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P2V/V2V checklist

Download the free ultimative P2V checklist as PDF here.

I'm a big fan of checklists. Checklists help you not to forget anything important in certain situation. P2V conversion stands for physical to virtual conversion and refers to the conversion of an existing physical server into a virtual server. V2V conversion stands for virtual to virtual conversion and refers to the conversion of an existing virtual servers in a technology A (eg VMware) in a virtual server technology B (eg. Hyper-V). The procedure can be quite complex and so here is my checklist.

Focus of the checklist is on Hyper-V but the list may be a help on a VMware conversion to.

Make documentation of the existing server

  • Date and time of the migration is announced and all affected users know it?
  • Do you have physical access to the server?
  • Do you know an application tester? Important, if the converted server hosts applications, which you do not know how to handle, for example an ERP.

Prepare / check host

  • Check the eventlog of the server to make sure, that there are no serious problems on the server.
  • Host should have all the necessary tools, such as ISOs of the operating systems, partitioning tools...
  • License code known? After the conversion, windows and other software may need to be re-activated.
  • Virtualization is supported by application manufacturer? If special software is present on the server, obtain approval by the manufacturer. You may save yourself a lot of trouble and you won't hear slogans like this: "The error is because you have virtualized our poor little server..."
  • Does your application need a new license? Maybe dependent of the hardware? Then you should avoid the VM in the cluster to migrate.
  • Are there any USB dongles? Then you may need USB servers (eg Silex to work because USB can not be passed through USB in a Hyper-V).
  • Service pack level: Especially with Windows Server 2003, this is important. To install the integration services service pack 2 is needed. If you forget this, you have no mouse service after the conversion on Hyper-V. Only after installing the integration services, the mouse works remote.

Network settings documentation

  • Hostname:
  • IP:
  • Netmask:
  • Gateway:
  • DNS 1:
  • DNS 2:
  • Special TCP/IP settings:
  • WINS:

Storage layout documentation

  • What partitions are available?
  • How big are the partitions?
  • Which drives are available?
  • How big are the drives?
  • Which partitions are on which drives
  • Is there enough space on the origin server? If not you should consider to fix it with the conversion.
  • How should the new disk layout look like?

Shares dcoumentation

  • Which shares are available?
  • Which permissions are set?

Prepare the server

  • Take Server from the monitoring (if you have any)
  • CHKDSK on all partitions
  • Restart it - should work without problems?
  • Stop SQL server services and set startup type to manual - document services
  • Stop WSUS server services and set startup type to manual - document services
  • Stop Exchange services and set startup type to manual - document services
  • Stop SMTP services and set startup type to manual - document services. Converted server may only receive mails after the correct function of the new server is ensured.
  • Search for other critical services. These are especially services that constantly access data (eg. database services) and therefore further data can be changed during the migration on the old server. Stop this services and set startup type to nanual - document services
  • If possible, disable external access to the server.

P2V (V2V)

Here is the real P2V / V2V process. If you do not have a special tool, you may use: disk2vhd - Download here or Citrix Xen Convert - Download here.


Sometimes confusing is that disk2vhd exactly reflects the partition layout. A VHD per disc is created. If partition 1 has C and D, and you choose C in disk2vhd, then you get a VHD file that contains C and an empty D. The VHD type is dynamic all the time.

Citrix Xen Convert

This tool is quite good for Hyper-V because the VHD format is the same used by Citrix XEN server. This tool always confused me with the message "drive ... needs to be formatted, OK?". Background here is that initially a VHD file will be mounted with the correct size and Xen Convert copies the source in this newly mounted destination drive. The VHD type is dynamic all the time.

Test the virtualized server

  • Create suitable VM, attach VHD, do not connect the network
  • If necessary, adjust partitions:
    If the old system had problems with the space, it is now the right moment to make adjustments.
    The VHD size is increased easiest in the appropriate wizard in Hyper-V Manager. For reducing there is a tool named reduction VHD Resizer.
    To adjust the partition within the operating system, you can either use the on-board tools from Windows Server 2008 or higher or an Acronis Disk Director boot Boot CD in older systems. I used to make a copy from the initial VHD before such actions. If something went wrong, you do not have to redo the whole P2V process.
  • VM boot (Note: For non-connected network, the computer will have a long pause at "network connections are checked")
  • Install Integration Services
  • Check the event log for anomalies.
  • Check and adjust partition and volume-size
  • Set Environment variable "devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices = 1" and show hidden devices in device manager. Uninstall no longer existing NICs. It is also useful to uninstall other no longer existing devices, but you will need a long time for this.
  • Set or correct network settings (lik the origin server).
  • Uninstall relevant hardware system tools (eg. HP Insight Agents).
  • Restart again
  • All Services OK?
  • Shares OK?
  • Test functioniality of the server.
  • Shutdown old server (now there is the most exciting moment ;-)
  • Shutdown VM, connect the network card in the VM to the outside and start your new virtual server.
  • Retest the server once again.
  • Call application tester an ask him to test all relevant applications (if necessary).
  • If successful, take the original machinery permanently offline.
  • If necessary, activate operating system license and all other licenses.
  • Check the backup and imaging of the VM.
  • Check the start and shutdown options for the VM. The VM should automatically start with the host and be shut down before the host shuts down after a short delay.
  • Take server into monitoring again.

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