Disappointed with VMware Converter and Fusion So Far

by Todd Ogasawara

After hearing and reading so many good things about VMware Fusion, I was really eager to try it out. So I pre-ordered it last week to get the discounted price and then installed the production version (Build 51348) this evening.

I also decided to try out the VMware Converter and was a little annoyed to discover it only runs under Windows. So, I installed it on a PC running Windows Vista Business Edition and tried to convert Microsoft Virtual PC CentOS 4.4 Linux VHD file. No luck. It claimed the file is corrupted (it is not). Then, I tried to convert a Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition VHD file. This time it said it could not identify the OS. I moved over to a PC running Windows XP SP2. Same problem with the CentOS 4.4 Linux VHD file. But, it recognized the Windows Server VHD file this time.

I took the Windows Server vmx/vmdk files over to the MacBook running Fusion and started it up. It seemed to be running very sluggishly. So, I installed VMware Tools thinking its graphics and other enhancements would fix this. Unfortunately, Windows Server lost its mouse cursor after installing VMware Tools and rebooting.

I've got a bunch of projects due by the end of August. So, I won't get to test Fusion again until September. But, if anyone can point out what I may have done wrong (e.g., don't use VMs built by VMware Converter), let me know. I'll build some Guests OSes from scratch in September to see if that route provide better results.


2007-08-09 01:31:13
A couple of quick points - VMWare Converter only supports Windows VMs. When you're converting from a Virtual PC image, it may be able to handle Linux machines, but I wouldn't bet on it. I have a much better track record by starting up the source VM and treating it as a physical machine. You choose it as a physical machine in the converter wizard, enter the IP addresse and appropriate credentials and let it go from there.

Otherwise, VMWare workstation VMs copied (plain old copy - no conversion) to Fusion work flawlessly (even hacked ones to let me install ESX Server in a VM). I currently use Parallels for all of my personal day to day VMs, and Fusion for projects where I need to integrate with other VMWare products (building servers, sharing machines, etc).

2007-08-09 02:59:01
I too was excited to use Fusion. When i used 1.0 with boot camp and a new XP pro image, I was very disappointed. It will not switch back from unity to single/full screen, win app graphics get messed up, and sluggish too. Love the fact that it works in Expose and install of xp and vista was very easy, but the product is definitely still a beta and not ready for prime time. I expected much better from VM. Hope they release a patch or two to fix all of this.
Tom Davies
2007-08-09 03:39:01
I've not used VM converter, but I've been happy with XP under Fusion -- make sure that you have plenty of physical RAM and don't give the VM too much. I really only use it for reading DVD-Rs that OS X can't handle, and testing webapps in IE, so perhaps I'm just not very demanding. I'm waiting for DirectX 9 so I can play some games :-)
Robert Pritchett
2007-08-09 05:46:33
Why not use CrossOver instead? Use the apps without the PC OS?
2007-08-09 08:38:27
I was on the same wave length as you this week and tried to convert my existing Windows XP Pro on a Dell box. When I attempted to run the file on my Mac using Fusion I got an error about missing files. I don't believe this is a Fusion issue with the converted files, but I could be wrong. I didn't waste time finding out and simply created a new XP VM from scratch and have found that works great. I'm very impressed at how well it runs on my recently acquired Macbook with a Core 2 Duo processor. I've never been more impressed with VM technology than what I saw using a Fusion created VM.
Alex Kac
2007-08-09 09:08:43
Hm, not an expert but I converted both a Bootcamp partition and a Parallels VM with the Converter and it worked perfectly.
2007-08-09 09:51:11
I tried Converter a few weeks ago, hoping I could use it to simply convert a non-expanding disk to expanding. I was very disappointed that it seems it can only convert entire VMs, but perhaps that has something to do with VMware's free emulation products competing with their commercial products. I ended up figuring out how to use the command-line tools hidden in Fusion's application bundle instead.

Fusion itself is fantastic. There are still a couple of UI issues, but it performs admirably if you have lots of RAM, and plays very nicely with Mac OS X running as a main OS. I bought Parallels last year, and this year I "upgraded" to Fusion and don't regret it one bit.

2007-08-09 10:33:22
Rather than depend on Converter, just build a VM from scratch. I've been happily running Vista Business 64-bit in Fusion with dual cores on my MacBook Pro. (Why run 64-bit when only 4 GB of physical memory are available for the entire computer? Because the X64 instruction set is more efficient--twice the registers.)
2007-08-09 10:50:58
I used Converter to convert my Parallels virtual machine running Win XP Professional so that I can run it under Fusion. It works, and it actually runs much, much faster on Fusion than on Parallels without slowing my Macbook Pro down (unlike Parallels which seems to get more bloated with each version and really hits my Macbook Pro performance wise). Unfortunately, all my 2D games that depend on Microsoft's Direct X no longer work properly, so I can't completely give up Parallels just yet.
Mark Rippy
2007-08-09 11:27:25
I purchased Parallels because I have three applications I like to use that are not available for the Mac. One program ran fine, the other crashed repeatedly, and the 3rd couldn't see my GPS unit. When Fusion came out, I loaded the 30 day demo to see how it would work, and two of the programs are happily running under Vista now. The next project is to see how Fusion handles my GPS unit. So far I'm very happy with Fusion.
2007-08-09 12:29:34
Fusion is much, much better than Parallels Desktop. For one thing I couldn't get networking to work in Ubuntu under Parallels, and it worked without incident in Fusion. Also in Parallels with Ubuntu I couldn't even get my flash drive to work (it caused the OS to go bonkers) and again it works flawlessly in Fusion. Another problem I've encountered with Parallels was that it did like it if you switched OS X network Locations while it was running - the VM would go bonkers, sometimes even bringing OS X to its knees. Under Fusion? I can switch locations 'til I'm blue in the face and it keeps chugging along happily (and yes, networking continues to work fine.) I've got Windows 2000, Windows XP/bootcamp and Ubuntu running in Fusion flawlessly. I couldn't be more happy and am glad I switched.
Kelsey Hightower
2007-08-20 09:01:21
Yeah, try a fresh install. RHEL 5 runs good from me under fusion
2007-09-04 17:39:33
If you wish to set up a great system I recommend the following.
1. Purchase an Addition HardDisk but don't plug it in yet.
2. Download and run VMWARE CONVERTER to copy your windows system into a clean folder or clean partition.
3. download and burn the Ubuntu 7.04 iso
4. Power down and remove the windows hard drive.
5. Insert the new HardDrive and boot burnt Ubuntu and install it.
6. Power off and reinsert the windows HardDisk (ensure the bios setting will boot from the Ubuntu system)
7. In ubuntu install Vmplayer or Vmserver. (Good instructions can by googling HOW TO FORGE VMWARE)
8. Ensure that ubuntu is able to read/write from the windows harddisk.
10. Create a virtual machine, grabbing the folder or partition in which you 'backed up' with Vmware convertor. Either that if you choose to completely format the windows partition later for data purposes, copy the 'backuped'folder into the Ubuntu harddrive and select to run it from there.

2007-09-17 13:36:20
I purchased Fusion for the discounted price and have not been able to get it to work. I installed it on a Mac PRo with dual, quad core CPU's with 5 G RAM. I have XP SP2 on the boot camp partition (1.4). I can successfully boot and use the boot camp.

When I install Fusion and try to use the Boot Camp partition, it starts to configure, "reboots" and then does a chkdsk on the partition and then fails, reboots and does this again. When I reboot in boot camp native, it also has to chkdsk for itself and then will work.

I am not impressed with Fusion based on hours of going in this circle with little help from VMware.

2007-10-11 05:32:38
I've written some reasonably detailed instructions on the way that I converted a Linux VM from VirtualPC to VMWare here -> http://swexperience.googlepages.com/virtualpctovmware

It wasn't automatic, but it didn't take long.

Chris Malek
2007-11-03 08:49:01
There is a new version of vmware converter (3.0.2) that you can convert a physical machine directly to the fusion file format. I had been using 3.0.1 to back up my machines for emergency and never had any issues booting those converted machines on a windows box. I just converted to Mac Leopard and I could not get it to work. I then went and grabbed the latest version of vmware converted 3.0.2 and it worked great. The only thing you need to watch out for is memory. For example, My xp box had 4 gigs of memory. My new mac has only 2. When the vmware converter ran it set the the memory settings to 4 gig and it was freezing up my mac. Before you boot the virtual machine on Fusion make sure you push your memory settings down using the fusion settings for that VM.
2007-12-13 17:41:48
1) For Linux conversions, boot your linux physical box from a live-cd, DD your entire Linux disk drive to a file on a network. There are references out there (google is your friend) that will help you create the right VMDK file to point at the DD outfile.
2) For converting VMDKs of any flavor (Windows, Linux) from fully allocated to "growable", use the CLI to do it. Stop your VM, open a terminal session and go to /Library/Applications/VMware Fusion/ and run vmware-vdiskmanager. It is similar to vmkfstools on ESX server.
2008-01-07 17:15:49
I had success converting Windows XP in Boot Camp to a regular Fusion vm. Did it all within one physical machine. I made a little tutorial about it - showing what to click in the Converter. The wizard asks a lot of questions. But once it started it worked well.
2008-01-21 00:11:16
I hear you. Had the same problems. Some tips:

1. The converter works fine on a real windows machine.

2. Don't install VMWare tools in the VMWare image. I've tried it multiple times and every time it screws up the mouse. Note that in Parallels, I can't get the mouse working at all with the Win2K3 VM.

3. Parallels transporter can convert the VM from vhd to Parallels format. Supposedly, VMWare importer can convert Parallels images, but I had to boot the image first in Parallels and shut it down cleanly before I could convert. This is how I discovered that Parallels loses the mouse completely.

Ben Burgess
2008-03-31 20:19:47
I need perform a P2V of a CentOS Enterprise 5 server-- can you help guide me through this?

I have a dedicated server running CentOS Enterprise 5 with Apache-WHM-MySQL that I want to turn in to a virtual server. I need to back up the current installation to my hard drive as an image, install VMware on the dedicated machine, and then import the old CentOS system to run it as a virtual machine on the new VMware server.

I'm lost. I don't know where to start. As you can see I have the general idea but I don't know what tools to use or how to use them...

Ben Burgess
2008-03-31 20:24:04
Please contact me via email regarding the above comment.

My email is benbur [at] gmail.com

Mark Wilson
2008-04-22 09:27:56
The missing cursor in the converted Windows image is a well known problem due to mouse drivers installed in Virtual PC conflicting with VMWare ones. The solution is here (from petri.co.il forums)

Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\Class\{4D36E96F-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}

Then remove the value msvmmouf from the UpperFilters Regvalue, then reboot.