Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Newbie needs answers to what are probably stupid questions

  1. #1


    Posts : 24
    Windows 8

    Newbie needs answers to what are probably stupid questions


    Hello, I really don't know where to start. I have read extensively on virtualization but the more I read the more confused I get. Please bear with me as I'm sure you will think my questions are quite stupid & I'm sorry but I have a lot of them.

    I have 2 PC's both running dual boot setups. Specifications as follows:

    PC1-dual boot Windows XP and Windows 7 Pro (64bit) with 6 gb ram. XP(32 bit) on 200 gb partition Window 7 on 300 gb partition
    PC2 -dual boot Windows 7 HP (64 bit) and Windows 8 Pro (64 bit) with 6 gb ram.Win7 on 600 gb partition, Win 8 on 400 gb partition. PC2 is my main computer which I use most of the time.


    I have all the applications I use installed in each OS (ie: MS OFC 2010,burning program, cleanup tools, etc) When I set these up I contemplated going virtual but was as confused then as I am now so just went ahead with dual boot which I could understand. Now I would like to attempt a virtual setup using VMPlayer. Would someone please try to clarify some issues for me. Before I start know that I have my dual boot setups backed up with Acronis TI 2013.

    My objective is to establish VMs on both these PCs without having to reinstall the OS so I want to convert the existing OS to a VM.

    Question 1. Is the following correct & in the right order & do any other steps need to be added?


    A: Install VMWare Converter into Windows 8, convert that OS to a virtual file & save it

    to a folder.
    B: Copy the folder I created into Window 7 (the host). Install VMPlayer into Win7 and

    go open the folder

    Question 2. At this point it is my understanding the VM works off the drivers installed within the host. Will I have to do anything from within the VM regarding drivers since I converted the installation rather than did a new install? Will the VM recognize my internal DVD drives or if I use a flash drive will the VM recognize it?


    Question 3. Since I will be using a converted VM file as opposed to one made using Virtual Machine Wizard where I could specify amount of ram or disk size to use with the VM how do I change these allotments?

    C: Edit boot loader to remove Win8


    Question 4. At this point if I can use Win 8 as VM can I safely remove the partition Win8 resides on and reclaim disk space. Since I installed Win7 before I installed Win8 disk space should be consecutive so should be ok.


    Question 5 & 6. If all this proved successful would I do exactly the same thing in PC1 except convert XP and run it as VM in Win7? Since I installed Windows 7 after I installed XP disk space would not be consecutive so I would have to backup once I got VM set up, reformat the hard drive and reinstall from backup to recover disk space. After successful conversion to VM, am I correct in assuming that if I make a full system backup using Acronis from within the host that everything within the guest will be backed up as well?


    Question 7. In VM does Windows Update automatically update the guest even if the guest is not actively running?


    Question 8. I have ordered additional ram for these machines. After I install it how do I reallocate ram being used within the VM or should I have additional ram installed prior to converting to VM? PC1 will be boosted up to 8 gb and PC2 will have 8. Is that enough and what is your allocation recommendation? I can add more if necessary.


    Question 9. If I successfully am able to convert to VMs I will no longer need to have all my applications duplicated will I? For example, if I run CCleaner from within the host it will perform cleanup on the Win8 VM as well won't it or if I run Disk Defrag or Malwarebytes?


    Question 10. I have read about other people who converted active installations into VMs who seemed to have recurring issues with Windows activation. What do I need to do from the get go to make sure I don't have these issues?


    Question 11. After successful conversion to VM, am I correct in assuming that if I make a full system backup using Acronis from within the host that everything within the guest will be backed up as well?


    Question 12. I read that a copy of the VM folder can be put on a flash drive,carried to another PC, and the VM be run from the flash drive. I am assuming that is IF VM player is also installed on that machine as well. Is this correct? Again, my problem understanding the drivers issue bumfuzzles me regarding doing this.

    Question 13. I may be asking for trouble going the conversion route. Would I be better off completely removing the OS I want to convert to VM from each of these PCs and doing a new install as VM within VMPlayer? I've got lots of stuff installed in each of them so a new install would take a very long time.

    I really do apologize that I am so dense that I have to ask so many questions & Iím sure this will turn some of you off from answering my post. Iím usually able to understand most computer issues but this all is confusing as hell to me for some reason. I think I have developed a mental block because I have read too much. Any input to help me get a better grip on this or anything you might want to make me aware of is much appreciated. I know it will take up a lot of your time to field this many questions.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64


    That's a big list!

    As a beginner you should jump right in with the basic stuff without asking too many questions or you'll lose the road and get confused. But don't feel bad because I'll try to help. If you plan in doing this by yourself for the first time: congratulations!
    I'm sure it's feasible.

    I'll do my best to answer where possible but I'm sure others will jump in to help.

    Question 1. Is the following correct & in the right order & do any other steps need to be added?

    A: Install VMWare Converter into Windows 8, convert that OS to a virtual file & save it

    to a folder.
    B: Copy the folder I created into Window 7 (the host). Install VMPlayer into Win7 and

    go open the folder
    YES. it works.
    I've never used Converter but others did successfully: the downside of the conversions is that the VM disks will be big just as the real deal was. See more info here in this thread: Oracle VirtualBox on windows 8 , more in particular Jimbo's post at the end in case the Converter doesn't work.


    Question 2. At this point it is my understanding the VM works off the drivers installed within the host. Will I have to do anything from within the VM regarding drivers since I converted the installation rather than did a new install? Will the VM recognize my internal DVD drives or if I use a flash drive will the VM recognize it?
    You will need to reactivate Windows. All major drivers will be changed during the first startup as a VM, sometimes you can get blue-screens, just reboot again. You will need to install the VM Tools from the Player's menu when the VM is running to add better graphics mouse and many other drivers to improve usability and performance.

    The VM will recognize the internal DVDs and the USB flash drives, no problem. They just need to be added when needed from the top left menu with devices... Player will detect when you insert a USB flash drive.

    Question 3. Since I will be using a converted VM file as opposed to one made using Virtual Machine Wizard where I could specify amount of ram or disk size to use with the VM how do I change these allotments?
    First after conversion, you go to Player and choose "Open a Virtual Machine" then browse to the folder and open the usually blue small file (a VMX file). Then the VM gets added to the list and if you click on it go to "edit virtual machine settings".


    C: Edit boot loader to remove Win8
    On your main OS (you mean Win7) run msconfig.exe and in the boot tab delete the line mentioning Windows 8.

    Question 4. At this point if I can use Win 8 as VM can I safely remove the partition Win8 resides on and reclaim disk space. Since I installed Win7 before I installed Win8 disk space should be consecutive so should be ok.


    YES. Delete Win8 partition (made after msconfig from above is good) from Disk Management and then expand Win7 partition to reclaim all the space.


    Question 5 & 6. If all this proved successful would I do exactly the same thing in PC1 except convert XP and run it as VM in Win7? Since I installed Windows 7 after I installed XP disk space would not be consecutive so I would have to backup once I got VM set up, reformat the hard drive and re-install from backup to recover disk space. After successful conversion to VM, am I correct in assuming that if I make a full system backup using Acronis from within the host that everything within the guest will be backed up as well?

    Most steps are the same and the use of Acronis works everywhere.
    Since you cannot expand the partition backwards (from right to left) in Disk Management you can use EASEUS Partition Master and I've used it and can grow the partition backwards and expand Win7 WITHOUT formatting anything, just delete XP after the conversion is ready. A backup would be wise to do just to be safe for eventual failures but the Partition Master should work fine.
    Acronis should be able to do the partitions as well, I'm not sure.

    Question 7. In VM does Windows Update automatically update the guest even if the guest is not actively running?


    NO. You need the guest on and the update inside of it running (service) and a network connection established between guest and host/internet (default is NAT mode: OK).


    Question 8. I have ordered additional ram for these machines. After I install it how do I reallocate ram being used within the VM or should I have additional ram installed prior to converting to VM? PC1 will be boosted up to 8 gb and PC2 will have 8. Is that enough and what is your allocation recommendation? I can add more if necessary.
    That's OK. More ram is good: 8 is a good choice.
    The conversion can run before or after: not important because you can reassign the specs from the VM settings.
    More than 8GB is not really necessary only if you were running 4 VM's or more at the same time.

    I recommend a max of 4GB (from 8) to Win8 in a VM if the usage is serious. You can start with 2GB to see how it runs.
    Player will recommend itself some sizes and you can inspire yourself from there.


    Question 9. If I successfully am able to convert to VMs I will no longer need to have all my applications duplicated will I? For example, if I run CCleaner from within the host it will perform cleanup on the Win8 VM as well won't it or if I run Disk Defrag or Malwarebytes?
    It's true for most apps. BUT I'll keep CCleaner in the VM's as well: there's a nice trick with the drive wiper that can let you compact the VM disk to regain space on the host. See here:
    Shrink Hard Drive in VMware you'll need this too from time to time.
    The defragmenter is not needed: use Player to defragment the VM drive virtually and use the real defragmenter in Win7 host.
    Malwarebytes can be kept in the VM as well, just in case, if you still go online with the VM.


    Question 10. I have read about other people who converted active installations into VMs who seemed to have recurring issues with Windows activation. What do I need to do from the get go to make sure I don't have these issues?
    As long as you remove the real partition and use only one key in the VM it should let you activate it again, or use phone activation.
    It will be legal because the VM will replace the host partition of the same stuff.
    If nothing works, contact Microsoft and explain the situation and it will get fixed.


    Question 11. After successful conversion to VM, am I correct in assuming that if I make a full system backup using Acronis from within the host that everything within the guest will be backed up as well?
    YES. if the VM files are on the host's partition to be backuped then VM will get backuped as well.


    Question 12. I read that a copy of the VM folder can be put on a flash drive,carried to another PC, and the VM be run from the flash drive. I am assuming that is IF VM player is also installed on that machine as well. Is this correct? Again, my problem understanding the drivers issue bumfuzzles me regarding doing this.


    It works that's true.
    Player installed on both machines: Player provides virtual drivers that are the same on both machines and there are no drivers problems whatsoever.

    This is the VM advantage. You can even install Player on Linux and run you VM from there: same drivers in VM!

    Question 13. I may be asking for trouble going the conversion route. Would I be better off completely removing the OS I want to convert to VM from each of these PCs and doing a new install as VM within VMPlayer? I've got lots of stuff installed in each of them so a new install would take a very long time.


    The conversion itself will take a long time depending of the disk sizes (make sure you got enough space remaining).
    The re-install will also take a long time, for all your programs and settings.

    Stay with the conversions as long as it's possible.
    If the Converter fails (hope not) then you can use Acronis to backup and restore the image directly in a new VM specify the needed settings and sizes for disks to be compatible as good as possible).
    This is user Jimbo's idea from another thread and was already tested: see the first link above to the thread.


    There you have it, the big picture.

    Good luck
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 24
    Windows 8

    You are a gentleman of the highest order, Sir!


    I know I asked a lot of questions for one post but I wanted to make sure I had the flow of things correct in my mind. You have given me very insightful answers to my questions in a language I can understand. I have read and read and not gotten anywhere near the plain answers you gave me. I think I am adventurous enough to try this. If I don't try I can't learn. If I crash and burn I can always go back. Thank you so much for your time.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64


    You're welcome.

    I'm sure you'll do just fine.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Newbie needs answers to what are probably stupid questions
Related Threads
I looked up about a program called "Paragon Migrate OS to SSD 4.0" and what it's said to do is move windows, registry etc to the SSD, and keep all the programs to the HDD I own. So basically, I boot on SSD, All programs on hard drive. So im looking for a program which will put windows on my SSD,...
I had to replace the thermal paste on my CPU recently and I did it myself to save cash. I would like to share a tip no one is talking about. It's something I discovered by trial and error. The Big Debate as some of you will know is - How much paste should you use and what is the best method...
Read more at: You've got Surface Pro 3 questions, I've got answers | ZDNet
Solved Need answers urgently in a day!! in Drivers & Hardware
hi everyone! i have a big question since i have my birthday coming up in a few days i would like to ask my dad to but some RAM as a gift for me. the question is i have 4 slots for RAM on my pc and i would like to add 1 gb more. 2 slots have already been used 1gb + 1gb. should i buy 2x 512 mb ram...
Greetings. My situation. I have a Windows 8 Pro installation working. I have a totally LEGAL cd-key (Upgrade Win 8 Pro from the time it was very cheap). I got an ISO of Windows 8.1 Pro x64 RTM Danish (I'm danish), but I can't install it with my CD-key. I then got an "install" key from a...
I'm sure the is all due to my complete unfamiliarity with Win 8, or maybe it's just old age catching up to me and I have lost a TON of brain cells very rapidly. Nonetheless, I would like to be able to do these tasks. Is it my lack of knowledge, or can you not just simply completely close apps...
Hello to all, Begining to find my way around. Had Ubuntu 64 bits and it appears to me that W8 is noticeably faster. My first two questions are 1. Does sfc /scannow as administrator work properly? I did a check and got some corrupted file, when it finished! The X2 Athlon +6000 chip and 4GB of...
Eight Forums Android App Eight Forums IOS App Follow us on Facebook