V2V conversion using VMDK to VHD Converter

If your VMware customers are interested in Microsoft Hyper-V, you can use the VMDK to VHD Converter tool to perform a V2V conversion and migrate VMs.

If your customers use VMware but are considering Microsoft Hyper-V, you ought to know how to perform a V2V conversion.

Using Hyper-V Manager to import virtual machines (VMs) from a VMware infrastructure seems easy, but the virtual-to-virtual (V2V) conversion process contains gaps in supported systems, and migration of VMs requires planning to avoid headaches.

Why move from VMware to Hyper-V?

Having everything standardized on Windows makes management easier, and the customer doesn’t have to invest in additional training. Also, Hyper-V is included in Windows Server, which translates to some cost savings for the customer.

Solution providers may also want to convert demo VMsfrom VMware to Hyper-V so customers can get familiar with the product. And while no one wants to move out of a VMware vSphere that’s working well and providing benefits, in some cases there is no choice. When a merger occurs and one company is using vSphere and the other is using Hyper-V, migrating all VMs to the same platform may be desirable for simplicity.


Unfortunately, Hyper-V Manager doesn't import all VMs equally. Only some versions of Windows are supported. Trying to import VMs with unsupported guest operating systems will result in an error message stating that the VMs couldn't be found. Also, the Hyper-V Import option is limited to VMs in VMware ESX and ESXi, not from other sources, such as VMware Workstation.

In supported cases, you can use V2V conversion to convert a VM in the Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) format to the Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format. The V2V conversion process also uninstalls VMware Tools and makes it ready for installation in the Hyper-V environment.

Given the limitations of Windows’ Hyper-V Import tool, you might be better off using a third-party tool, such as the VMDK to VHD Converter. This free tool converts the source VMDK file into a VHD file. It is a good idea to prepare the VM before starting the conversion with this tool. The following steps explain how you can accomplish these tasks:

  1. Start the VM and uninstall VMware Tools.
  2. Clean up everything that cannot easily be converted, such as shared disks in SAN environments and other external connections.
  3. Make sure that the guest OS you want to convert is supported in Hyper-V. If not, determine if you can upgrade the current guest OS before starting the conversion.

Note: VMware supports a broader range of guest operating systems than Hyper-V does. If you currently run many unsupported operating systems, you might consider keeping a small VMware environment to continue to run these VMs. Even if some unsupported operating systems will run in Hyper-V, you'll have to do without Microsoft support if you experience problems with them.

More on V2V conversion

Using XenConvert for XenServer workload, machine conversions

VMware vCenter Converter: P2V and V2V migrations made easy

Five free Hyper-V management tools


After doing the required preparations, you can start the V2V conversion process. Download the VMDK to VHD Converter and launch the VMDK2VHD.exe file. Browse to the location of the source VMDK file, and in the Destination field, specify where you want to create the destination VHD file and specify its name. Notice that using this procedure you convert only one disk, so you have to repeat it for every other disk that is used by the VM.

Next, create a VM in Hyper-V and connect the disks that you've just converted to this newly created VM. After that, you just have to boot the newly created VM in Hyper-V and install Integration Services or Components. This should make the VM fully available. After verifying that it works without problems, you can move on to the next VM.

About the author:
Sander van Vugt is an author and independent technical trainer, specializing in Linux since 1994. Van Vugt is also a technical consultant for high-availability (HA) clustering and performance optimization, as well as an expert on SLED 10 administration.

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