Old XP Install to Boot Camp Partition?
July 3, 2008 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way to convert my current Windows XP install to a Boot Camp install for my just ordered Mac Pro?

I'm currently running a 3 year old Windows XP machine that I am replacing with a 8 core Mac Pro. What I would like is to have my old Windows XP install available to dual-boot into via Boot Camp. Then I'll run that Boot Camp install via VMWare Fusion for times that I don't need to reboot.

Hopefully this makes sense. If it doesn't let me know and I'll try to explain it in a different way.

posted by nokry56 to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not exactly sure if this is a good idea, since Windows is so finicky about drivers and such. But there is this app: WinClone
posted by sharkfu at 9:42 AM on July 3, 2008

Not really, you're asking for trouble. Windows will probably refuse to work on different hardware anyway.
Make a good backup of your data before you try anything.
posted by ghost of a past number at 10:03 AM on July 3, 2008

Even if you could do that, you would need two more activations for that XP install, and I am not sure you'll be able to get them. Certainly you'll need to call Microsoft.
posted by kindall at 10:07 AM on July 3, 2008

I think this might be what you need.
posted by mpls2 at 10:07 AM on July 3, 2008

You can image the drive with Ghost or DriveXML or other tools, but it's just not a very good idea. Windows installs burrow themselves deeply and that is tied to your hardware. I'd just wait until you get the computer, install Windows and network the two together the pull all you data over. It will take more time, but at least you're starting fresh and won't have any issues.
posted by cgomez at 10:07 AM on July 3, 2008

Ahh, you're doing bootcamp, not parallels. Nevermind.
posted by mpls2 at 10:08 AM on July 3, 2008

With Fusion you can download for free a app you install on the windows side called VMware Converter. You run that, it saves your current drive as a VM package that you can copy to drive/DVD/whatever and copy to your new Mac Pro. At that point just point Fusion at the package and away you go. Easy as Pie. I juts did one yesterday with no problems.
posted by ShawnString at 10:12 AM on July 3, 2008

Response by poster: ShawnString, I did see that on VMware's site. But is there a way to convert a VMware package to a hard drive install? Because I want to be able to dual-boot into my Windows XP install & be able to access it from within OS X...
posted by nokry56 at 11:07 AM on July 3, 2008

Response by poster: To answer my own question I found this previous post. Any thoughts on this?
posted by nokry56 at 11:12 AM on July 3, 2008

Definitely have never done it but it seems like the link in the post you mentioned has a walkthrough for doing it with Parallels. Parallels would then be the best option for being able to access both within OS X and through bootcamp. I have used their Transporter tool with excellent success. It is truly amazing, and as usual, YMMV.
posted by genial at 1:59 PM on July 3, 2008

Someone's attacked my clipboard. Correct Link.
posted by genial at 2:00 PM on July 3, 2008

Short answer; Yes, it's possible. I wouldn't recommend it.

Longer answer;

If that XP install is an OEM install (from Dell, HP, etc.), it is almost certainly against the license to use that copy on any other system. As a regular consumer (there are other options to developers, and corporate users), you would need a retail boxed copy. If you are able to move the install over, you will need to re-activate it. You will likely have no troubles doing that. MS will know it was done, but there is no evidence they do anything about small time copying like this.

Swapping all of the hardware out from under a Windows install is a recipe for either total disaster or lots of odd annoyances, problems, and quirks of the setup on the new system.

If you were feeling brave, I would recommend using sysprep to prep the system to run the Windows minisetup (where it autodetects drivers and such) followed by a disk imaging program (I am partial to parted or Acronis True Image) to clone the XP install, followed by restoring that image onto the Mac. I believe some of the commercial disk imaging packages will do the sysprep step for you. If you have never used sysprep before, I strongly recommend avoiding it in this instance.

More realistically, you could use VMWare's Converter product (which appears to be free these days) which is designed to do this type of thing.

That said, I would recommend doing a fresh Windows install. I have only ever had seemless transitions of Windows with tightly controlled environments where this was planned for from the beginning. I have never seen it go perfectly on any old random Windows install.
posted by fief at 4:36 PM on July 3, 2008

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