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Virtual guests using VHD files for their hard drives do not start when moving from Virtual PC to VirtualBox

April 25, 2011 Leave a comment
  • System Notes: Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 SP1, Oracle VirtualBox 4.0.4

I recently upgraded one of my production workstations, and wanted to move from Microsoft Virtual PC to Oracle VirtualBox, due to the increased horsepower of the new workstation.  In doing this, I had read online about the fact that VirtualBox supported the VHD hard disk files native to Virtual PC guest systems, and that it was a mostly seamless process to move from virtual host to the other.

I had four virtual guest systems that I use for testing to be moved.  Three of them were servers, comprising Windows 2000 Server Standard, Windows Server 2003 Standard, and Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard, and one was a Windows XP SP3 system.

After adding the systems to the new Oracle VirtualBox installation, two of them started and ran normally, and two hung at startup with a blank, black screen, with no indication they were doing anything at all.

The solution to the problem of the two systems hanging at start ended up requiring a conversion of the guest hard drive files from VHD to VDI.  This process was simple to complete using the CloneVDI tool, which is available for download here.  There is a good discussion of this problem and the solution on the VirtualBox forums here.

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Categories: VDI, VHD, Virtual PC, VirtualBox