Exporting physical Linux hard disk to a Virtual Machine

Shutdown and remove the hard disk, then connect to a separate PC with VirtualBox (virtualbox-ose) installed.

  • Take a ‘dd’ copy of the hard disk, eg: dd if=/dev/sdb of=filename.img
    (warning this may take a while and requires enough free disk space to hold a copy of the entire hard disk being cloned)
  • After the image has been successfully created, convert it to an image suitable for VMWare or VirtualBox using the command:
    vboxmanage convertfromraw filename.img -format VMDK filename.vmdk
  • This can be imported into VirtualBox by creating a new (Linux/Other Linux) Virtual Machine and “Use existing hard drive”. Click the browse button to go to the Virtual Media Manager, click ‘Add’ and select the VMDK file created in the previous step.

The virtual machine should now be ready to run in VirtualBox.
To import into VMWare, create a new virtual machine and virtual hard disk. Overwrite the new Virtual Hard disk by copying the VMDK file created earlier, into its place.

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