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How to Convert Physical Computers to Virtual Machines by Using VMM


Updated: May 13, 2016

Applies To: System Center 2012 SP1 - Virtual Machine Manager, System Center 2012 - Virtual Machine Manager

Before you begin a physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversion in VMM, we recommend that you do the following:

  • Check the version of VMM that you have. You can perform P2V conversions with VMM in System Center 2012 and System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1).

    You can also use the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC) for P2V conversions. For more information, see Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0.


    As of System Center 2012 R2, you can no longer perform P2V conversions in VMM. Instead, use MVMC. For more information, see Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0.

  • If you have not already reviewed the prerequisites for P2V, see P2V Prerequisites in VMM.

  • Run the System Center Virtual Machine Manager Configuration Analyzer (VMMCA) on the VMM management server, the destination hosts, and the source computers.

    The VMMCA scans the hardware and software configurations of the computers that you specify, evaluates them against a set of predefined rules, and then provides you with error messages and warnings for any configurations that are not optimal for the VMM role or other VMM function that you have specified for the computer.

  • To prevent disruptions to the conversion, configure the source computer to not go into standby power mode.

  • To help minimize the time required, perform a disk defragmentation on the source computer. Also, ensure that you have a fast network connection between the source computer and the virtual machine host.

  • Use dynamic virtual hard disks (VHDs) to conserve disk space on the destination host. For example, if you convert 5 GB of data on a 40 GB hard drive, VMM will create a dynamically expanding 40 GB VHD that occupies approximately 5 GB of disk space and can expand up to 40 GB. The actual size depends on fragmentation of the original volume plus some VHD format overhead.


    It is not possible to shrink the size of a disk.

  • For an online P2V conversion, make sure that all critical applications that are running on the source computer have VSS-aware writers or that they are stopped.

  • For an offline P2V, be prepared to supply NIC and mass storage drivers that are compatible with the source computer. Make sure the Driver Import folder (%SYSTEMDRIVE%\Program Files\Microsoft System Center 2012\Virtual Machine Manager\Driver Import) on the VMM management server contains all necessary drivers to support the drives that are emulated by the target virtualization software. VMM will evaluate the source physical computer and compare it with the drivers that are included in Windows PE, and will provide instructions on adding drivers on the source computer.

To convert a physical system to a virtual machine

  1. Open the VMs and Services workspace.

  2. On the Home tab, in the Create group, click the Create Virtual Machine drop-down arrow, and then click Convert Physical Machine.

    The Convert Physical Server (P2V) Wizard opens.

  3. On the Select Source page, do the following:

    • In the Computer name or IP address box, specify a physical computer to convert. You can identify the computer by name or by IPv4 or IPv6 address.

    • In the Administrative account section, enter credentials for an administrator to connect to the physical computer, and then click Next.

  4. On the Specify Virtual Machine Identity page, enter a virtual machine name and optional description, and then click Next.

  5. On the System Information page, click Scan System to gather information about the physical computer. VMM temporarily installs a VMM agent on the computer to gather system information.


    Review the warning about encrypted volumes. We strongly recommend that you do not convert a source computer that has encrypted volumes.

    When the scan is complete, click Next to continue.

  6. On the Volume Configuration page, do the following:

    1. If desired, clear the check box next to any additional volumes. By default, VMM creates a virtual hard disk for each volume. You cannot clear the check box next to the system or system reserve volume.

    2. Accept or modify the VHD Size (MB), VHD Type, or Channel settings.

    3. Click the chevron icon next to Conversion Options.

    4. In the Conversion Options area, click Online conversion or Offline conversion.

    5. If desired, select the Turn off source computer after conversion check box.

    6. Click Next to continue.

  7. If you selected offline conversion, on the Offline Conversion Options page, select whether to obtain an IP address automatically, or to use a specific IPv4 or IPv6 address.

    If you selected an IPv4 or IPv6 address, enter the relevant information and, if necessary, select the network adapter to bind the address to. Then, click Next.

  8. For either offline or online conversion, do the following:

    1. On the Virtual Machine Configuration page, configure the number of virtual processors and the amount of memory for the new virtual machine, and then click Next.

    2. On the Select Host page, review the virtual machine host placement ratings, click the desired host, and then click Next.

    3. On the Select Path page, specify a storage location on the host for the virtual machine files, and then click Next.

    4. On the Select Networks page, configure which logical network, virtual network and VLAN (if applicable) to assign to each virtual network adapter, and then click Next.

    5. On the Add Properties page, configure the action to take when the virtual machine host stops or starts, and then click Next.

    6. On the Conversion Information page, verify that no issues are detected, and then click Next.

      If there are issues, click each issue to view the associated error and suggested resolution information. Resolve any issues before you continue.

    7. On the Summary page, review the settings. If desired, select the Start the virtual machine after deploying it check box, and then click Create to continue with the conversion.


      You can click View Script to create a PowerShell script.

See Also

P2V Prerequisites in VMM