I was visiting my in-laws last week and had recommended they get a new system.
The current one was from 2004 (maybe 2005), had the memory maxed out, and had no real life left in it. On top of that XP support ends next year.
My FiL ended up buying a new ASUS laptop, non-touch screen, which comes with Windows 8. I love the man but he barely got by on XP.
I knew there were some programs that he uses regularly that he might not have the installers for, if they even work under Windows 8 at all, so I decided to Physical to Virtual (P2V) his system, and it's completely free! (Or at least nearly free if you don't have the external drive...)
Here's what you need:
An external or second drive that doesn't contain any system data. In my case I used a 500 GB external drive they had to store old files.VMware Standalone ConverterVMware Player
For the two VMware applications you'll need an account. Signing up is free though.
Install VMware Standalone Converter with the default options. Once installed start the application and choose Convert Machine in the upper left hand corner:
Leave the machine type as Powered-On Machine and select This Local Machine:
For your destination select VMware Workstation or Other VMware Virtual Machine from the first dropdown box, then VMware Player 5.0.x from the second dropdown box:
Select where you want to save the file on your external or secondary drive. You can even select a network share if you have the correct resources.
This will take a while to convert the machine. The bigger the source drive and the more space currently used while take longer.
Once the conversion is finished there will be two files; a .VMDK file, which is the actual drive, and a .VMX file, which is the information about the virtual machine.
Copy those two files to your new system. In the case of my FiL's computer I created a new drive on the root of C: and called it VM.
Now install VMware Player. I left Check for updates on startup checked, and unchecked Help improve VMware Player.
Open the newly created VM by selecting Open a Virtual Machine on the right side:
Once the VM has been imported into VMware Player you can then edit your settings from there.
I won't go in depth about settings, as you can find plenty of information. In my FiL's case I removed his Serial, Parallel, and Floppy Disk from his VM, and just left the network type as NAT.
The one other thing I decided to was creating a new folder on his system and shared it with the VM. That way if he needs to dump any output to the Windows 8 OS he can do that easily.
Please let me know if you have any questions or ideas for improvements in this guide.