Converting physical Windows XP system to virtual system using virtualbox

Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft as of April, 2014. Most people will be upgrading their computer to Windows 7 or Windows 8. However there are some mission critical system that needs to run Windows XP, for those computers, you can virtualize them using VirtualBox and maintain them separately as a VM. Here’s the steps I took to convert the physical system to virtual system.

1. Convert the physical system to virtual system. I used Disk2vhd utility by sysinternal. You run this utility on the physical Windows XP machine. Make sure to uncheck use Vhdx option.


2. Download Virtualbox and install on the Windows 7/8 system. Before I create a new machine, I like to change the Default Machine Folder. By default the machine information are stored in the individual user folder. I change them to c:\VirtualBox so all users will see the virtual machine no matter who they are logged in as. Go to File –> Preferences –> General to change the Default Machine Folder option. You will also need to add an environment variable (System Variable) VBOX_USER_HOME with the value c:\VirtualBox, so all users can have access to the VM.


3. Create a new VM. When it asks for the Hard Drive, you choose Use an existing virtual hard drive file option. Then you browse and look for the vhd file you created on step 1.

4. Start the machine. You now have virtual copy of the physical system.


1. When the Windows boots, your system shows blue screen of death and reboots.

If you start the Windows in a safe mode you are able to start the Windows. In my case, it was a aksfridge.sys file that was causing the blue screen. Start the Windows XP in safe mode (F8 before the Windows boots). Go to registry and delete any reference that has aksfridge. There are trees that cannot be deleted, you need to only delete any references that you are able to delete and do not worry about the trees that you cannot delete.

2. When the system boots, it asks for activation

If none of your existing product keys work, you will need to re-install the Windows. Insert the Windows XP CD and run the installation procedure. When you see the Welcome to Setup screen, press ENTER to choose the Wincdows XP now option. On the next screen, after the system has found the Windows installation on the c:\windows folder, you must choose the Repair option by pressing R key.




After you do the repair installaion, you can activate the Windows using your own product key. You will need to run all the service pack and updates after the repair installation is done. The repair installation will reinstall windows, but leave the settings and installed programs alone.



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