How To Use Windows Virtual PC to Save Your Old Boot Drive



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Michael Ellis

It is trying to get me to reactivate windows and then tells me that my license is invalid. Is there anything I can do?

Never Mind. I figured out that the new version of disk2vhd has a special setup and that you just enter the product key on the error page for the activation.



Virtual PC does work with Windows 7 Pro, there is even a VHD for XPMode which is a 32 bit XP virtual machine.

Also with a large VHD as long as the content doesn't exceed 127GB you can attach to the system, shrink the volume to under 127GB

You can then use VhdResizer to resize the disk to use in a virtual machine.



Alex, thanks for this valuable information on how Windows 7 Professional helps preserve your entire hard disk on another drive as a Virtual Hard Disk. Andrea H. Windows 7 Professional Outreach Team @Win7ProSB



I recently purchased a new pc and have been trying to get this to work without any success; any help would be appreciated.

Reading other forum sites, I think the problem is that I created a virtual disk from my old PC which was running Windows 7 Ulitmate 64 bit. According to other forums, virtual pc can't load a VHD created with a 64 bit OS. Can anyone confirm this?



old pc: Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit

new pc: Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit

I created a VHD from the boot drive of my old pc. The boot drive is 150GB (only about 80GB being used). VHD was greater than 127GB so I resized it with 'vhd resizer' program so it was 110GB. (I also tried to change the partition size of my old boot drive but the VHD was still bigger than 127GB).

On the new pc, I can load the VHD in virtual pc but it goes into an endless loop where I see a 'dos' screen where RAM is checked, then a message (something like) 'windows is loading files', then it goes back to the RAM check, 'windows loading files', etc.

I can access the BIOS setup screen in virtual pc but I can't boot to windows safe mode.


I can attach the VHD as a virtual drive and access all of the files but I'd really like to load it in virtual pc to be able to run my programs until I get around to reinstalling my apps on my new pc.


Please help



It would be great if you can use the VHD as an image (similar to Ghost) to recreate your boot disk on a new, perhaps larger hard drive.  Any way to do this?



It's easier to use Virtualbox to make the VHD and there is no size limit.



Buy a new hard drive....then just slap the old hard drive in your computer after reinstalling the OS and browse to whatever files you need or just drag everything over from the old drive to the new one.???  Then you don't have to go through the above hassle of having a "virtual" hard drive when you've already got the real deal?


The Relic

Well, since the whole point is to do this on the cheap, why buy a new HDD when you can just make a VHD and still have access to your data? Then, when you are sure you have all your data off it, delete it or keep it to test programs on. Either way you have no added expense.



"When you finally make the decision to start fresh with a new OS on a new hard drive, it can be nerve-wracking"

The article starts out with "new OS on a new hard drive" - what part of this did you miss?

Without a second drive, I don't see how you'd do this to begin with. If you wanted to be cheap and use the same hard drive and weren't changing file systems, you could use a Live CD or other boot tool to move everything into a folder - OS and all, depending on your drive size needs. If your drive is too full for that or you're changing file systems, then you definitely need a second drive, making it all moot.

This VHD shit seems more for "I forget how I installed this program" or "I don't have my installation files for this program anymore" or "The new OS won't work with my old program!"



Good stuff!



I'm in the middle of it right now, what are the chances.  Great "How to" and keep up the good work


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