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Old 07-15-2014, 07:08 AM   #1
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P2V cloning Windows system partition in a virtual machine

I'm interested in backing up an OEM Windows 7 system so that when used in a virtual machine all the prompts an OEM system is supposed to show at first use will be shown.

I will use free as in free beer software to do this and I picked this methods:

Clonezilla + VMWARE converter, using Clonezilla to make an image and then converting it with VMWARE's tool.
I'm not sure if I should bother with the sysprep process in this case..

Clonezilla + VM, making a cold cloning of the sytem and restoring the image to a VM (something along the lines of P2V + V2V).
since this option requires to setup sysprep in the cloned machine before creating the clonezilla image it may not be useful to me.

MOA, a live cd which includes VMWARE's converter 3.0.3, an older version which can still perform cold cloning

(should I consider Microsoft Deployment Tool?)

anyone would have some useful tip to add for this before I start restoring Windows and messing up the partitions?

(the end stage of this would be a laptop running Slackware Linux from computer environment, a VM running a clean copy of Windows 7 inside of Slackware, a copy of my old system partition and a copy of the OEM system partition accesible at need through the VM. the VM would most probably be a VMWARE tool).

Last edited by maja_ldm; 07-15-2014 at 12:47 PM.
Old 07-15-2014, 06:27 PM   #2
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Let me set aside any legal aspects since it is not part of your question.

A real P2V app converts windows to a usable vm. It is not simply a clone. It changes hal and usually allows you to edit hardware or drive size or type to match target (virtual) system. If not that it creates a generic system that can be corrected. In many cases you will have to re-authenticate the windows install. This leads me to ask this question. When you say OEM, exactly what do you mean?
Old 07-15-2014, 06:40 PM   #3
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If I understand correctly, he's basically talking about purchasing a computer with Windows pre-installed (or using the recovery partition of one of these systems to re-install the OS), and turning that Windows installation into a VM that he can run from within Linux. If that's the case, I think licensing is going to be your worst enemy here. OEM installations are typically tied to the exact hardware in the machine. Certain things can be changed (RAM, HD, etc.) without causing problems, but shifting from bare metal to a VM environment is definitely going to raise some (all?) red flags.

Personally, I don't see any legal problems with it, since it's still the same computer it was pre-installed on and it's still the same license, but I think that getting this to actually work is going to be difficult, if not impossible.

A little more on that point - we had a user in our organization not long ago who needed Windows and Linux. I built a basic system for him, installed Linux on it, and purchased a Windows 7 DVD, which I used to set up a Virtualbox VM. Everything worked great. About a year later, he left and went to another company. My computer was getting dated, so I switched to the one that I had built for him. I used my own user account on the system, moved the .vdi for the Windows VM from his home directory to mine, and fired it up. Same computer, same Virtualbox installation, the only thing that was different was the underlying user on the Linux system that was starting it up, and Windows STILL detected a difference and made me re-activate the license. In my case this was a purchased DVD with a real license key that allows up to 3? activations before having to call support, so it was fine. But OEM installations don't have license keys, they don't have activations, they verify using the hardware on the system, which is why I think the OP's proposal is going to be difficult/impossible to get working.

Last edited by suicidaleggroll; 07-15-2014 at 06:47 PM.
Old 07-16-2014, 07:51 AM   #4
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The computer is a laptop with a licensed pre-installed copy of Windows 7 Home Premium. As far as I understand I may need to call the Microsoft customer service to activate the copy installed in the virtual machine, but there shouldn't be any problem as the hardware I'm using the license on is still the same.

Thinking more about it, I may have problems since I plan to have 3 copies of Windows, even if tey'd be running at different times.

The first copy would be the one I used in these last few years, I can give up on this one as long as I can backup my stuff in some browsable format, I can even just copy file-by-file what I think may be useful to an external hard drive and be done with it.
I can use VMWARE converter from within the operating system for this (hence the name "hot cloning"), or I could use tools from outside the operating system.

The second copy would be a copy of the system as it appears just after an "OEM recover", which basically means using the recovery partition and obtain a system (and an image) in which all the software, the settings and the prompts of first use of the system as set up by the manufacturer are shown whenever the system is started. This is for my own curiosity and while I'd like to have such a copy of the system stored somewhere I can do without it.
I need to find a way to make an image of the operating system partition before Windows is used for the first time and that's what I was talking about in the first post (either using a Clonezilla image or making a boot CD with an older version of a VMWARE tool which allows to make a copy of a system "from outside")

The third copy would be a "clean" installation of Windows from inside a virtual machine, and I know I will probably need to call Microsoft for an activation by phone call.
I can use the downloadable Windows 7 installation cd's for this and I should be able to do it in a completely legal way if Microsoft will accept my phone call activation (as they should).

I didn't consider the fact that I would need an activation key not only for installation but for activating an image of an already existing installation of the operating system in the same exact machine.. maybe I can find a different way to obtain my second point.

Last edited by maja_ldm; 07-16-2014 at 10:50 AM.
Old 07-16-2014, 06:29 PM   #5
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A common theme that I read is this.

With an OEM license, Windows is tied directly to the hardware on which it was loaded by the manufacturer. Most pre-installed versions of Windows have OEM licenses. OEM licenses generally cannot be transferred to another computer, or to a virtual machine. If you use the VMware Fusion Migrate Your PC feature to migrate one of these types of systems to a virtual machine, you might be required to purchase a second license (or product key) from Microsoft. If a second product key is required, you can get that through the Microsoft representative when you call Microsoft Support to activate the operating system now residing in the virtual machine."

Let us know if it works.


clonezilla, cloning, p2v, vmware

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