21 comments on “Convert a physical PC into a VirtualBox virtual machine

  1. Pingback: Creating an iso image of an entire HD including boot info

  2. Dave I have used this entry a number of times to convert machines to vbox. It really made a difference – thank you!

    One thing I’ve found in the current version of vbox is that the virtual media manager, as accessed by the file menu, does not offer attaching a .vmdk file. That’s ok, it’s easy to tap the .vmdk inline with the creation of new vm. Maybe that’s what you meant in your posting; but I mention it just in case some other person reads your post and is briefly baffled by that.

  3. Hi ,, Thank you for your helpful post, I have a question that hope to get answer for.

    i have a machine with WinXP ,,, I am using it to run a small ERP system. recently I started to have a need to use anther Os, so I installed the VMBox and hosted the new OS on it, however it’s slow for both.

    my question is will be better to convert the original physical machine to virtual, and host both virtual on some kind of small VM host ,,, will this free the resources?. and if so what is the recommended host for me.

    Thanks in advance for any answer.

  4. Hi

    I’m have a created an image of an old xp machine and its running on a windows seven 64bit os. The problem is finding video drivers for the zip machine and chipset drivers. Any ideas on how I can get the video to work? Everything else is working really well.
    Thanks in advancef

    • Thanks for commenting :) I’m a little unclear as to your setup here. When you say you’ve got your created Windows XP image running on Windows 7, do you mean successfully running in VirtualBox in Windows 7? If that is the case, then what is the specific problem you are having with the virtual machine or the video functionality with it? I’m also not quite sure why you’d need chipset and “zip machine” drivers for the virtual machine.

      • Hi
        Thanks for getting back so soon. I have recently created an image of an old xp machine running some software that I can’t get my hands on. I bought an acer pc running win 7 64bit and I’ve installed virtual box.I have successfully loaded the xp image in virtual box and everything works great except there is no video driver loaded in the xp virtual machine. When I go into device manger the chipset and video driver are missing. Please advise on what I should do. Thanks

      • Ah – sounds like you have yet to install the VirtualBox Guest Additions. On the VirtualBox menu bar for your running Windows XP virtual machine, select “Devices” -> “Install Guest Additions…”. Follow the prompts and accept any driver warnings that may appear. After installing the Guest Additions and rebooting the virtual machine, everything should work.

        There is no need to install device drivers separately – simply ensure you have followed the above step.

        More information on VirtualBox Guest Additions can be found here:


        Let me know if this helps :)

      • Hi Dave

        Thanks!! That worked. Chipset driver is installed and the video display is functioning as it should be.
        Thanks again for your help. Top man!

  5. “Rather than shag around with a repair installation, I simply enabled IO APIC in the VirtualBox settings for the machine, and bingo:”

    um, how do you do this in VirtualBox. I cna’t find the setting

  6. This is a nice guide. I have a slightly more complex situation. I use an enterprise laptop running Windows7 and do not have admin access. Would it be feasible to remove the laptop hard drive and connect it another machine running Windows7 in order to create an image?

    • Thanks for commenting – while I’m sure you’d be able to create an image that way, I can’t see how that would circumvent the requirement to have administrative access.

  7. Dave your a genius. My biggest struggles were finding the the virtual box file menu. Kind of weird how the Unity desktop separates it from the application window and places the active application menu at the top of the monitor regardless of the window size. Also, with virtualbox 4.2.4, you don’t have to even do the import step. You just copy the vmdk file over and then point to it when setting up the new virtualbox. The last little nugget in your post that I overlooked was the bit about using an IDE controller for a 64 bit Win7 system. I was looking at the IO APIC stuff and saw that it was already on by default. Finally I saw the note about Win7-64. Changed the controller and bingo. I was in business. Now I only have to feed the Windows pig when I absolutely must run a windows only app.

    For anyone else that may be struggling with this, don’t start the windows recovery thingy. I won’t do anything but appear to be running indefinitely. I had to power down to kill it. Just change the controller to IDE.

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