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August 18, 2011

How to Convert a VMware Virtual Machine to a Hyper-V Virtual Machine


As you may know, VMware and Microsoft use two different formats for their virtual disk images, which means that the Virtual Machines end up with different file type extensions:

  • VMware uses Virtual Machine Disk Format — with the extension .vmdk
  • Microsoft uses Virtual Hard Disk Format — with the extension .vhd

So when you need to convert a VMware VM to Hyper-V, or vice versa, the process becomes a little bit more involved.

However, Microsoft’s System Center Virtual Machine Manager allows you to easily convert your existing VMware virtual machines to Hyper-V. In this video from my new Microsoft Server Virtualization Training I’ll walk you through the process of converting a VMware virtual machine to a Hyper-V virtual machine using System Center VMM 2008 R2.

For those of you who need to follow along, below is the step-by-step process for your reference.

Converting a VMware Virtual Machine to Hyper-V

Why would you need to convert an existing VMware virtual machine to a Hyper-V virtual machine? Well, maybe you’re in the process of testing the Hyper-V platform or maybe your organization is already migrating from the VMware platform to Hyper-V. Whatever the reason you might have, these step-by-step instructions can guide you through the conversion process.

For this procedure, we’ll be using the Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM).

1. First, go to your VMM Library and select the virtual machine you want to convert. In the Actions panel on the right, click Convert virtual machine.

Convert virtual machine in VMM

2. This will bring up the Convert Virtual Machine Wizard. When you’re asked to select the source VM, click the Browse button.

Convert virtual machine wizard

3. You’ll then see the VM you selected earlier. Select it again and click OK.

Select the VM to convert

4. Once you’re back to the wizard window, just click Next.

In the next window, you’ll be asked what name you’d like to assign to the virtual machine once it gets converted. You may leave it as is, otherwise, if you want a new name, change the name in the Virtual machine name: field.

You may also select an owner for that virtual machine as well as give it a description. When you’re done with those, click Next.

Give your virtual machine an identity

5. In the following window, specify the number of processors and memory size you want to allocate for this new VM. Click Next when done.

Processors and memory for your new VM

6. The next step is to specify a host for the virtual machine. There’s only one in the screenshot below, but you can actually see more if there are any. You can also view each host’s Rating, which is actually a rating VMM uses in evaluating how capable each of these hosts are in taking on the new VM. Naturally, the more stars there are on a host, the more capable it should be.

Select a host for your new virtual machine

If you’re interested, you can even see the explanation of a particular host’s rating by navigating to the Rating Explanation tab for that host at the bottom of the page.

Host rating explanation in VMM

Once you’ve selected your desired host, just click the Next button.

7.You’ll then be asked to pick a path for your virtual machine. You can either choose the default path or browse and select a path you prefer. Take note of this path, as you’ll be needing it later when you search your Hyper-V server for files associated with the newly converted VM. After selecting a path, click Next.

Choose a path for the new virtual machine

8. If the virtual machine will be connected through a virtual network, you can also specify a particular virtual network. Click Next when done.

Virtual network for new virtual machine

You will then need to specify a couple of Automatic start actions. That is, you will need to specify what action should be performed when the physical server starts and what action should be performed when the server stops.

For example, a usual choice for the first action is: Automatically turn on the virtual machine if it was running when physical server stopped, while Save State is a typical choice for the second.

Choose your desired actions from the drop-down lists and click Next when done.

VMM automatic start actions

11. At this point, you’ll be presented with a summary of all the settings you specified earlier. If everything looks fine, click Create.

VMM Summary

12. This will bring up the Jobs window, where you’ll see the actual virtual to virtual conversion. It’s going to take quite a while for that conversion process to complete, so you may go ahead and do some other tasks in the meantime.

Virtual to virtual conversion progress

13. If everything goes perfectly well, you’ll simply see a Completed notice on the Status column. But since this is not a perfect world, you might actually encounter a Warning like the one below. It says that the task completed but that there’s some information you need to be aware of.

Completed VM conversion with info

You can see details of that warning as well as some recommended actions.

Although some of these “errors” will require you to rectify the problem and do the entire process all over again, there are also “errors” that may not be too serious and can be remedied by working on the newly created virtual machine.

For example, a problem can occur if you fail to remove the VMware Tools from a VMware virtual machine before that VM is converted. If that happens, a possible solution would be to simply start the machine, get inside, mount the Integration Services CD/DVD and run the required utility from within.

If you’re confident you can easily rectify the problem later, just close the Jobs window and you’ll see the newly created Hyper-V virtual machine.

Newly converted VM

If you see it there, you can go to your Hyper-V server and navigate to the path that you specified earlier in the conversion process. You should see all the relevant files for that virtual machine in there.

Newly created VM in Hyper-V Server

Also, if you run your Hyper-V manager, you should see the newly created virtual machine in there as well.

Newly converted VM in Hyper-V manager

That completes this virtual machine conversion from VMware to Hyper-V tutorial.

About the Author

(MCP, MCSA, MCSE, MCDST, MCT, MCTS, MCITP, A+, Network+, Server+, CWTS, CWNA, CWNT) has worked in technology for 20 years. He has been certified and instructing IT since 1998. He has helped thousands of people to get started or advance their careers in the IT industry. When he is not in the classroom, he is out helping corporations with their network infrastructure as an independent consultant. Ed will get you ready to pass your exams while you develop the skills needed to succeed in the "real world". His teaching style encourages you to have fun while you learn. Ed also volunteers his time in his local community as a math tutor for struggling grade school children.