Migrating existing XP installation to Parallels?

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by kingfish, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. kingfish


    I bought my MacPro (2 x 3 Ghz, 2 GB RAM) in order finally to move back to Mac from XP using Parallels as the bridge. Problem is, I invested several years and thousands of dollars in software to get my PC more or less where I need.

    Now that Parallels is almost ready for prime time, I need to find a way to migrate my old installation to Parallels. I know how to do this on PC hardware; but how to do it in Parallels? I can strip out all the extraneous drivers from a copy of my PC installation, and make a disk image; but somehow, I have to get this onto a bootable Parallels VM, and then do a repair install from CD. Is this possible? Any hints or thoughts much appreciated.
  2. kingfish


    BTW, I have 2 legal copies of XP Pro, one for old installation, one for Parallels, so no intention to circumvent Microsoft EULA.
  3. bamsaleg



    I wish you luck...
    I have been trying for few weeks to migrate my Virtual PC 7 image to Parallels... No sucess even with Northon Ghost or Acronis full backup solution.

    I gave up today, and started the long process to reinstall everything from scratch. The worse thing is that I will have to wait at the help desk to have one guy authentificate me again in AD! I hate this.

    I really don't know how I will migrate my users from VPC to Parallels in the future machine upgrade cycle.

    Let us know if.how you suceed

  4. kingfish


    Perhaps you can save me time and trouble in going down dead end paths. Here is what I had in mind as a strategy

    1) Make disk image of PC installation using Acronis, copying onto external firewire drive
    2) Mount firewire drive on Macpro
    3) In Parallels, create blank VM of proper size
    4) Mount blank VM as second drive
    5) Mount firewire drive as a network drive in Parallels
    6) Using Acronis, restore disk image from firewire drive onto blank drive
    7) Reboot from XP Install CD
    8) Do a repair installation onto the second drive, now containing a copy of my original installation
    9) Set Parallels to boot from second drive by default

    Did you do something like this? Where did the process fail?

    My other strategy was to ghost over a full copy of the working PC installation onto the external drive, and ghost back to blank parallels VM mounted as a second drive. Did you try this approach?

    I know this is going to take hours, and I would like to have the benefit of as much experience and wisdom as possible before launching off into it.
  5. Rachel Faith

    Rachel Faith

    I too would like to see some way to make it at least easier to just mount or install or partition copy over existing images of existing complete HDs without having to reinstall everything. I have at least 200 programs on my primary XP machine and I dread the thought of the days it will take to install them all again, many of which were downloaded little freebie or shareware aps that are not even available anymore. I know we are a LONG way from drag and drop, but anything to streamline the process is appreciated.
  6. pastrychef


  7. bamsaleg


    I followed exactly your steps...

    It looks like the windows repair did not suceed... maybe because the VirtualPC emulated hardware is so different from the Parallels configuration???

    So basically the restored HD could not boot...

    But again, I am not a experienced Win user, so I may have not been able to properly used the win repair console, etc...
  8. jimmcslim


    Am trying to do this too, using G4U


    I am attempting to port over an image of a Windows XP installation running on a Dell Latitude D600 to a Parallels Desktop VM. I am attempting to do this using the open-source G4U.

    I don't have any problems creating the image file, and with the latest RC of Parallels the G4U running in the virtual environment appears to work, apart from some interesting warnings that appear during the process, see this screenshot g4u-screen-in-parallels3.jpg . It eventually completes (as G4U create a brute force bit-by-bit HDD image, rather than a filesystem aware image the images are quite big), and doesn't suggest that anything is wrong. However when I try to reboot the VM from the new XP partition, the screen stays black. Rebooting the VM brings up the XP 'failed shutdown' menu, none of the options work (ie. Last Known Good Configuration, Safe Mode, etc) although attempting Safe Mode does cause XP to write a list of filenames to the console (see here g4u-screen-in-parallels-bad-boot1.jpg ).

    It would be great if this would work!
  9. jnevik


    FYI: My procedures. Might save everybody some time.

    I had a Toshiba Tablet with Windows XP Pro on it.

    1)Moving to Parallels VM:
    -Move operation into parallels VM worked, but system will not boot (eg. safeboot stops just after listing all boot files and CPU usage continues at 100% forever).
    -Tried the windows repair from CD and same thing as above 100% cpu upon booting.

    NOTE: Linux Text based installs also seem to have problems with parallels (display characters are same colour as background; eg. can't read anything).

    NOTE 2: Purchased a new Dell CoreDuo notebook and moved image to Dell. Same thing Dell would not boot.

    2)Installed Bootcamp on the Mac. Installed VMware. Copied Acronis image into VMware and everything works like a charm.

    So either Parallels will change their hardware emulation or we have to wait for VMware for the mac.
  10. kingfish


    Another approach

    The LapLink product looks promising, although it has received very mixed reviews. The advantage is that it runs within a working install of Windows, so there should be fewer hardware incompatibilities. I may spring for it and try it. LapLink claims it works for Parallels users.

    I also came across another approach that also relies upon a working installation. You can see it here:


    This one relies upon ntbackup.exe, a utility included within XP. You do a full backup, then boot windows on the target machine, and then do a full restore. If that fails, you can then do an upgrade or a repair install to reconcile HAL's and other pesky things and force a "renumeration" of the hardware. In fact, I strongly suspect that it may be the HAL that is causing problems.

    Any chance that the valiant and overworked Parallels staff could weigh in here and make some recommendations? It certainly would seem that the ability to migrate a working XP installation would be a major selling point, even if it required third party products.
  11. kingfish



    Holy s**t! I just successfully migrated my very complicated XP installation, containing an accumulation of software and utilities over several years' time. In fact, I am writing from within that new installation.

    Here is how I did it:

    1) Download and install Acronis Workstation 9.1 trial version onto source PC from:


    2) Full backup of PC installation onto external firewire drive
    3) Create new blank hard drive under Parallels--non expanding. Wait a long time
    4) Boot Parallels, format new drive, verify that it mounts correctly. Download another copy of Acronis Workstation, and install.
    5) In OSX, copy Acronis backup file from external drive into shared directory
    6) Back in Parallels, copy from shared directory into My Documents
    7) Run Acronis within Parallels. Restore entire backup file onto blank disk (this involves a reboot but goes quite fast)
    8) Shut down Parallels, edit configuration to point to newly restored drive as HD1, and specify CD as first device in boot order
    9) Insert XP install disk in CD drive
    10) Restart Parallels
    11) Do repair installation (NB: DO NOT TRY SIMPLY TO BOOT--Machine will crash) from CD
    12) Wait while Windows does its thing. This requires one reboot. After that process completes, reboot again, but do not boot from CD. Instead boot from HD
    13) Installation process completes
    14) Reactivate XP by phone (took 3 minutes)
    15) Wipe sweat off brow

    Note: According to Acronis, there is a migration plugin for the workstation version that might simplify this process, but it costs $29. Since I was working only with the trail version, the software was free. But it will expire in 15 days. I have to tell you that Acronis seems pretty fool proof.

    Also, the migration product from LapLink might work, but I was too lazy to go buy it and fiddle with transferring 36GB over USB 1.1.

    I probably have too much crap in this system, as it runs very slowly compared to my previous install, which was much simpler. But al least I have everything running, and all my files intact.

    Bravo, Parallels!
  12. constant



    Well done. Could you please copy this post into the "how to" forum.


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