, do not choose to resize the partitions.
  • If there are multiple volumes, attempt converting only the system volume.
  • If you are experiencing network or Ethernet issues, trying using a different network type. For more information, see Understanding networking types in hosted products (1006480).
  • Leave the default number of virtual network cards (NICs) unaltered. The number of virtual NICs can be changed after conversion has completed.
  • Deselect the option to install VMware Tools.
  • Deselect the option to perform Customization on the virtual machine.

Tasks to perform after conversion has completed

After conversion has completed:

  1. Review the virtual hardware settings:

    • Adjust the number of virtual NICs. If you need to customize the host name or IP address, leave all NICs disconnected but present.
    • Remove any unnecessary devices such as USB controllers (if running on ESX), COM ports or floppy drives

  2. Start the virtual machine in Safe Mode. For more information, see Booting a Windows guest operating system into Safe Mode (1004011).
  3. Click Start > Control Panel > Add / Remove Programs. Remove any unnecessary programs used to install or support device drivers, such a RAID management tools, network teaming or management software, wireless card management software, and video and sound drivers. Do not restart if prompted by an uninstall program.
  4. Restart the virtual machine into Normal mode.
  5. Remove any additional devices or device drivers that were used to support hardware on the physical server. Use either the Device Manager or Control Panel, depending on the version of Windows, to remove unnecessary devices. It may also be necessary to view the Event Log to clear any remaining device startup failure messages.

    Note: To remove the hidden devices from the Windows operating system, follow the instructions in the Microsoft Knowledge Base article 315539.

    Note: The preceding link was correct as of November 28, 2013. If you find the link is broken, provide feedback and a VMware employee will update the link.

  6. VMware recommends changing the HAL in the virtual machine to uniprocessor if the source server is configured with multi-CPU hardware abstraction layer (HAL), and the destination virtual machine is configured to use a single CPU. For more information, see Modifying the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) for a Windows virtual machine (1003978).
  7. Install VMware Tools and restart if prompted.
  8. If required, customize the virtual machine's identity. VMware recommends using the Microsoft Sysprep utility to accomplish this, however it can also be accomplished by manually changing its computer host name, IP address, and any other required unique identification. For more information, see Microsoft's article How to Use Sysprep: An Introduction.

    Note: The preceding link was correct as of November 28, 2013. If you find the link is broken, provide feedback and a VMware employee will update the link.

  9. If the System Configuration Utility(msconfig) was used prior to conversion, select the Normal startup option to change switch back to a normal boot configuration. For more information, see Using the Windows System Configuration utility (1004010).
  10. Apply any previously removed static IP address settings, as required.
  11. Reconnect any disconnected virtual NICs, as required.

Additional Information

For additional detail and information on troubleshooting issues with VMware Converter, see Troubleshooting checklist for VMware Converter (1016330).

For further troubleshooting information, you can enable verbose logging in vCenter Converter. For more information, see Increasing the logging levels to verbose for vCenter Converter application components (2008019).

For the list of Supported Guest Operating Systems, see the VMware vCenter Converter Standalone Release Notes.

Note: VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.3 and later do not support Windows 2000 and Windows NT. For more information, see the:

Tags

converting-vm converting-vm-fails converter-windows-fails converter-log-files

See Also

Update History

07/14/2010 - Added link to VMware vCenter Converter Standalone Documentation page. 11/18/2011 - Indicated Windows 2000 is not supported in Converter 5.0. 10/17/2012 - Updated link to KB 1010633 "Collecting diagnostic information for VMware Converter"

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