Convert a Windows 7 Pro OEM Physical Machine into a Windows 7 Pro Virtual Machine

Tutorial Video

What is a Virtual Machine?

A Virtual Machine in essence acts as a single Window within Windows 10 which contains an entire Operating System.

This guide will instruct in converting an entire Windows 7 Physical Machine, including all installed software and user files into a Virtual Machine so you can use legacy software within a Window on your new Windows 10 PC.

It will also instruct in connecting to USB hardware through the Virtual Machine using an Epson Scanner as an example and show how you can copy files, for example an image acquired by the Epson Scanner within the Virtual Machine over to the Host PC.

A Windows 7 OEM Physical Machine

A Windows 7 Physical Machine will be activated using OEM System Locked Preinstallation. If one right clicks Computer and select Properties, they should see the Product ID contains OEM-899.

This Dell OptiPlex 7040 for example contains the Product ID OEM-899:

A retail license will not contain OEM.

We can also look at the programs installed on the Computer and in this case use a scanner attached to a USB port. All of these programs as well as user files will be converted as part of the Virtual Machine:

Downloading and Installing VMware vCentre Converter

You will need:

Later you will also need:

You need to create an account with VMware to download the vCentre Converter. Installation is straight forward.

Converting your Physical Machine into a Virtual Machine

You will need an external hard drive significantly larger than the size of your Windows installation. Launch VMware vCentre Convertor and select Convert Machine:

Change the Dropdown to This Local Machine:

Select Next:

Change the Destination Type to VMware Workstation:

Select Browse, save your VM on your external Hard Drive and label appropriately:

Select Next:

Here you may get a warning about the hardware, for example it doesn’t recommend using 7 GB of RAM for the VM (in case it cripples the Host PC). Select Edit to amend:

I will follow the recommendation and set it to 2 GB:

Select Next:

Then Finish:

It will now convert:

It will say completed when done:

Open the folder of the VM:

Then the subfolder:

You can see that this particular VM is about 30 GB, more than likely your VM will be larger in size as this is a relatively clean installation:

Passing Through an OEM SLIC to your VM from your Host PC

It is advised to use Notepad++ to modify the VMX file.

Right click the VM Configuration file and select Edit with Notepad++

The configuration file will look like the following:

Copy and paste the code to the bottom of the Virtual Machine:

HTML

Then save the changes:

This will pass the SLIC Version of 2.1 through from the Host PC (if present) to the Virtual Machine and is the easiest activation mechanism to keep Windows 7 Pro OEM Activated.

Only a Host PC with a Windows 10 Pro OEM License or Windows 8.1 Pro OEM License will have a SLIC Version of 2.1.

If you have activation issues and are unsure if you have OEM-SLP, run RW-Everything on your Host PC and Virtual Machine.

Select Access and then ACPI Tables. Look for a SLIC tab:

Troubleshooting:

  • No SLIC on the Host PC: The PC is not eligible for OEM Downgrade Rights and you cannot activate using this activation mechanism. You are best to purchase a system with a Windows 10 Pro OEM License (Note Windows 10 Pro Retail does not have have this activation mechanism).
  • No SLIC in the Guest PC. This means it has not been passed through to the Guest PC from the Host. Check that the code above is added.

Installing VMware Player on your Host PC

Installation of VMware Workstation Player is straightforward:

Open up your external hard drive and locate the folder you saved your VM in:

Copy it over to your Host PC:

In this case I will copy it over to my secondary internal SSD D:\

It is advised to keep the version on the external hard drive unmodified as a backup:

Open the VM folder:

Locate the VMware Virtual Machine Configuration file:

Select Open with VMware Player:

The VM will now launch, you will see the VMware virtual UEFI BIOS (or Legacy BIOS):

You will be informed about installing VMware tools at the first Starting Windows splash screen:

Select Download and Install:

Accept the User Account Control:

You will see your log on screen. The resolution won’t be great here as VMware tools aren’t installed yet:

Log in:

Your Windows 7 VM will install new devices:

Installing VMware Tools

To install VMware tools you require a Virtual CD/DVD drive. Your mouse may be locked into the VM, to exit use [Ctrl] + [Alt]:

To send your mouse back to the VM either double click into it, or use [Ctrl] + [g]

Neither my original physical machine the VM was created from and my new PC don’t have a physical optical drive so it was never virtualised. As a result I do not have CD/DVD listed under Removable Devices and will need to add it. If it is listed in your case, you won’t need to add it:

As a result, I will go to Manage → Virtual Machine Settings:

Then Add:

Then select CD/DVD and select Finish:

Select OK:

It will be unable to connect to a Host Physical Drive because it doesn’t exist. Select No to prevent it from trying to connect every time you open the VM:

You will get a warning stating that it is disconnected:

Now select Player → Manage → Install VMware Tools:

VMware Tools will be present as CD/DVD within your VM. Installation is straight forward, select your architecture and launch the setup, restart when prompted:

You can now resize the Windows of your VM and Windows will automatically adjust it:

You can also drag and drop files to and from your Virtual Machine.

Checking Product Activation

Right click Computer:

Select Properties:

Here you should see your activation status:

If you are using a Windows 10 Pro OEM Host PC and converted a Windows 7 Pro OEM Physical PC into a VM you should already be activated using the SLIC 2.1.

If using a Retail License, you may need to activate your Windows 7 Product using your Windows 7 Retail Product Key otherwise it’ll forcibly log you out after 30 days. If the VM is in this state you can delete it from your PC and copy it over fresh from your external hard drive. This will give you another 30 days unhindered.

Connecting to Hardware USB Example

Connected USB Devices will show under Removable Devices. In this Example we are going to connect to an Epson Scanner. The Windows 7 Physical Machine already had the drivers and software for this hardware installed:

Select OK (and optionally select Do Not Show this Message Again):

Windows 7 will now find the Driver from the VM:

Selecting the application, in this case Epson Scan:

I can create a new Scan:

This gives the preview:

And the new image (image 1 and 2 were created on the original physical machine), image 3 is created on the virtual machine:

This can be dragged and dropped to your Host PC for editing or emailing etc.

Legacy Devices

You may need connectors to connect to Legacy Devices:

Disabling the Virtual Ethernet

As Windows 7 reaches end of life soon, it is advisable to disconnect VMs from the internet if you do not need internet connection. Select Removable Devices → Network Adapter → Settings:

Uncheck Connect and Connect at Power On and Select OK. Repeat for other Network Adaptors:

Your VM should now be offline:

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