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Moving an Older Virtual Machine

Moving an Older Virtual Machine

If you have created a virtual machine using VMware Workstation 3.0 or 2.x, or another VMware product, and you want to move it to a different computer or to another directory on your host, you need to perform the following tasks.

Note: These instructions assume that you are using a virtual disk - stored in a set of .vmdk files on your host computer.

It is always safest to make backup copies of all the files in your virtual machine's folder (directory) before you start a process like this.

Preparing Your Virtual Machine for the Move

Preparing Your Virtual Machine for the Move

  1. Be sure you know whether the virtual disk is set up as an IDE disk or a SCSI disk. You can check this in the Configuration Editor (Settings > Configuration Editor).

    Also, note the size of the virtual disk you are moving. You need this information when you prepare the new host machine, as described in the next section.

  2. Shut down the guest operating system. If the virtual machine is suspended, resume it, then shut down the guest operating system.

    Note: Do not move a suspended virtual machine from one host to another.

  3. If your virtual machine is using disks in undoable mode, it is best to commit or discard the changes when the guest operating system shuts down. If you cannot commit or discard the changes to your disk, read Considerations for Moving Disks in Undoable Mode.

  4. If you have a network connection between the original host machine and the new host, you are finished with the preparations on the original host. Otherwise, you need to have a way of moving the virtual disk (.vmdk) files from the virtual machine's directory to the new host. You could move them to a shared network directory, for example, or burn them to CD-ROMs if they are not too large.

    Note: If your disks are using undoable mode and you have not committed or discarded your changes, you must also move the redo-log (.REDO) file to the new host computer.

Preparing the New Host Machine

Preparing the New Host Machine

  1. Make sure VMware Workstation is installed and working correctly on the new host computer.

  2. Run the New Virtual Machine Wizard (on Windows hosts) or Configuration Wizard (on Linux Hosts) and select the appropriate guest operating system for the virtual machine you're moving.

    Choose a virtual disk for your hard drive and use a drive size that matches the size of the virtual disk you plan to move.

    Select all appropriate network, floppy and CD-ROM settings. Do not make any changes with the Configuration Editor at this point.

    Save your settings and close VMware Workstation.

  3. In the folder (directory) just created for the new virtual machine, delete the brand new .vmdk files that were just created.

  4. Locate the virtual disk files you are moving and copy them into the new virtual machine directory.

    Note: If your virtual machine is using disks in undoable mode and you did not commit or discard your changes before the move, you must also move the redo-log (.REDO) file to the new host computer.

  5. Start VMware Workstation again and open the new virtual machine you just created. Go to Settings > Configuration Editor.

  6. Be sure the virtual machine is configured to use the virtual disk files you moved from the original host. You need to confirm that the new disk's settings - IDE or SCSI and the file name for the first .vmdk file - match those that were used on the original host machine.

    Windows host: The device listing for the hard drive shows whether it is SCSI or IDE. If that setting does not match the virtual disk you are migrating, select the hard disk and click Remove. Then click Add and use the Add Hardware Wizard to add an IDE or SCSI disk as appropriate. To specify IDE or SCSI, when you reach the Disk File screen in the wizard, click the Advanced button.

    Be sure the filename and path for the virtual disk match the actual filename and location for the first .vmdk file used by the virtual machine you are moving.

    Linux host: Click the + signs to expand the SCSI Devices and IDE Drives categories. Be sure that the virtual machine's settings match those of the virtual disk you are migrating. If you need to remove a virtual disk from the configuration, select that disk in the list on the left, then click Remove in the panel on the right. To add a virtual disk, select the appropriate disk from the list on the left (for a boot disk, use either SCSI 0:0 or the IDE disk labeled P-M) and click Install.

    Be sure the filename and path for the virtual disk match the actual filename and location for the first .vmdk file used by the virtual machine you are moving.

Considerations for Moving Disks in Undoable Mode

Considerations for Moving Disks in Undoable Mode

Once you commit or discard changes made to a disk in undoable mode, you can move your disk between Linux and Windows host operating systems. You can also move your disk to different locations on your computer and to other computers with the same host operating system.

However, if you cannot or do not want to commit or discard the changes made to your undoable disk, note the following:

  • You can always move a disk in undoable mode between host operating systems of the same general type (for example, between two Microsoft Windows systems, or between two Linux systems). Depending upon how the disk was first set up, you may have to place the disk and its redo log in a folder (directory) that has a path name identical to that of the current folder (directory).
  • You may be able to move the disk in undoable mode between Windows and Linux host systems, and move the disk to a different folder (directory) on your current system, if there is no path name information in the virtual machine's configuration file. This is true for virtual machines created under VMware Workstation 3.1 or higher; however, virtual machines created with older versions of Workstation or any other VMware product contain full path names.

Follow these steps to check the configuration and see whether or not you can move your undoable disk without committing or discarding changes:

  1. Start VMware Workstation.

    If you are moving a disk in undoable mode from one computer to another computer, start VMware Workstation on the computer that currently has your disk.

  2. Open the configuration file for the virtual machine that uses the undoable mode disk you wish to move.

    In the VMware Workstation window, select File > Open and choose the configuration file of the virtual machine with the disk you want to move.

  3. Start the Configuration Editor.

    Select Settings > Configuration Editor.

  4. Examine the entry for your virtual disk to see whether it includes a full path to the first virtual disk file. For example, on a Windows host, you might see a Disk File listing like this:

    My Documents\My Virtual Machines\Windows Me\Windows Me.vmdk

    Entries for SCSI disks are similar.

    If your Disk File information resembles that above, with a full path to the first disk file, then as long as you have not committed or discarded changes to the undoable disk, note the following:

    • You can move the disk to another computer of the same type (Windows to Windows).
    • You must place the virtual machine's other files (.vmx and .REDO on Windows, .cfg and .REDO on Linux) in the same relative location on the new computer. In other words, if the virtual machine's files reside in
      My Documents\My Virtual Machines\Windows Me\
      on the original host computer, you must place them in that same location on the new host computer.
    • You cannot move the disk to a computer of a different type (Windows to Linux or vice versa).
    • You cannot move the disk to another folder (directory) on the current system.

      If your Disk File information does not contain a path, it looks like this:

      Windows Me.vmdk

      If your disk entry resembles the one above (just a filename with a .vmdk extension), you can move the disk and redo log anywhere you wish.

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