Windows

Spotlight Question: Can I use Disk2vhd to upgrade from XP to Windows 7?

TechRepublic member borysjn wants to know if Disk2vhd can be used to upgrade a desktop PC from Windows XP to Windows 7. If you can help this member, you will earn a free TechRepublic coffee mug.
TechRepublic member borysjn submitted the following question.

I was wondering if Disk2vhd could be used to upgrade a desktop machine. I have a desktop running Windows XP that I need to upgrade to Window 7, and my thinking is that I could use Disk2vhd to create a .vhd file of the existing XP on an external drive. I could then wipe the drive and install Win7 64 bit, and then import the XP vhd as a virtual machine running under Win7.

Does this seem logical? Are there any gotchas I should be aware of?

Please post your answer(s) in the discussion thread. If you can successfully help this member, we will send you a TechRepublic coffee mug.

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20 comments
YankDownUnder
YankDownUnder

This is exactly how I do this here: * Boot Ubuntu LiveCD, copy the \Documents and Settings to an external drive, along with anything extraneous floating around on the XP drive. * Completely reformat the drive, then do a wipe (NOT with anything Microsoft). Repartition the drive as per necessity. * Install Microsoft Windows7 64-bit, allowing Windows to control the format and partitioning; once booted, allow for all necessary drivers to install, tweak and tune the system as per necessary, install AV, antispyware, antimalware and any other utils as per necessary. Reboot several times to make sure nothing is going to go "south". * Create a directory on the local HD and copy the contents of the backup there. Migrate data as per necessary. Might seem like a bit of work, but I'd prefer to get it right the first time and not have to deal with muck-ups later on.

toadfritter
toadfritter

I used an alternative method for installing Windows 7 64-bit. I repartitioned my drive creating a 300GB partition for Windows 7 using EASEUS Partition Master. It was painless and I now boot to the OS of choice, XP or Windows 7. I still have access to all of my local and network files. Priece

MSFT_AlexT
MSFT_AlexT

In order to use XP mode in Windows 7, your PC must support virtualization first. So I would check on search engine first to see if your configuration could run XP Mode. If you have Windows 7 IT Pro questions, please feel free to check Microsoft.com/Springboard which contains all IT Pro related resources. Hope this helps, Good luck, Alex Microsoft Windows Client Team

ing_ajaramillo
ing_ajaramillo

Actually Windows XP can't be upgraded to Windows 7. you can use Disk2Vhd to take your actual Windows XP system and convert it to a Virtual Hard Drive File then you can make a clean install of Windows 7 and using Virtual PC you can mount your Windows XP VHD file on it. With this scenario you can iteract with both operative systems at the same time and step by step you can migrate all your applications that are runing in windows XP to Windows 7 by installing and testing then on it. Without Disk2Vhd you can do it but it's less productive because you have to install the new Windows 7 system in another partition and to iteract with Windows XP you have to restart on the other partition, this consume a lot of time. To me the most important point is that you can have your Windows XP system right in your Windows 7's desktop.

lachgil
lachgil

There is one main gotcha. This way if doing things would have maybe a 50/50 chance of working properly. I tried something similar with VMware. I copied my XP installation to a vhd. After setting up the appropriate virtual machine settings as close to the host machine as possible I tried to boot the virtual disk in VMware. It got to the point where the login screen was about to show up and then BLOD! (inside the virtual PC) The blue screen of death could be as a result of an old version of VMware or some other problem as is the nature of these errors but its likely there was a driver incompatibility between the old XP installation and VMware. I tried the vhd in Microsoft virtual pc 2009 and I got a similar result. You're much better off dual booting for a while until everything's ported over and then any legacy apps that are still having problems on the new system use Windows XP mode though virtual PC 2009 to run them.

Justin James
Justin James

The problem is, Disk2Vhd does just that... it converts a *disk* to a VHD file. But it doesn't do much about the drivers and such. That's where a proper conversion tool comes into play, like the VMWare converter or the P2V tool that's part of System Center Virtual Machine Manager. Basically, if you've ever taken an Windows system drive, put it into an entirely different box, and tried to turn it on, you know what to expect. A better solution would be to make an image of the XP system on that external drive, do the upgrade to W7, and see if everything works. Unless you overbuilt the XP machine to specs that XP can't handle (more than 4 GB of RAM), there is no need to go to 64 bit W7, and the upgrade path *should* be smooth (if not, you have the system image handy to do an easy revert on). Otherwise, your path to doing a P2V is fairly miserable, involving first the disk conversion and then trying to repair Windows XP to get it to have the right HAL, drivers, etc., and from there, installing the VPC tools. Alternatively, as others have said, just install W7, set up XP Mode. Unless you are working for minimum wage, the time savings will more than pay for the upgraded version of W7. J.Ja

bmalanowsky
bmalanowsky

Yes this will work. I have done this before with the built in WINXP mode in WIn7

Mohammad Oweis
Mohammad Oweis

Microsoft support running Win-XP inside Win7 as VM, but this depends on the version of Win7 you use, this feature called XP-Mode and its only supported with Ultimate and Pro version. So, if you have one of these versions, then yes you can.

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

TechRepublic member borysjn wants to know if Disk2vhd can be used to upgrade a desktop PC from Windows XP to Windows 7. Does this seem logical? Are there any "gotchas" this member should be aware of? If you can help this member, you will earn a free TechRepublic coffee mug.

micheldufrenoy
micheldufrenoy

Your method describes a backup of data files. The user is attempting to save installation of program files/registry settings/configuration changes and the list goes on. To not have to reproduce the latter is a time-saver, albeit you would never want to lose your work. But, could you even reproduce all the settings made to your apps?

micheldufrenoy
micheldufrenoy

Yes, make a disk image (and not a virtual disk image). Always, always, always have a disk image. I recommend (and am not affiliated with) Paragon Software's Hard Disk Manager 2009 Professional Suite or the new Backup & Restore 10 Suite. These include their Virtualization Manager, which can take a disk image, convert it to a virtual disk image, and *inject the drivers necessary to run on the virtual machine.* With this method, you have a solid disk image backup to go back to in case of a problem, the ability to create a virtual disk image from your disk image, and the ability to inject the virtual machine drivers needed. Kill three birds with one (virtual?) stone.

GameOvR
GameOvR

If you go and download Microsoft Virtual PC 2007, you can use the .vhd you converted from the disk. Convert the disk using dsk2vhd, download a copy of Virtual PC 2007 from Microsoft. Put it on some sort of thumbdrive or whatever, wipe the system, Install 7, then Microsoft Virtual PC, copy over the .vhd file where you want it, then run it. You do not need the high end versions of Windows 7 for this. All Windows XP mode is is basically a Virtual PC wrapped in a fancy paper.

dan
dan

Don't forget... Your CPU needs to support Virtualization for XP Mode to work under Windows 7.

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

Unfortunately, TR member borysjn never responded to this thread to let us know if any of your responses were helful. As of 2/12/10, we are closing this question, but if you have further suggestions, please continue to post them to this thread. Thanks to TR members edng, lachgil, larrys2121, victoriab5, acb6401, Gis Bun, Mohammed Oweis, dan, MSFT_AlexT, bmalanowsky, GameOvR, YankDownUnder, J.Ja, toadfritter, micheldufrenoy, and ing_ajaramillo for offering suggestions. To show our appreciation, we'd like to send you all a TechRepublic coffee mug. Please send your mailing address to trol [at] techrepublic.com.

acb6401
acb6401

Using Disk2vhd is a good way of doing this. Just make sure that when you go to start the XP virtual machine that you start it in safe mode. That way you give Windows the chance to recognise the 'hardware' changes that you have made and install the vm client tools. You will likely be required to re-activate Windows due to those changes.

larrys2121
larrys2121

you have to do a clean install of win 7 when loading it on a win xp machine.

edng
edng

Doesn't always work. The main gotchas I found when trying to run the XP image under Win7 Virtual PC: 1. Disk2vhd does the entire drive. Problem if your physical drive is more than 127GB that is supported by VHD. Doesn't matter if your XP is on a smaller paritition. 2. If Disk2vhd throws up an error your stuffed. 3. Incompatible drivers in your XP that Virtual PC doesn't like. I've encountered the endless blue screen and reboot loop myself. I found that using XP Mode provided by Microsoft is simpler if that option is available and you can reinstall your apps.

Justin James
Justin James

Funny you mention that, I was about to review their "Backup & Restore" product, after taking a look at their excellent Partition Manager application. J.Ja