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moving to vmware

Having a Windows server is a nice thing, but some Linux functions are always missing. But running 2 servers would cost too much power, so the result is virtualization. But how do you move an existing installation of Windows 2003 Server into VMware running on Linux? If you simply install Linux on a different partition, and try to mount the Windows partitions into VMware, Windows won’t start. Windows has something against being moved. So we need a work around. The magic word here is ASR (Automatic System Recovery). Here is how I did it:

  1. Mirror the original hard disk (hdd0) onto a backup hard drive (hdd1). Leave them both connected to the computer.
  2. Sweep hdd0 clean and install Linux on it. I used SuSE 10.1. It’s easy to install and use. A basic installation with KDE, gcc and kernel-source (needed for VMware to compile) is our host system later. Login as root.
  3. Run make cloneconfig and make modules_prepare under /usr/src/linux/ to Get prepared for VMware installation.
  4. Download latest RPM-package of VMware Server from . Install it with rpm -i VMwarexxxxxrpm
  5. Run the Configuration script for VMware. The location will be shown to you when you try to start vmware in console.
  6. Configure it to fit your needs.
  7. Start VMware and create your virtual machine with floppy, CDROM and a virtual hard drive at least the same size of hdd0!
  8. Now you have a clean running SuSE Linux system on hdd0.
  9. Restart your computer and boot from hdd1. Login as Administrator.
  10. Install Virtual Floppy drive and create a virtual floppy drive.
  11. Run NTBackup, choose Expert Mode and go for Automatic System Recovery. Store the backup on hdd1. It will write some data to your virtual floppy disk.
  12. Save the floppy disk as an flp file on hdd1 and reboot to hdd0. Login as root.
  13. Mount the flp floppy disk into your virtual machine. Do not mount hdd1 into your virtual machine but do mount it into Linux and share it through Samba. If you don’t have a DHCP server running in your network, install one.
  14. Mount your real CD-ROM with Windows 2003 server CD1 in it or mount an ISO of that CD.
  15. Boot from CD and press F2 at the beginning when it asks for Automatic System Recovery.
  16. Setup will now install Windows and ask for the backup files, point him to your Samba share with the backup file. After Setup finishes, you’re done!

If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment.

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