Thursday, January 19, 2012

Windows xp to vhd pain

I have been converting to a new workstation and to avoid some of the trauma wanted to convert my old system to a VHD so I could run it a bit longer in a VM.  Seemed possible and sounded like a good idea....

Firstly, my experience with vhd's and vms was fairly basic.... I had created a couple and played with various OS's using VirtualBox and VirtualPC2007 but never really needed to use them (as the old PC was struggling anyway...)

So I started by pulling the hard drive from my old case and plugging it into the new one as a second drive. No problem.  Then used Disk2vhd to capture a VHD image from the system partition.  (98GB later...), created a virtual machine in VPC2007 and tried to boot it.  ...tada.... doh!  Lockup.

Go into safe mode..... locks at Mup.sys.  (I have been here before with various boxes so I thought it probably had something to do with the HAL and the change in hardware or a bad driver...) easy enough.

Break out the winXP installation disk to try to get Recovery Console up and running... (unfortunatly the disk was created using nLite so the recovery console had been stripped out... damit.) ... ok, scrounged through the box of CD's and found a winXP SP2 disk and was back on track... Boot from CD in the VM, go to recovery console... read a couple of pages on line.... try a couple of the suggestions ( bad boot sector so run fixmbr and fixboot, run chkdsk and get a weird response.... run diskpart (xp generation of diskpart) and see it choke to death ) After these changes the whole partition became unbootable and I learned more fully about undo disks on VM's.  "This volume does not contain a recognised file system" etc etc lots of general badness.  Ok, maybe this is more than I thought.

Create a whole fresh VHD (and a copy of it this time...) and start again.

Try to install a fresh xp system over the top of the old one.... "Current Installation is too damaged or full to install... blah blah" thats no help.  Just wants to format the disk  seems to think the file system is unknown. 

Boot using winPE and check with a more current version of diskpart, it finds the disk and the volume but canot figure the file system.  Thinks its a RAW fs.  Thats not right ... or good.

More reading online. This post on why xp cant be booted as aVHD  gave me some hints about the why and some hints about a maybe solution.  Somehow the HAL and the boot loader in winXP were not happy... kind of confirmed what I had been seeing.  However, the bootloader in my vhd's seemed fine.  It was just when windows tried to play with the partion and mount the file system it all went to hell.

There were hints that the disk2vhd tool or VPC2007 could somehow fool the system and patch it.  So I rebuilt the old machine and ran disk2vhd in the active session and there was a new little check box that said something like "Prepare vhd for use in VM"... I checked it and let it build the vhd over night.

So after all that... move it all back to the new machine and run up a VM using the new vhd. (Number 4 so far) ....

The bootloader has been obviously changed, and now has a new option "Disk2vhd Microsoft Windows XP Professional" and the normal "Microsoft Windows XP Professional" option.

Booting to the "Microsoft Windows XP Professional" option results in the same failure at Mup.sys. While booting to the new shiny option seems to get a bit further but now it bluescreens with "UNMOUNTABLE_ BOOT_VOLUME".  Damit.

So where too now....

Honestly I think I'm stuffed.  The only options I can see are either try to copy files into a freshly built XP VM or conversly copy files from a freshly built XP VM to try to path this one. by mounting both VHD's in the one VM.... Or ????

I have spent about as long as I can trying to get this sorted... I may have to move on to other things.

One other detail I have not explored is the fixed size vs dynamically expanding VHD.  It may be possible to convert the VHD to something that will be able to be mounted correctly.

Interestingly when I try to add the VHD I created using Disk2vhd without the little checkbox being ticked ( I'm sure the option was not availible at the time) anyway... when I add it as a second hard drive its still mounting as unformatted and unreadable, so perhaps there is something even more fundamentally broken.  It's still 98GB in size so that may be a factor..

Also I have just checked the one created using the magic check box and its comming up as unreadable and XP wants to format it. WTF?

No comments:

Post a Comment