VMware: Physical to Virtual Conversion – All I need to do is a P2V right?

Wrong…. Many people think that after you do a successful Physical-to-Virtual Conversion that’s all you need to do is power on the server/desktop. Well if you ever power on the server/desktop you will notice it will ask to reboot as soon as it loads into Windows. This is because it has loaded new drivers since it’s no longer using the physical hardware, you may be like so what it’s working!

Well two things; 1) the old drivers especially the network drivers can cause a duplicate mac address issue and cause network address confliction, and 2) the none used drivers from the physical box will be taking up memory and will rob the server/desktop of precious resources and efficiency. Lastly it’s very important that you ALWAYS install VM tools after a successfully P2V for the VM to work properly.

Now some of you may be like well now how do I access the old drives in device manager there appears to be only present drivers. Your correct, the old drivers are hidden and you will need to enable a special environmental variable to make them seen. You can enable this variable in two ways, however I’m just going to do once since it’s the easiest.

Do the following steps:

1. Go to ‘Run’ or ‘Windows Search bar’ on the Start bar and type ‘cmd‘.

2. When command prompt opens type the following command: ‘set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1‘ and press enter.

3. Then type the following command to open Device Manager: ‘devmgmt.msc‘, once it open’s press ‘View’ at the top of the Device Manager press the selected ‘Show Hidden Devices’.

4. Now for the painful process, you need to go through each section and manually delete every old driver that is transparent or ghosted out.

5. Go to Start > Control Panel > Programs and Feature (or Add and Remove) and remove all old hardware specific software that is no longer needed, the items to remove should be obvious like if the server is a Dell anything with Dell in the title can be removed and/or any video drivers, RAID software, etc.

6. As mentioned above but if it wasn’t done install VM Tools to the VM so the VM works correctly.

7. Install CCleaner and then run the cleaner on the server/desktop, you can run the registry cleaner at your own risk, this will clean-up temporary files from the server/desktop.

8. Once your done with all these processes reboot the server/desktop.


Following the above steps will ensure your server/desktop is running at it’s optimal performance. Refer to my Group Policy Performance page for steps to further reduce your memory requirements of Windows safely and provide even more system stability and performance.