Saturday, January 12, 2008

p2v is cool

Enough about Quicken and finances for now. Time to talk about something geeky that I did recently that solved a real problem.

My laptop died over the holiday after 3 years of abuse from me. The timing was not bad, there were some great laptop deals floating around. I finally settled on a Toshiba with Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium pre-installed. My first reaction was to reformat and install XP Pro right away. However, I decided to give Vista a chance before blowing it to bit heaven. My dilemma is now how do I migrate all my applications to Vista when most of the applications were not compatible or untested. Then I came across VMware Converter and VMware Player. The idea is so simple it seems far fetched. I will convert my old laptop physical image to a virtual image then run it inside Vista as a guest OS. At least that was the theory. I was not expecting it to work.

To my great surprise, just about everything worked liked a charm! I borrowed a laptop from a friend, swapped in the my hard drive and booted up. Then I installed VMware Converter my desktop computer, and pointed it to the laptop. The converter worked its magic over the network which took about 4 hrs and created a 30 gig image file. In the meantime, I installed VMware Player on Vista. I copied over the guest OS image on to the new laptop. It boots up and I'm in. It was amazing! It just worked, no configuration, no additional setup, no tweaking, nothing! It just boots. Now, I have my old laptop running inside my new laptop. I used bridged networking for the guest OS. Basically, I have two laptops running off a single hardware. I spend the next few hours testing network connectivity, various applications, etc. I only run into one issue. QuickBook didn't like the change over. The licensing data was lost and wouldn't run. Some kind of copy protection data got lost in the conversion.

I has been running this setup up for about 3 weeks now. Vista has found its place so I will keep it around. The guest OS is running great with only a minor performance hit. I need to upgrade my laptop's hard drive to 7200 rpm to get better performance.

Technology that works. Gotta love that!

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