VMware Converter Enterprise for VirtualCenter 2.5
Release Notes

VMware Converter Enterprise for VirtualCenter 2.5 | 12/3/2007 | Build 62386

What's in the Release Notes

The release notes cover the following topics:

These release notes provide information on the VMware Converter Enterprise for VirtualCenter module. For information on new VirtualCenter features, requirements, and installation, see the VMware Infrastructure 3 version 3.5 Release Notes for your product.

Introduction to VMware Converter Enterprise for VirtualCenter

VMware Converter Enterprise for VirtualCenter is an add-on plug-in for VirtualCenter that provides an integrated, easy-to-use, scalable solution for migrating both physical and virtual machines to VMware Infrastructure. Optimized for mass migration, Converter Enterprise can create, edit, and monitor physical-to-virtual (P2V) and virtual-to-virtual (V2V) migration tasks through the VirtualCenter user interface. In addition, Converter Enterprise can directly import supported third-party images to VirtualCenter managed virtual machines.

For physical-to-virtual (P2V) migrations, Converter Enterprise can perform live migrations by using hot cloning, which causes no disruption or downtime on the source physical machines. The hot cloning process installs an agent on the physical source being converted to leverage volume shadow copy service (VSS) snapshots prior to conversion. To avoid installing an agent on the physical operating environment, you can use the traditional cold cloning approach to P2V conversions. This involves shutting down the physical machine and using a Converter Enterprise Boot CD to perform an offline conversion.

Converter Enterprise also provides the ability to export virtual machines managed by VirtualCenter to hosted VMware platforms such as VMware Workstation, VMware Server, and VMware ACE.

Feature Overview

 Feature  Description
Centralized Management Console Allows users to easily deploy, manage, and schedule P2V and V2V migrations through the VirtualCenter user interface.
Multiple Concurrent Migrations Users can run multiple simultaneous P2V and V2V tasks in parallel.
Hot Cloning for live migrations Provides for live P2V conversions without requiring any downtime on the source physical machine. Involves installation of an agent for taking a live snapshot of the source system. (Windows NT and Windows 2000 sources will require a reboot prior to a live conversion).
Cold Cloning for offline migrations Uses the Converter Enterprise Boot CD to convert physical machines during scheduled downtime. Cold cloning does not require installation of the agent on the source physical machines.
Extensive Hardware Support No physical hardware dependencies if hot cloning is used.
Utility for Customization of Boot CD Provides the ability to add Windows device drivers to the Converter Enterprise Boot CD ISO image.
Broad coverage for Microsoft Windows platform Supports conversions for a wide variety of Windows operating system platforms. See Interoperability and Supported Guest Operating Systems.
Virtual Machine Mobility Allows migration of virtual machines between hosted VMware virtual machine formats (VMware Player, VMware Workstation, VMware GSX Server, VMware Server, and so on) and the enterprise VI3 virtual machine platform.
Migration of Microsoft Virtual Machines to VI Import virtual machines in Microsoft VirtualPC and Virtual Server format.
Support for importing third-party disk images Import third-party disk image formats such as Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery, StorageCraft ShadowProtect, and Acronis True Image
Sector-based cloning mechanism Provides for faster conversion speeds by leveraging sector-based snapshot cloning as the default cloning mechanism. (If volumes are resized on target virtual machines, file-based cloning is used).
Image Customization Allows modification of a virtual machine's guest operating system properties after the conversion to provide it a new operating identity (for example, a new NETBIOS name, SID, or IP address).
VCB image restores Users can restore virtual machines backed up using VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) through the VirtualCenter user interface. VCB images of any guest operating system type supported by VI3 can be restored.
Scheduled Conversions Ability to schedule P2V conversion and V2V migration tasks.
Command Line Interface for scripting Ability to automate conversion and migration tasks using custom scripts.

Installation Notes

Installation of VMware Converter Enterprise for VirtualCenter requires a connection to an existing VirtualCenter 2.5 or later server. Each installation of Converter Enterprise must be associated with exactly one VirtualCenter Server instance.

VMware Converter Enterprise for VirtualCenter consists of a server component (that can be either installed on the same system as VirtualCenter Server or on a different system); and a client component that is essentially a plug-in interface to the VMware Infrastructure Client (also known as the VI Client).

The server component of VMware Converter Enterprise for VirtualCenter can coexist with installations of the standalone VMware Converter 3.x product.


The server component of VMware Converter Enterprise for VirtualCenter 2.5 can be installed on the following platforms:

  • Windows 2000 Server SP4 with Update Rollup 1
  • Windows XP Pro SP2 (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows 2003 Server SP1 (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows 2003 Server R2 (32-bit and 64-bit)

The operating system on which the server component of VMware Converter Enterprise for VirtualCenter gets installed determines what virtual machines and third-party images can be successfully imported, exported, and reconfigured. See the table below for operating system compatibility information.

Operating System on Which Converter
Enterprise Server is Installed
Compatible Source Virtual Machine or Third-Party Image Operating System
Windows NT Windows 2000 Windows XP Windows 2003 Windows Vista
Windows 2000 X X      
Windows XP Pro X X X X X
Windows 2003 Server SP1 X X X X X
Windows 2003 Server R2 X X X X X

Interoperability and Supported Guest Operating Systems

VMware Converter Enterprise for VirtualCenter 2.5 supports the following sources and destinations:

 Import from Physical Machines
 Import from Various Third-Party
Formats and VMware Products
 Export to a Virtual Machine for
VMware Hosted and Datacenter Products

Operating systems that can be imported to VI3 virtual machines using hot or cold cloning:

  • Windows NT 4 Workstation/Server SP4+
  • Windows 2000 Professional/Server/Advanced
  • Windows XP Home (XP Home supports cold cloning only)
  • Windows XP Professional (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows 2003 Standard/Web/ Enterprise (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows Vista (32 bit and 64-bit)
  • VMware Workstation 4.5.x/5.x/6.x
  • VMware Player 1.x/2.x
  • VMware Server 1.x
  • VMware ACE 1.x/2.x
  • VMware Fusion 1.x
  • VMware GSX 3.x
  • Unmanaged VMware ESX 3.x hosts
  • VMware ESX 2.5/3.x hosts (including ESX Server 3i) managed by VMware VirtualCenter 2.x
  • Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 and later
  • Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 and later
  • Symantec (Norton) Ghost 9.0/10.0/12.0 LiveState 3.0/6.0, and Backup Exec System Recovery 6.5/7.0 (.sv2i)
  • StorageCraft ShadowProtect (.spf)
  • Acronis True Image (.tib)
  • VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) full backup images
  • VMware Workstation 4.x/5.x/6.x and Player/Server formats
  • VMware GSX 3.x formats
  • Unmanaged VMware ESX 3.x hosts (including ESX Server 3i)
  • VMware ESX 2.5/3.x hosts (including ESX Server 3i) managed by VMware VirtualCenter 2.x
  • VMware ACE 2.x
  • VMware Fusion 1.x
Not Supported:
  • Unmanaged VMware ESX Server 2.5.x hosts
  • VMware ESX Server 2.5.x hosts when managed by VirtualCenter 1.x

For conditions and limitations in importing StorageCraft ShadowProtect, Acronis True Image, and Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery images, see the VMware Converter Enterprise for VirtualCenter Administration Guide.

Support for the following guest operating systems is Experimental. VMware Converter Enterprise for VirtualCenter can clone source images containing these operating systems, but the destination virtual machine may or may not work without additional configuration after import. In particular, if the source image contains unsupported hardware, you might need to modify the configuration of the destination virtual machine before using it:

  • Linux
  • Windows NT 3.x
  • Windows ME
  • Windows 98
  • Windows 95
  • MS-DOS

Known Issues

This VMware Converter Enterprise release contains the following known issues.

Powering on a Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 image containing a Windows NT guest causes a critical system error
After a successful import, a blue screen appears on startup when you use Converter Enterprise Server to import a Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 image containing a Windows NT guest to an ESX Server destination. This issue is seen consistently across all ESX Server destinations: ESX Server 3i, 3.5, 3.0 and 2.5.

Vmware Converter Enterprise Server terminates abnormally when multiple jobs are run in a short period of time
If you are running multiple heavily loaded Converter jobs in a short period of time, Converter Enterprise Server might terminate abnormally. This issue is caused by the limited availability of poll threads.

Reimporting a failed or canceled Converter Enterprise import task might fail with source in use
If you try to rerun a failed or cancelled import task immediately after cancellation or failure, Converter Enterprise might fail and report that the source machine is in use. When an import task fails or is cancelled, VMware Infrastructure Client immediately indicates this, but it takes a few minutes for Converter to remove the target virtual machine. Before trying to reimport the source machine, wait for the target virtual machine to be removed. This is indicated by the successful completion of the "Destroy Virtual Machine task" (generated by Converter Enterprise server) in the task pane of the Virtual Center client.

Converter operations to VirtualCenter fail when the source machine disk size is greater than 256 GB
When VMware Converter Enterprise tries to import a source machine containing a disk size greater than 256 GB, virtual machine creation fails. This is a Virtual Machine File System (VMFS) limitation. By default, when you create a datastore the block size limit is 1 MB. To increase the file size, create a VMFS3 datastore with a larger block size.

The block size limits are:
  • VMFS2: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, or 64 MB
  • VMFS3: 1, 2, 4, or 8 MB

Windows misinterprets Converter Enterprise service termination
In some instances, when you stop the Converter Enterprise service from the Windows Management console or by using net stop, Windows misinterprets the action and issues the following error message: The process terminated unexpectedly. You can ignore the error message. This is the intended Converter behavior.

Restarting VirtualCenter Server when Converter Enterprise is importing a virtual machine causes out of sync inventory
If you restart VirtualCenter Server during an import, the Recent Tasks pane does not show the running Converter tasks. The target virtual machine is unusable if VirtualCenter Server is stopped while the import task is running.  You must remove the target virtual machine and reimport it.

Scheduled tasks are not run if Converter Enterprise Server is disconnected from the network at the scheduled runtime
If you have scheduled tasks cued to run and Converter Enterprise Server loses network connectivity at the time the task is scheduled, the task never runs, but remains queued. You must resubmit the task. When you submit a new task to Converter Enterprise Server, the task triggers the tool to reconnect to VirtualCenter and resets all queued or running jobs.
Workaround: Launch a Converter Enterprise wizard or view an existing task to trigger Converter Enterprise to reestablish the VirtualCenter connection. Then right-click the scheduled task and select Run.

Importing a Windows Vista source machine with invalid customization values corrupts the destination machine
The destination virtual machine issues an error message and reboots over and over if any of the following situations occur when you customize your Windows Vista source machine:

  • The product key is incorrect
  • The domain name or domain administrator credentials are invalid
  • The domain controller is unreachable because, for example, the virtual machine has no network connectivity or the domain controller is not in the network.
Workaround: Make sure that you are using valid customization values. If possible, avoid joining a domain.

Converter Enterprise Server remote agent deployment fails on Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit systems
Converter Enterprise agent remotely hot clones the remote source to the destination managed by VirtualCenter Server 2.5. However, in the case of Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit, the remote agent is deployed but fails to run. Therefore, these systems cannot be remotely hot cloned.
Workaround 1: Power off the remote source. Use the Vmware Converter Enterprise Boot CD to import the system by cold cloning.
Workaround 2: Turn off Windows Vista User Account Control (UAC) before beginning the remote hot clone. For more information, search on the Microsoft Web site for the "Windows User Account Control Step-by-Step Guide."

Importing a Windows Vista source with a USB device to ESX Server 3.0.x causes a critical system error
If a Windows Vista source with a USB port is imported to an ESX Server 3.0.x destination, the virtual machine issues a blue screen on first startup because the destination machine does not support USB devices.
Workaround: Remove usb.present = "TRUE" from the converted .vmx file and power on the target virtual machine.

VMware Converter Enterprise cannot read short host names
If you log in to VMware Infrastructure Client by using a short machine name for Virtual Center that is resolvable by the client machine but not by Converter Enterprise agent, the agent fails to connect to VirtualCenter. When Converter Enterprise Server tries to contact the VirtualCenter server during the remote hot clone setup, the following error message is issued: Unable to find the server . Verify that the server name is correct and then try again.
Workaround: Log in by using a fully qualified host name or IP address in VMware Infrastructure client. Alternatively, you can ensure that the short host name of the VirtualCenter Server is resolvable from the remote source.

Converter Enterprise Server crashes when a scheduled task tries to import to or export from a disconnected host in the VirtualCenter inventory
If a host source or target of a Converter Enterprise Server scheduled task is disconnected at the time the task is run, Converter Enterprise Server crashes. If you encounter this problem, restart the Converter Enterprise service from the Windows service console.

Converter Enterprise allows import of powered on hosted sources
Converter Enterprise allows import of powered on or suspended hosted sources, but this action is not supported. The tool should terminate with an error message when you try to import a Workstation 5.5 or 6.0 source machine.
Workaround: Shut down and power off the virtual machine before importing it.

Setting the firewall on Windows systems to allow incoming file share connections
To allow incoming file share connections, you must set Windows Firewall in the following cases:

  • When the machine is used to host standalone images
  • When the machine is used as a standalone destination
  • When the machine will be remotely hot cloned
When you use Windows Firewall, you must allow File and Printer Sharing. Also, to access File and Printer Sharing ports, you might need to change the scope of the IP addresses that the firewall allows. To activate File and Printer Sharing and change the cope of IP addresses, follow these steps:

Windows XP

  1. Go to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Windows Firewall.
  2. Click the Exceptions tab and select File and Printer Sharing.
  3. Click Edit.
  4. For each listed port, click Change Scope and select Custom list.
  5. Add the range of IP addresses that need access.

Windows Vista

  1. Open the Control Panel and select Administrative tools > Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.
  2. Double-click Inbound rules and in the list of rules, select the rule(s) for File and Printer Sharing (SMB-in).
  3. Select View Properties and under Properties, select Scope and select Remote IP address.
If needed, change the scope of allowed IP addresses by selecting one of the following (by default, only local subnet IPs are allowed):
  • Any IP address
  • Custom list of IP addresses which need access to the file server (By default, this list contains "local subnet")
If a third party firewall is used, you must allow access to the following file sharing ports: TCP 139 and 445 and UDP 137 and 138.

Scheduled tasks might not run if you restart VirtualCenter Server
If you restart VirtualCenter Server, scheduled tasks won't run unless you create another task before the scheduled time of the original task.

Importing an Acronis image of a system with dynamic disks fails
In some circumstances, importing an Acronis image of a system with dynamic disk fails with the following error message: Guest OS not found. VMware Converter Enterprise does not support importing system images with dynamic disks.

VMware Converter Enterprise for VirtualCenter installation wizard stops responding when mapping multiple Converter Enterprise Servers to the same VirtualCenter Server
VMware Converter Enterprise for Virtual Center supports mapping one Converter Enterprise Server to one VirtualCenter Server. If you are installing Converter Enterprise Server and map it to a VirtualCenter Server that already has an associated Converter Enterprise Server, the installation wizard hangs. To avoid this problem, make sure to map each Converter Enterprise Server to a unique VirtualCenter Server.

Manual uninstall of VMware Converter Enterprise Agent from remote source physical machine may be required
In some cases, manual cleanup of the Converter Enterprise Agent may be required. You can uninstall VMware Converter Enterprise Agent from the Add/Remove Programs control panel on the source physical machine.

Source with mixed IDE and SCSI disks might not produce a bootable virtual machine
A source machine with both SCSI and IDE disks has the IDE disks attached to the end of the disk list. If the source machine boots from an IDE disk, the target virtual machine created by Converter Enterprise boots from the wrong disk because a VMware virtual machine looks for the first disk in the disk list. Workaround:

  1. Boot the imported virtual machine and press F2 to enter the BIOS
  2. Go to the Boot menu
  3. Highlight the Hard Drive row and press Enter
  4. Change the boot order of the disks so that the system disk is first
  5. Continue

Sysprep deletes drive letter mappings if your task includes customization
If you choose customization options and the destination virtual machine fails at a "Please Wait" screen after the second, sysprep reboot, you will need to rerun the import without customization. This problem occurs because of a problem with Microsoft's sysprep, which has deleted the drive letter mappings, preventing access to certain files.

After customizing a virtual machine, rebooting it produces an error message that msgina.dll failed to load
See the VMware Knowledge Base article, Error: "Logon User Interface DLL msgina.dll failed to load": http://kb.vmware.com/kb/907
and the Microsoft knowledge base article, "Error Message: User Interface Failure: The Logon User Interface DLL Msgina.dll Failed to Load": http://support.microsoft.com/kb/329316

Windows NT Terminal Server (SP3) fails on boot after import
Error message:
**STOP : 0x0000007B

When you import some Windows NT machines with old service packs, the resulting virtual machine might fail on boot up. Converter Enterprise upgrades the virtual machine's file system during the import process, and Windows NT systems with older service packs cannot read upgraded NTFS. Workaround: Ensure that the SP on the source machine is high enough to read newer NTFS file systems (SP4 and above).

Customization not applied if virtual machine manually restarted after reconfiguration
The process for customization occurs in this order:

  1. Customize the virtual machine image with Converter Enterprise and wait for 100% Complete
  2. Power on the virtual machine
  3. Wait for it to reboot automatically
  4. Sysprep processes the customizations
  5. Sysprep reboots the virtual machine
  6. The Windows operating system loads, and the network configurations occur
If the user manually reboots the virtual machine after step 2, not waiting for the virtual machine to automatically reboot, the customization process will be broken. Workaround: Turn off Autologon in the source machine. Wait for the machine to automatically reboot during the first boot up. After the first boot, the machine will reboot twice before the user can safely login.

Cloning dual boot systems
When hot cloning dual boot systems, you can clone only the default operating system that boot.ini points to. If you want to clone the non-default operating system, change boot.ini to point to the other operating system and reboot. Once you are booted into the other operating system you can install VMware Infrastructure Client and the Converter Enterprise Client plug-in to hot clone it.

Converter Enterprise does not distinguish between physical serial ports and virtual serial ports on the source machine
Virtual serial ports are treated as physical serial ports during the migration. For instance, if a source machine has two physical serial ports and two virtual serial ports, the import creates four serial ports on the destination machine.

Importing a Windows 2000 virtual machine fails when an OEM-type partition is selected
When selecting individual volumes for a clone, with or without resizing the volumes, do not select any OEM or diagnostic partitions on the disk. The only volumes needed are the active, system, and any data partitions.

Cloning a large disk with lots of free space to an ESX Server destination fails
Selecting "Import all disks and maintain size" on the Converter Enterprise import wizard Source Data page when converting a large disk with lots of free space to an ESX Server destination can cause the import to fail. Check the logs, and if there are error messages with NFC failures, use the "Import volumes . . ." method with or without resizing.

Converter Enterprise does not support, as destinations, clusters in which the VMware DRS is set to partially automated or fully automated.
Converter Enterprise can import to a cluster only if its DRS settings are set to manual instead of automatic.