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Moving a VMware Workstation 3.1 or 3.2 Virtual Machine

Moving a VMware Workstation 3.1 or 3.2 Virtual Machine

If you want to move a virtual machine created with VMware Workstation 3.1 or 3.2, you may prefer to upgrade it for full compatibility with VMware Workstation 4 before moving it. To do so, run the virtual machine under VMware Workstation 4 and use VM > Upgrade Virtual Hardware. If you upgrade the virtual hardware, you can then follow the instructions in Moving a VMware Workstation 4 Virtual Machine.

If you upgrade the virtual machine, you can no longer run it under VMware Workstation 3. If you need to run the virtual machine under both VMware Workstation 3 and VMware Workstation 4, do not upgrade the virtual hardware. Follow the instructions in this section.

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

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

Virtual Machines May Have Relative or Absolute Paths

Virtual Machines May Have Relative or Absolute Paths

Before VMware Workstation 3.1, the path names for all files associated with a virtual machine were absolute, or fully qualified, meaning the complete route to the files on the host was stored. For example, the absolute path to a virtual disk file might be C:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\My Documents\My Virtual Machines\<machine name>\<machine name>.vmdk.

With VMware Workstation 3.1 and higher, path names to files are relative, meaning the path to the each file is relative to the currently active directory. For example, if you are in the virtual machine's directory, the relative path to the virtual disk file is <machine name>.vmdk.

If you intend to move virtual machines created in a VMware product other than VMware Workstation 3.1 or higher (even VMware Workstation 3.0), see Moving an Older Virtual Machine.

Preparing Your Virtual Machine for the Move

Preparing Your Virtual Machine for the Move

  1. Use VMware Workstation 3 to open the virtual machine. If the virtual machine has more than one virtual disk and if the virtual disks use different disk modes, you must use the Configuration Editor to change one or more of the virtual disks so they all use the same mode.
  2. Be sure the guest operating system is completely shut down. If the virtual machine is suspended and its virtual disks are in persistent or nonpersistent mode, resume it, then shut down the guest operating system.
  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.

    Note: If your disks are using nonpersistent mode, you must also move the redo- log (.REDO) file to the new host computer. By default, it is located in your host operating system's temp directory.

  4. Do one of the following:
    • If you are moving the virtual machine to a new host and 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.
Once you know how you are going to move the virtual machine, go to Moving a Virtual Machine to a New Host Machine.
    • If you are moving this virtual machine to another directory on the same host, you are ready to make the move. Copy all the files in the virtual machine's original directory to the new location. If you stored any files in directories other than the virtual machine directory, be sure to move them into a directory of the same name and same position relative to the location of the virtual machine.
Start VMware Workstation 4 and open the virtual machine you just moved. Choose File > Open, then browse to the virtual machine's configuration (.vmx) file.
Moving a Virtual Machine to a New Host Machine

Moving a Virtual Machine to a New Host Machine

  1. Make sure VMware Workstation is installed and working correctly on the new host computer.
  2. Locate the virtual disk files you are moving and copy them into the new virtual machine directory. Be sure to copy all the files in the virtual machine's original directory. If you stored any files in directories other than the virtual machine directory, be sure to move them into a directory of the same name and same position relative to the location of the virtual machine.

    If, for some reason, you are not moving a file, make sure you do not have any relative or absolute paths pointing to that file. Use the virtual machine settings editor and check to see if your virtual machine is pointing to the correct location for files you do not move. In the virtual machine settings editor, select each device and be sure that any devices with associated files are pointed to the correct files. Also, check the Options tab to be sure the location for the redo-log file is correct.

    In addition, check to see you do not have any absolute paths pointing to any files you are moving.

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

  3. Start VMware Workstation 4 and open the virtual machine you just moved. Choose File > Open, then browse to the virtual machine's configuration (.vmx) file.

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