This guide will instruct you on converting a Windows 7 Professional OEM Physical Machine into a Virtual Machine using VMware vCentre Converter. The advantage of this is you retain all files, programs and settings after converting the physical machine to the virtual machine. For Product Activation we will port through a SLIC Version of 2.1 from the host PC to the VM and use this to activate the VM. In this guide we will use OEM Downgrade Rights and therefore need a host PC (new Dell, Lenovo, HP PC) with a Windows 10 Pro OEM License. The original PC (old PC) being converted should have a Windows 7 Pro OEM License. In my case both PCs will be Dell Models.
I Haven’t tested other OEMs but you can click See More for additional notes.
There are different reasons for using a Virtual Machine. One of the reasons is just to run Legacy Software. Although most Legacy Software/Drivers designed for Windows 7 will run on Windows 10, not everything does. If you have the setup files for your software you can copy then over to the VM and install your legacy software.
The software used above is an Epson V33 scanner which has a USB port, this has updated driver software for Windows 10 64 Bit but we will pretend it doesn’t have updated driver software and connect to it through a VM via virtualisation. I want to run Windows 7 64 Bit on a Windows 10 64 Bit host and connect to the scanner using a USB Port. This is pretty easy to do. However if you are doing this with a more sophisticated scientific instrument for instance your life may not be so simple… Software may also be on a CD/DVD drive and may require the CD to be present in an optical drive to launch the setup. The software may also have a protection USB that needs to be connected to the VM in order for the software to launch. Your hardware may also use Serial Ports. Your specialised hardware may need access to a Bootable Floppy Disc. I will first list some useful USB adaptors if you are trying to connect to legacy hardware.
USB CD/DVD Drives
If your software is on a CD/DVD you may however have an issue because the host PC you wish to virtualise your VM on does not have a CD/DVD drive. Firstly if you have an old computer with a CD/DVD drive then you should use WinImage to convert your CD/DVD to an ISO which can subsequently be loaded as a Virtual Drive in the VM. For more details see WinImage and Connecting to Legacy Hardware. If you do not have a CD/DVD drive then you’ll need a CD/DVD to USB one. I recommend the following (please use the affiliate links to help fund my guides).
You may have even older software… and require a floppy drive. Firstly if you have an old computer with the Floppy drive then you should use WinImage to convert your Floppy Discs to a FLP file which can subsequently be loaded as a Virtual Drive in the VM. For more details see WinImage and Connecting to Legacy Hardware. If you do not have a Floppy drive then you’ll need a USB one. The most highly rated virtual USB to floppy drive is the Esynic one. Note if you are needing a floppy drive to use as a boot drive. I recommend the following (please use the affiliate links to help fund my guides).
The next is if you are wanting to interface to some legacy hardware. If the hardware has a USB port, then most modern computers have USB ports and with VMware player you can readily connect to legacy devices over USB.
If your computer is brand new and only has USB Type-C connectors then you may need a USB Type C to USB adaptor. I used these on my XPS 13 9365 (please use the affiliate links to help fund my guides).
For Serial Ports I’ve found the following by plugable to be the most useful and have tested them on several legacy scientific instruments in the lab. The following are affiliate links to Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. No driver is required for the Windows 10 Host by the Windows XP guest will require the driver listed here.
Download Links for VMware
VMware vCentre Converter can be downloaded for free from VMware however you will need to make an online account to access the download:
You will also need VMware player:
Looking at the Old PCs OEM License
For this to work the original PC must be activated using OEM System Locked Preinstallation. Press [Windows] and [ r ] to bring up run… and type in msinfo32 and press [Enter]
Check your OS Name, it should be Windows 7 Professional and your OEM, in this case Dell. For a Windows 7 Pro OEM License the SMBIOS version should be 2.6-2.8.
If it is 2.4-2.5 then it means your system is a Windows Vista system.
Right click computer and select properties
Windows should be activated and it should contain OEM-899 for a system activated with OEM SLP.
OEM Licenses activate using OEM System Locked Preinstallation. For this the hardware contains a System License Internal Code of 2.1. It can be checked with RWEverything Portable:
Download and extract. Open the extracted folder:
Select the Rw.exe
Accept the User Account Control prompt:
Select Access then ACPI Tables:
Select the SLIC tab and scroll down. You should see version 2.1 and the OEM, in this case Dell.
Note the SLIC version must be 2.1 for Windows 7. It is 2.0 for Vista and 1 for XP.
Note you do not have a SLIC tab your system is not licensed to run Windows 7 OEM. In this case your license is likely retail and the Product ID from above does not contain OEM or it is a system builder OEM license which will not have 899 in
Using VMware Converter to Convert a Physical PC into a VM
You will need:
- An external hard drive larger than the size of your Windows 7 Installation
- VMware vCentre Converter
Insert your external hard drive into the Windows 7 PC you wish to convert. Launch the VMware converter setup.
Accept the User Account Control Prompt:
The setup will begin:
Accept the license agreement and select next:
Select local installation and select next again:
Finally select install:
Select Finish and leave the box checked to launch the program:
The program will now launch:
Select Convert Machine:
Select Source type, Powered On:
Change to “This Local Machine”:
You can view the source details:
Select close after viewing the Machine Details:
Change the Destination type:
To VMware Workstation or other VMware virtual machine:
Now select Browse:
Find your External Hard Drive:
Make a new folder and select OK:
In the next screen you may see some warnings. In my case my RAM is at 7 GB… This is a warning in case the VM takes all the RAM from the new host PC (crippling performance).
- I will change this to the recommended setting of 2 GB (2048 MB):
Since I have no other error messages I will select Next:
Now I can select Finish:
It may take several hours to convert your physical PC to the VM depending on the size of your installation and the performance of your hardware:
When it’s done it will say completed:
Here is my files, this is done on a modern computer with a clean installation with very few user files or additional software. Yours will likely be much larger:
Looking at your New PCs OEM License
On my new PC I am going to press [Windows] and [ r ] to launch the run… Typing in msinfo32 and pressing [Enter]
Will take me to system information. In my case I see that it is has a Windows 10 pro OEM License, it is a Dell and is modern having a SMBIOS version of 3.1 and an 8th generation i7 processor:
Launching RWEverything and selcting Access then ACPI tables:
I can see a SLIC and this SLIC is version 2.1 and is for Dell:
Passing Through the SLIC to the VM
It is recommended to copy your VM onto an internal SSD for best performance. Also this way you always have a backup on your external HDD that is untouched to fall back onto. I will use my D:\ Drive.
Now that it’s copied over I can look at it’s contents:
The SLIC isn’t passed through the VM by default. To add the SLIC to the VM we need to open the Virtual Machines Configuration File and tell it to pass the SLIC through. To do this right click it and select Open with Notepad:
Copy and paste the following three lines to the bottom of the file and then select File then Save:
acpi.passthru.slic = "TRUE"
acpi.passthru.slicvendor = "TRUE"
SMBIOS.reflecthost = "TRUE"
Launching the Virtual Machine
This time Open the VM with VMware Player:
The VM will now launch:
VMware will also tell you the magic keyboard shortcut keys. [Ctrl] + [g] to take your mouse to the VM:
And [Ctrl] + [Alt] to take your mouse away from the VM.
It will spend some time installing drivers, leave it 5-10 mins to do this. Ignore warning about missing network adapters or graphics cards:
You can now see how it is progressing with the driver install:
In most cases the system already has the drivers so they will install automatically. The base system device should fail to install and 3 more it will search Windows Update for. We will need to install these drivers from VMware.
Select Manage and Install VMware Tools… If it is greyed out like in my case, it is because you have no Virtual Optical Drive. We can change the VM settings to add this:
Shut down the VM:
If VMware player is open, you may need to close it and relaunch it for your VM to display in the list. Select your VM:
Select CD/DVD Drive and select Finish:
You may get a cannot connect virtual device. Do you want to try and connect it every time you power on the virtual machine error message. Select No:
The VM should boot:
It may install more drivers from the last reboot and for the virtual optical drive:
You can expand the found new hardware box:
All the Devices it’s found should be ready to use:
Right click Computer and select Properties:
Select Device Manager:
Here are the three unknown devices. The drivers for these should be in VMware tools:
Select Manage and then Install VMware Tools:
VMware tools should autoplay. If not go to computer, look at the optical drive and launch the setup64.exe:
Accept the User Account Control Prompt:
The Installation should begin:
Select typical and then select next:
VMware tools will begin to install:
Select yes to restart the VM:
Your VM will now reboot:
You can now maximise your VM and it will expand to fit the screen:
Right Click Computer and Select Properties:
Note that Windows 7 is Activated Using OEM SLP:
If you launch RWEverything and select Access and then ACPI Tables, you should see a SLIC tab, in this case a Dell SLIC of version 2.1:
If you now select Device Manager you should now see no unknown devices:
In my case the Intel Proset utility which comes with the Intel Wireless Card Driver nags that it can’t find a WiFi adapter when launched. Some graphics utilities may also nag. These are best uninstalled as we are using the Virtual Hardware instead. Select Computer:
Now select Uninstall or Change a Program:
You can now go ahead and Uninstall the program which nags you about not finding a piece of hardware during startup:
That’s it, your VM is now ready for use.
Connecting Additional Hardware to the VM
I will use the simple example of connecting to a USB Device, an Epson V33, this has modern drivers so can be ran in Windows 10 natively but we can pretend it doesn’t and use the Windows 7 VM to connect to it, install the driver software for it and use it to scan an image and then copy the image to the host.
If I open up the Device Manager in the host and the VM. I can see the Epson scanner shows under the host.
We can select Player → Removable Devices → Epson V330 → Connect.
It now shows in the guest’s Device Manager and does not display under the host’s Device Manager:
Since the VM is created from the Physical Machine which had the driver and Epson Scan Image Acquisition software, it should merely find the scanner and install the driver. Now I can use the VM to scan from the scanner:
I get the scanned image. Now I can drag and drop it back through to the host:
I can now use all the programs on my Windows 10 PC to edit the Image or to email it etc. This was an example using a scanner but its a good demonstration. This could equally have been a very expensive scientific instrument with no modern software and an ageing PC that needs replaced with a more reliable VM.