P2V windows 7 dell machine using VMware vCenter Converter

Although using VMware vCenter Converter is normally a breeze. Further, I have converted many Windows 7 machines before and imported them to vSphere without a glitch. I had an interesting task the other day of converting a Dell PC running Windows 7 to a virtual machine running on vSphere 5. The task seemed to me as tedious as converting any windows physical machine to a virtual machine & I have fired VMware vCenter Converter and ran the converting process as usual. One thing that I did not give much attention to was that the Dell PC had some kinda of a recovery partition which has caused the VM not to run properly after the conversion has completed.

As soon the conversion has complete I have noticed it has been completed with an error about the recovery partition failing to be assigned a partition letter. I have decided to ignore the error and run the VM and see what happen. Powering on the VM It did not detect a boot disk and was just trying to boot from the network. This was kinda a bad start, but after fuzzing a bit with VM I have discovered that the Windows partition is not set to a primary partition. What I have done then I have connected the VMDK file for that VM to a Windows 2008 VM(I could have used another Windows 7 VM, but Windows 2008 what was readily available to me), then right clicked the Windows partition on the converted VM and chosen set as primary partition. After that I have shutdown the Windows 2008 VM and removed the Windows 7 disk from it. Then I have powered on the Windows 7 VM and pingo I got the disk detected but now I got the famous error: bootmgr is missing

How to resolve the Windows 7 bootmgr is missing error?

I have decided that I got this far I will not stop and try a normal Windows debugging for such an error and see if that fix it. What I have done is as follow:

1- Reboot the VM from a Windows 7 installation CD

2- Press any key when you see the message “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD …”

3- Select a language, a time and currency, and a keyboard or input method, and then click Next.

4- Click on Repair your Computer

5. In the System Recovery Options dialog box, choose the drive of your Windows installation and click Next.

6. At the System Recovery Options Dialog Box, click on Repair your computer.

7. Click the operating system that you want to repair, and then click Next. In my case I only had one Windows 7 instance installed so that was the only one showing in here.

8. In the System Recovery Options dialog box, click Startup Repair.

After completing the above steps, I got the VM booting but right before the login Windows it has failed with 7B blue screens. Below is how to over come that

How to fix Windows 7 7B blue screen for a converted VM?

Although this worked for me the 7B blue screen could be caused by many reasons that some can not be fixed this way. Though its worth trying if you falling in the same trap.

Let’s see the process of getting the lovely blue screen fixed at least it worked in my case.

1- Go back to your VMware vCenter Converter that you used while converting your Window 7 VM that is giving the 7B blue screen.

2- Hit the Configure Machine on the top of the converter as showing in the above screen shot and right below the file menus.

3- Fill the Source screen with your vCenter information as shown in the screen shot below:

4- Make sure the VM that you want to fix the 7B blue screen is powered off then choose it in the VM to be configured screen as per the screen shot below:

5- Under the Reconfiguration Options make sure the below none defaults options are checked as showing in the below screen shot:

* Customize Guest preferences for the Virtual Machine

* Install VMware tools on the Destination Virtual machine

6- Just hit next on the customization page accepting defaults

7- Accept the info on the summary page and hit finish

After the configuration process completed, I had a fully functional Windows 7 VM. I know these fixes might not work in every case, but though I will still document as they can still help some of you get out of that trap a bit faster than trying without any guidance. If you have any better ideas, then please share them in the comment area below.

P2V Windows 7 using VMware vCenter Converter Additional Tips

The below tips I have obtained through comments, e-mails, & replies on the VMware forums from colleague who had a great tips to add to this article & thought worth sharing.

Tip1 : Make sure you choose the correct scsi-controller during the imaging/converting part specially if IDE disk is involved. The PC I was working with in this scenario was running a SATA drive and the auto selection for the scsi-controller did the job though it seems that it could cause a problem in other cases especially when IDE disks are involved.  (Thanks Continuum for the Tip)

Tip2: Make sure not to select the Recovery Partition during the imaging/converting part as that can save you a lot of the work (Thanks Mandivs for the Tip)

Thanks for every one who provided an extra input to this article & please keep it coming as it only can get better with your input.


  1. Paul Storic says

    In step 5 do you want all the boxes checked or none of them?

  2. Hi Paul,

    You should only leave the OS partition checked, and remove the other drives.


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