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Monday, January 30, 2012

TechOnTap Recap Part A - Brian Lewis

I spent this last Saturday at the TechOnTap v1.1 (Virtualization) in Appleton WI with 30 other colleges from all points Wisconsin and beyond. You can read about it here and Jess Schultz Borland's Blog about it here.  I could not agree with her assessment more.   Perhaps a few better sight lines to see the other participants might have been in order, but for a first try, this was really well done.

Brian Lewis (Blog / Twitter) caused a bit of laptop envy in me (2 i7's and a portable SAN?) and also answered my questions about some HyperV and VHD issues.  In passing, he mentioned a SysInternals Utility called Disk2VHD which you can download free here.   I love SysInternals utilities PMon, ProcessExplorer, the PStools, RegMon, Autoruns, PSkill, and PSShutdown are all tools I use often.

I knew immediately that I needed to get this Disk2VHD utility and give it a go on my main XP sp3 machine.  It is vital to so many things that I do with some legacy software, it will be interesting to see how it runs in a VM.

As with so many SysInternals tools, you can run it from a command line or use the simple GUI that pops up.  It is fairly intuitive, and yet it did not run for me until I fixed a few problems.

Disk2VHD uses Volume Shadow Copy Service VSS, and this needs to be turned on - so I went out and checked this via right-click on My Computer > Manage > Services and found it to be triggered by my first run of the utility, but set to manual.  Just to be sure, I set it to automatic, stopped and restarted it.

Disk2VHD also uses Microsoft Software Shadow Copy so I went through the same steps - and then dutifully rebooted my machine and reran the utility.   Error 12302 shows up in the event log. pfft. "Error Snapshotting Volume" - sometimes it would just flash, fail and disappear.  From the command prompt, it would also fail and stop.  Here is where being familiar with the event viewer is really helpful.  This App writes to the application events, oddly enough.

Que the batman trumpets ->to the google(onBing ...ehem) we go...  A B and C each gave me a piece of the answer.   I had to get the two services going and then go find the offending HKEY_LOCAL_Machine\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\ContenIndex\Catalogs that had a missing location registry entry.  Mine turned out to be a Visio I had uninstalled (apparently only partially).  Removing this allowed the utility to run.

As you can see, I have a C: and a D: disk, the others E: G: and H: were partitions on the USB attached hard drive, and I sent the resultant partitioned VHD to H:  Also, we have progress bar and estimated time of completion. which is good to know.   I have to be somewhere tonight, so I am going to let it run and come back later...

To be Continued....

The first set you see above was an XP with two physical hard drives.  It ran immediately, but I soon noticed that all of the extra stuff I had on it would not work well in a VM and began to uninstall anything that was codec, video, sound production related.   I suppose I could boot to vhd, but why would I want to when I have it in a real machine with two screens?   Good to have a back up if this up and dies though.

My second machine is a PhenomIIx4 based which I am dual booting Windows 7 home edition that came with it, and also Windows 2008r2 Data Center with the HyperV role.  The Windows 7 disk turned out to be 48G; but when I set up the VM to use it, it is throwing the error "Missing Operating System"  Nuts.  Next we'll try booting to VHD with it and see if that works at all.  Otherwise I'll make another attempt at it - the goal is to reclaim the hard drive space that one is taking up, and still be able to boot to it or have the HyperV  VM version of it.

While I was waiting for Disk2VHD to install, I downloaded and set up Windows 8 developer in a VM.  Going to hopefully use this VM as a receiver for SPADE.  Stay Tuned.

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