Virtualization is a friend.  Sadistic; but still a friend.

A user received a nice new laptop with Windows 7 enterprise. He made a formal request to turn his old laptop which ran XP into a VM in order to retain an old copy of Frame and a couple old web development tools. I discussed the benefits of upgrading software and using the better laptop or possibly using XP mode.   This was not possible as the application installers were lost and the vendors would not provide replacements.

Since these old applications were only going to be used from time to time; it was decided to use the VMware vCenter Converter to convert the old laptop to a VMware Player virtual machine.

Of course after I explained the plan; the user announced the laptop had possible hardware issues and the disk drive might have corruption problems.

I retrieved the old laptop and found it was dead. The display was black and nothing would display on an external monitor.  The laptop was an old Dell620 and I looked around for another one and was lucky to find on in the loaner pool.  But of course; I was told it was blue screening. “No Problem” I thought.  I am only going to swap the drives.

Drives were swapped and problems appeared right away. Com+ gave errors and winlogon.exe would occasionally fail. I ran a chkdisk but the problems remained.   I ran sfc /scannow and the system would reboot.

Maybe I could get lucky by running the converter and simply run an OS repair on the VM. The converter process failed at 1%.

I ran an OS repair but the converter again failed at 1%.

Next, I would try installing the converter on the laptop but again 1% with a BSOD.

Since we were licensed users of ESX; I decided to try the cold converter for vCenter.  It made it to about 17% and died.

Many of these events required a powercyle which of course caused a chkdsk run.   The run time was longer then normal. Sign of a drive with problems. I tried a low level chkdsk from the recovery console but a couple runs showed the same three repairs would happen.  I also noticed the volume shadow service had failed which explained why the converter failed.

I tried one more OS repair and ended up with a looping repair process. It would start; get past the configuration section and then it would explode and restart.

As I was trying to resolve this problem, I finally received a BSOD with 0x0000007e.  Bad Memory! I traded the memory between the laptops and the OS repair process completed.

I decided to use the cold converter again and this time it ran to completion!

I now had a working VM.

I did a cleanup of old drivers, applications no longer needed, and a couple runs of SFC and chkdisk.

VM was ready for a grateful user.