Thursday, 23 August 2012

Centos 6/RHEL VMware-Workstation import VirtualBox Windows Vista image

With the release of VirtualBox-4.1 it is fairly easy to export an image in the VMDK format to import into VMware-Workstation should the need arise, either through bad planning or simply through a desire to do so.

This tutorial walks through the installation of Windows Vista as an example on VirtualBox, then the cloning and exporting of it into VMware-Workstation in a fully working condition. If you have not yet installed VirtualBox go here for a quick tutorial. It also assumes that you have VMware-Workstation installed somewhere though not necessarily on the same machine. The host operating system is Centos 6 Linux.


The main thing to remember when first installing the guest OS on VirtualBox is to ensure that the hard disk type chosen is the VMDK format, in case the need arises to move it.


The following shows the installation of Windows Vista onto VirtualBox and then the cloning of it into VMware-Workstation.


Installing on VirtualBox - Create Virtual Disk



Open VirtualBox and create new virtual disk


Assign a suitable ram amount

Create a new disk


Select the VMDK box


Select fixed disk 

Select a disk size

Hit 'Create' and wait

After a few minutes your disk will be created and ready to install the operating system. We do this as in the images below.

Be aware that during the installation it is probably best to select full screen mode and you may have to toggle between VM and your computer occasionally with Right Ctrl.

Installing on VirtualBox - Vista Installation

Now open up VirtualBox and click on the newly created machine in the left column to start the first run wizard.

Select the CD/DVD Drive

Double click on the VM (left column) to start the procedure

Go through the install procedure





Until finished and installed

Below is the OS as installed after completing the steps described above.


Windows Vista installed on Virtualbox

Cloning from VirtualBox

Now we are going to clone the Windows Vista VM into a state ready to import into VMware-Workstation.

With your VM shut down but selected in the left panel, go to 'Machine' > 'Clone' remembering to check the
'reinitialise the mac address' box.

Click 'Next' and at the next screen select 'Full Clone', then hit 'clone' and wait.


It takes quite a while to complete, when it does you will have a new clone folder in your VirtualBox VMs directory.

Now copy over the new clone to the VMware directory which should be in your home directory.

Once it has copied over we are ready to start the import.

Importing into VMware-Workstation

Open up VMware and start the New Virtual Machine wizard.

Select advanced options

Leave at defaults


Select install OS later

Select OS type  

Browse to the folder you copied earlier

Select a suitable ram amount

Select network connection

Select hard drive controller

Important: Select use existing disc

Browse to the cloned disk and select it

Select convert to newer format

Click finish and your cloned disk is imported ready to start.


So now your new import will be showing as 'Windows Vista' unless you specified otherwise, hit 'Power on this Virtual Machine'
and let it load up. You will get something resembling the image below.

  Windows Vista cloned from VirtualBox into VMware-Workstation

You can now install VMware tools and finish any drivers etc. The above procedure can be performed on any OS you have installed, not only Windows Vista. 

Check out a similar tutorial using Debian Linux as the guest OS.