Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Provisioning error occurred for Machine (VM Name): Refit operation refresh failed

Recently I encountered some VM refresh issues in View I felt would be helpful to share. Using the View administrator I attempted to refresh a couple of linked clones manually. Some of the refresh operations completed successfully, but some did not. Upon investigating the recorded View events I found the below.

Next I moved onto checking the the vSphere datacenter logs that housed the linked clones and I found the checkpoint.vmdk was unable to be deleted. The VM was deleted and some of it's associated files were removed although some were not.

I successfully deleted most of the files through the datastore browser but the VM-Name-checkpoint.vmdk and VM-Name.vmdk were locked. I SSHed into each host in the cluster to determine which host held the lock. I used the command:
vmkfstools -D /vmfs/volumes/DATASTORE-NAME/VM-FOLDER/VM-NAME-checkpoint.vmdk
Below is the output. For more information about investigating files locked by ESXi click HERE.
~ # vmkfstools -D /vmfs/volumes/DATASTORE-NAME/VM-FOLDER/VM-NAME-checkpoint.vmdk
Lock [type 10c00001 offset 63735808 v 2894, hb offset 3915776
gen 43, mode 0, owner 00000000-00000000-0000-000000000000 mtime 3240812
num 0 gblnum 0 gblgen 0 gblbrk 0]
Addr <4, 116, 145>, gen 2786, links 1, type reg, flags 0, uid 0, gid 0, mode 600
len 331, nb 1 tbz 0, cow 0, newSinceEpoch 1, zla 2, bs 65536
~ #
Normally when a file is locked by a host the end of the owner value highlighted in red should be the MAC address of the host that locked the particular file. The mtime field shows how long before a lock expires. Monitoring the mtime field gives you an indication if the lock is getting updated or not. If you see it decrease that means the lock is counting down, up the lock is increasing. In my situation each time a lock occurs the owner value is all Os, and the mtime is not counting down. What is particularly strange about this is each host I ran the command on reported the same thing. All 0's in the owner field implies that the host which ran the vmkfstools command owns the lock. It could also mean no host owns the lock, but it seems you would need to take in account the mtime and mode field to form that assertion. More about vmkfstools can be found HERE.

Mode types
mode 0 = no lock
mode 1 = is an exclusive lock (vmx file of a powered on VM, the currently used disk (flat or delta), *vswp, etc.)
mode 2 = is a read-only lock (e.g. on the ..-flat.vmdk of a running VM with snapshots)
mode 3 = is a multi-writer lock (e.g. used for MSCS clusters disks or FT VMs).

After checking each file on each host all report 0s for the owner, the mtime is the same, and the mode is 0. For a few VMs simply waiting resolved the issue. The down side to this is you could be waiting a few minutes, hours, or days for the lock to expire. Continuing to troubleshoot I SSHed into a host, and ran the below commands.
cd /vmfs/volumes/DATASTORE-NAME/VM-NAME/
cp VM-NAME-delta.vmdk VM-NAME-delta.old.vmdk
mkdir oldvmmdk
mv VM-NAME.vmdk oldvmmdk/
ls -l
cp VM-NAME-delta.vmdk VM-NAME-delta.old.vmdk
ls l-
rm -f VM-NAME-delta.vmdk
First I changed the directory to the Datastore, then the VM folder. Once in the appropriate folder I tried renaming the VM files then I again tried to delete them which failed. I made a sub folder called oldvmdk and tried moving the VM files into the new folder. That succeeded despite being unable to delete the files. Now that the files are in the subfolder I tried to delete them once more which failed.

As I stepped through the commands I also checked the VM folder permissions with the "ls -lah" command. The permissions were correct so I could rule that out.
/vmfs/volumes/DATASTORE_GUID/VM-NAME/ # ls -lah
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root         420 Nov  4 13:22 .
drwxr-xr-t    1 root     root       22.3K Oct 15 07:54 ..
-rw-------    1 root     root        6.5G Oct 30 19:49 VM-NAME-checkpoint-delta.old.vmdk
Then I turned to checking the logs real time while I attempted to delete the files. The way I did this was to open two Putty sessions to the same host. On one of the sessions issue the below commands to pipe out all activity surrounding the problem VM. In the other Putty session issue the "rm -f VM-NAME-delta.vmdk" command.
esxcli vm process list |greg -i VM-NAME
ps |grep vmx |grep -i VM-NAME
cat /var/log/vmkernel.log |greg -i VM-NAME
cat /var/log/vmkwarning.log |greg -i VM-NAME
cat /var/log/hostd.log |greg -i VM-NAME
tail -f /var/log/vmkernel.log
As the file fails to delete it should pipe out useful information. I found the below output and this time it did return an owner!
2013-11-04T13:48:45.095Z cpu11:5454643)FS3: 1393: vol 'DATASTORE_NAME', lock at 173475840: [Req mode: 1] Not free:
2013-11-04T13:48:45.095Z cpu11:5454643)[type 10c00004 offset 173475840 v 158, hb offset 3338752
gen 4307, mode 1, owner XXXXXXXX-XXXXXXXX-XXXX-3c4a92f61680 mtime 2278287
num 0 gblnum 0 gblgen 0 gblbrk 0]
Again, the tail end of the owner field highlighted in red is the MAC address of the host holding the lock. To confirm the host simply go to the Configuration tab then the Network Adapters tab on each ESXi host until you find the culprit.

From that host you will be able to delete the files. You should also vMotion any VMs off and just give the host a reboot. Once resolved however, if your pool is configured to provision desktops on demand you won't know if the issue is truly resolved until the VM is needed. Per the screenshot below configure the pool to provision all desktops up-front and watch the provisioning complete. Once your new VMs are provisioned you can flip your pool back to provision desktops on demand.

Before configuring the View pool to provision all desktops up-front you should confirm you have the free space and I/O to do so. If it is a low number of VMs it's probably not a big deal if you have lots of free space. If it's a high number probably not a good idea to do it during I/O sensitive times even if you have the needed free space.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

You cannot use the vSphere client to edit the settings of virtual machines of version 10 or higher

As of vSphere 5.5 when you create VMs the default hardware version is 8. However, there is an option to upgrade the virtual hardware to version 10. While I'm sure there are benefits to version 10 over 8, I'm only advising you that in upgrading VM hardware version you will be unable to edit VMs running hardware version 10 using the vSphere client. See picture below..

Furthermore if you read the vSphere 5.5 documentation it goes on to say the following:
If you update the vCenter Server appliance to hardware version 10, you cannot edit the virtual machine settings for the appliance using the vSphere Client. This might cause difficulties in managing the vCenter Server Appliance, because you cannot use the vSphere Web Client to connect directly to the host on which the vCenter Server Appliance resides to manage it. Do not upgrade the vCenter Server Appliance to hardware version 10. VMware vSphere 5.5 Documentation Center
It seems likely VMware is moving vSphere closer to a web only client. It's been talked about for a while but does this mean in version 6.0 the vSphere client will disappear permanently? The question I would ask is if that happens what does it means for the free version of the ESXi hypervisor? If version 6.0 is released and the default VM hardware version is version 10 I could see people making VMs they can't edit. If you have vCenter then you can use the web client so it's a moot point, but for home labs and small offices this could be a big problem.

I wonder if VMware will change this as it moves closer to vSphere 6.0. In vSphere 5.1 there was a hardware version 9, albeit some what experimental. I kind of think version 10 isn't ready for general use or a default hardware version or else VMware would have made it the default when creating VMs in vSphere 5.5. Again, I'm sure there are benefits and use cases, but I would want to have a definitive reason for doing so. Not to say you have to use hardware version 10 at this point, but it would be nice to.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Blogger and Google+ pictures uploading with grey backgrounds

If you use Google Blogger or Google+, and have uploaded photos recently you've probably ran into this.. Without any information from Google it turns out if you upload pictures with a light or white background your pictures will have the background turned grey after being uploaded. See below as an example.

Google altered picture

Non-Google altered picture

The fix is pretty easy.. First if you haven't associated the Google+ service with your account, you're going to have to. Unfortunately Google buried two settings in there that affect your Google wide account when uploading pictures to any of their services even if you're not uploading the pictures to Google+. The reason behind it has something to do with changes Google made to Picasa, which is the photo uploading service that backs all Google services.

Once you've made it into your Google+ account, go to your account settings, then Google+ settings. Scroll down until you see the "Photos" section settings, and uncheck the two boxes shown below.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Microsoft update KB2589275 breaking Microsoft Office file associations

In the past several days I've been getting a lot of calls about users not being able open Microsoft Office files such as Word, Excel, etc. This only appears to be affecting Office 2010 users running Windows 7. If you are experiencing the same issue and your Microsoft Office 2010 files have an icon that resemble an orange rectangular box, you have the issue. Do not remove the update, just do the following:

For Excel, right-click on one of the files, choose "open with", choose default program, and select "Microsoft application virtualization dde launcher" OR Microsoft Excel depending which is listed. Be sure to check the box that says "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file".  This should open the file and fix the association. Repeat the same steps for Word, PowerPoint, etc. The only step that is different is for Word you will select "Microsoft application virtualization dde launcher" OR Microsoft Word depending which is listed. For PowerPoint you would use "Microsoft application virtualization dde launcher" OR Microsoft PowerPoint.

If the above doesn't work you have three options. From easiest, to hardest..

Go to Control Panel > Programs > Default Programs > Associate File Type or Protocol. For DOC or DOCX select Microsoft Word. You will need to do this for each Microsoft Office file type. For Excel the file types are XLSX and XLS. For a complete list of Office file types click HERE.

2) Repair your Microsoft Office Installation via instructions found HERE.

3) Remove Microsoft Office from your computer, and reinstall it. (Requires Office disk)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Resolving SYSVOL JRNL_WRAP_ERROR in Windows Server

If you've encountered SYSVOL on a domain controller runnings Server 2008 and later you've probably encountered JRNL_WRAP_ERROR before. If you hadn't or are unsure how to resolve the issue avoid following the steps listed in the records Windows event as a first measure. Doing so usually ends up causing more problems. Below is the original event and steps suggested, which I am recommend against as a fist measure.

Log Name:      File Replication Service Source:        NtFrs Date:          9/12/2013 9:55:30 AM Event ID:      13568 Task Category: None Level:         Error Keywords:      Classic User:          N/A Computer:      server.contoso.local Description: The File Replication Service has detected that the replica set "DOMAIN SYSTEM VOLUME (SYSVOL SHARE)" is in JRNL_WRAP_ERROR. Replica set name is    : "DOMAIN SYSTEM VOLUME (SYSVOL SHARE)" Replica root path is   : "c:\windows\sysvol\domain" Replica root volume is : "\\.\C:" A Replica set hits JRNL_WRAP_ERROR when the record that it is trying to read from the NTFS USN journal is not found.  This can occur because of one of the following reasons. [1] Volume "\\.\C:" has been formatted. [2] The NTFS USN journal on volume "\\.\C:" has been deleted. [3] The NTFS USN journal on volume "\\.\C:" has been truncated. Chkdsk can truncate the journal if it finds corrupt entries at the end of the journal. [4] File Replication Service was not running on this computer for a long time. [5] File Replication Service could not keep up with the rate of Disk IO activity on "\\.\C:". Setting the "Enable Journal Wrap Automatic Restore" registry parameter to 1 will cause the following recovery steps to be taken to automatically recover from this error state. [1] At the first poll, which will occur in 5 minutes, this computer will be deleted from the replica set. If you do not want to wait 5 minutes, then run "net stop ntfrs" followed by "net start ntfrs" to restart the File Replication Service. [2] At the poll following the deletion this computer will be re-added to the replica set. The re-addition will trigger a full tree sync for the replica set. WARNING: During the recovery process data in the replica tree may be unavailable. You should reset the registry parameter described above to 0 to prevent automatic recovery from making the data unexpectedly unavailable if this error condition occurs again. To change this registry parameter, run regedit. Click on Start, Run and type regedit. Expand HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Click down the key path:    "System\CurrentControlSet\Services\NtFrs\Parameters" Double click on the value name    "Enable Journal Wrap Automatic Restore" and update the value.
The below steps are the easiest and ideal way to resolve the issue as a first measure.
  1. Open Registry Editor. To do this, click Start, type regedit, and then click regedit under Programs. Expand the following registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\NtFrs\Parameters\Backup/Restore\Process at Startup

  2. In the right pane, double-click BurFlags.

  3. In the Value Data box, type D4, and then click OK.

  4. Exit Registry Editor.

  5. Open Services, and then restart the File Replication Service service.

  6. Check the File Replication Service event log for new errors.
When the Journal Wrap condition is corrected, an event log entry that resembles the following should be logged:

Event Type: Information
Event Source: NtFrs
Event ID: 13516

Description: The File Replication Service is no longer preventing the computer SERVER from becoming a domain controller. The system volume has been successfully initialized and the Netlogon service has been notified that the system volume is now ready to be shared as SYSVOL.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What’s New in vSphere 5.5

Some big things coming with vSphere 5.5 and I'm pretty excited. Here is a short list I'm personally excited to see including another revamp of VMware VDP. In the previous few revisions it had gone from ok to good and then to not so great. Anyway, without further ado.. here's my top 5.
  1. VM Latency Sensitivity – included with the new virtual machine compatibility level comes a new “Latency Sensitivity” setting that can be tuned to help reduce virtual machine latency.  When the Latency sensitivity is set to high the hypervisor will try to reduce latency in the virtual machine by reserving memory, dedicating CPU cores and disabling network features that are prone to high latency.

  2. vCenter Server Appliance – with vSphere 5.5 the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) now uses a reengineered, embedded vPostgres database that offers improved scalability.  I wasn’t able to officially confirm the max number of hosts and VMs that will be supported with the embedded DB.  They are targeting 100 hosts and 3,000 VMs but we’ll need to wait until 5.5 releases to confirm these numbers.  However, regardless what the final numbers are, with this improved scalability the VCSA is a very attractive alternative for folks who may be looking to move a way from a Windows based vCenter.

  3. Support for 62TB VMDK – vSphere 5.5 increases the maximum size of a virtual machine disk file (VMDK) to 62TB (note the maximum VMFS volume size is 64TB where the max VMDK file size is 62TB).  The maximum size for a Raw Device Mapping (RDM) has also been increased to 62TB.

  4. vSphere Flash Read Cache – a new flash-based storage solution that enables the pooling of multiple flash-based devices into a single consumable vSphere construct called a vSphere Flash Resource, which can be used to enhance virtual machine performance by accelerating read-intensive workloads.

  5. vSphere Data Protection (VDP) – VDP has also been updated in 5.5 with several great improvements to include the ability to replicate  backup data to EMC Avamar,  direct-to-host emergency restore, the ability to backup and restore of individual .vmdk files, more granular scheduling for backup and replication jobs, and the ability to mount existing VDP backup data partitions when deploying a new VDP appliance.

Be sure to read all about vSphere 5.5 and the complete list at VMware blogs. For further reading check out What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.5 Platform, A Summary of What’s New in vSphere 5.5vCloud Suite Product Walkthrough, and What’s New with vSphere Data Protection (VDP) 5.5.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

System logs warning when installing ESXi on flash media

When you install ESXi on flash media you will likely see the error "System logs on host are stored on non-persistent storage" as shown below below.

The fix is pretty easy. Browse to an attached datastore, and create a folder naming it as you see fit. If you are using shared storage you may want to name the logs directory something specific to the host.

On your ESXi host go to the configuration tab, under software click advanced settings. Then browse to Syslog, then global settings. You will need to edit the setting for In my example my datastore is named Internal_RAID10_Datastore1 and the folder I created for logs is simply called logs. The value I will enter will be "[Internal_RAID10_Datastore1]\Logs" but without the ""s.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Critical issue with vCenter appliance

If you use the vCenter appliance, and also use the vSphere Web Client this is a must read. As of the latest vCenter appliance build there is a pretty big issue with certificate regeneration. The problem all starts once you turn it on, and reboot. If you do not already know certificate regeneration is required if you are using a self-signed cert, if your cert does not match your host configuration, changed the system IP address after installation, or if the cert is expired. Any of those reasons will prevent you from logging into the Web Client successfully, and require you to turn on certificate regeneration.

Pretty much out of the gate when you deploy a vCenter appliance you either get an IP dynamically or statically if you so configure one. I've found that despite configuring the IP manually when deploying the OVA the IP still has to be configured manually once the virtual appliance is deployed. Once you change the IP address or host name the certificate no longer works for the Web Client. From there if you attempt to login to the web client you will receive the error "Failed to communicate with the vCenter Single Sign On server". 

The fix is to turn on certificate regeneration and reboot. You can turn on certificate regeneration from the admin tab in the vCenter appliance management console via https:// IP Address :5480. Once there you need to click the "Toggle certification setting to enable certificate regeneration.

Per the build listed above if you do your appliance will reboot, go through the startup process, and hang right after loading the database embedded database. I downloaded and re-deployed the appliance once more. I still had the issue. To resolve the problem I downgraded to In this build it still hangs on "waiting on embedded database to startup" for approximately 10-20 seconds but it does eventually finish the startup process. In the latest build you can wait an hour. It will not move past that point after turning on certificate regeneration.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Google to IE10 - Your Browser is no longer supported

If you are receiving the message "Your Browser is no longer supported" when you use any of Google services you're not alone. Apparently in the latest round of browsing bashing Google has flagged even the latest version of Internet Explorer as being outdated and unsupported even if your computer is up to date.

If you have been using Google services for a while you're probably already aware they want you to use Google Chrome. Despite that I've confirmed HERE that Internet Explorer is still officially supported. According to the Google product forums this is a bug and Google is working on it although I have not found any official confirmation. It is important to note that IE compatibility view mode can also cause this due to how compatibility view mode works.

Regardless there are definitely issues with Google services and browsers other than Google Chrome. If you use Blogger you've probably seen the below message many times. It's almost easier to just give in and use Google Chrome but I like Internet Explorer so I probably won't be switching. The below error is common in IE, Firefox, and Safari.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Setting Exchange 2013 Autodiscover URL

Recently I did an Exchange upgrade to Exchange 2013 and needed to confirm the Exchange PowerShell command to set the autodiscover URLs. I didn't want to just issue the Exchange 2010 commands blindly and hoped they worked.. Below is the command. Just set the SERVERNAME to the name of the Exchange server and the URL as needed.

Set-ClientAccessServer –Identity SERVERNAME –AutoDiscoverServiceInternalUri

Friday, March 29, 2013

Installing an OEM branded Windows OS in VMware

If you try to install an OEM branded Windows operating system you will likely have issues activating or installing because it cannot check the BIOS/hardware make. This is pretty common with HP, Dell, or IBM branded media. To resolve this issue you will need to add "smbios.reflecthost="TRUE"." to your .vmx config file. I've heard a number of people saying adding it to the .vmx file did not work. Often it's because it was added incorrectly so here is a way to do it via the vSphere client.

1)      Edit your VM and go to the Options tab

2)      Click General under Advanced, and then click Configuration Parameters

3)      Add a row, and paste smbios.reflecthost as the name, and true as the value.

4)      Reboot your VM and install your operating system

Certainly volume licensing is easier, but sometimes you can get OEM for pretty cheap. If you're hosting VMs for a company and being provided the media, or maybe being forced to spend as little possible and ended up with an OEM installation disk this will allow you to virtualize it. Keep in mind however if its HP branded, it must reside on an HP server. Same for Dell, IBM, etc. If that isn’t possible then you either have to get a server of that type or new media.

Monday, March 18, 2013

vExclamation now vTechie

In efforts to make all things easier and simplify my "brand" I have changed my domain. vExclamation now vTechie. I also will be re-vamping my blog to make it easier to navigate, and more mobile friendly. I've had a lot of suggestions about making the Cisco portion of my website easier to read on smaller screens.

In the short term, referring links or old tweets may reflect the below error from Google until DNS replicates, and I can fix the various links scattered around the web.

Friday, March 1, 2013

RDP 8.0 and Microsoft RD Gateway logon prompt loop

If you are having problems logging on to computers or servers through a Microsoft Remote Desktop Gateway Server you may want to check if you have KB2592687 installed. This update upgrades Remote Desktop Connection from 7.1 to 8.0. If it is installed it will appear as if you are connecting but you will be prompted over and over again indefinitely for your logon credentials. Remove the update and the problem goes away permanently.

If you are troubleshooting you can confirm the issue by checking the Security log. For every login which doesn't authenticate the user trying to connect you will NOT see a failed logon attempt. If the credentials weren't really accepted there will be a failed logon attempt recorded.

Optimizing Windows virtual machines for VMware View

Recently I found myself looking back to a VMware View environment I setup to roll out another. I felt it would be helpful to take some of the general steps or considerations I used as a baseline to help others create View Environments. My recommendations are easy and helpful, but may not be ready for production use in all environments. Also what I constitute as a basic office computer, power user computer, or high performance computer may not match your needs. You should use my recommendations and baseline for creating a VM to see the end result and make changes incrementally to get exactly what you are looking for.

If you are deploying View in a high security environment or an environment where special considerations for a LOB app need to be delivered via Citrix or ThinApp, now VMware Horizon View, this article will not go that far in depth. I will cover virtual machine hardware configurations, optimizations for Windows, Group Policy settings, and VMware View tuning. The recommendations and VMware scripts provided to optimize Windows are great, but are a good starting point. 

I hope you find this information helpful. If you have additional configurations or suggestions you would use as a baseline for a View environment I'm interested to hear what they are.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

VMware vCenter Server Appliance service failures

Out of the past 3 upgrades I performed to VMware vCenter Server Appliances services began to fail thereafter. The upgrade was to Build 947940. Periodically every few days, or hours the appliance is reachable, but you will not be able to login to it via the vSphere client. You will see the error below if you try.

If you login to your appliance via https://IP ADDRESS:5480 and check the vCenter Server services all will report running. In fact, I can't find a service that actually reports as being failed. Clearly a service has failed or broken in some way from a functionality stand point. If you SSH into the appliance and run the command "service vmware-vpxd restart" all will be well for a period of time. If you want to fix it permanently following the instructions provided by VMware HERE.

Using text edit remotely can sometimes be a real pain. If you are like me, managing vSphere and SSHing into the appliance from a machine you are remoted into the text edit keyboard commands for save and exit probably won't pass through correctly. I used WinSCP which you can download for free HERE. Download the software, connect to the appliance, copy the hosts files over, edit it, copy it back. Last SSH into the appliance and issue the command "service vmware-vpxd restart" and the problem shouldn't return.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mac OS X 10.8.2 wifi disconnects - quick fix

If you're one of the many people being faced with Mac wifi disconnects recently I have a quick tip that may help. Restart your Mac and then hold down the keys Command+Option+P+R during the restart. You will hear the Apple boot sound, and then the system will reboot again. Once you hear the second Apple boot sound let go of the keys. This will clear the NVRAM/PRAM. Your Mac stores certain settings in a special memory area even if it is turned off. On Intel-based Macs, this is stored in memory known as NVRAM; on PowerPC-based Macs, this is stored in memory known as PRAM. More information on this can be found HERE.

I originally thought this was an issue with Mac and Cisco IOS so I upgraded IOS on a few Cisco Aironets but the problem didn't change. I even used a different make of access point but that didn't make any difference either. Additionally Windows systems, cell phones, and other devices were unaffected so I had a pretty good idea it was Mac related. What made the issue more complicated was it didn't always happen. Often the Mac would startup and then be ok. After a few minutes to hours of use you couldn't ping the gateway or access point. Regardless the Mac reported as still being connected to the wifi. Turn wifi off then on and the problem may or may not go away for a period of time.

Updated 2/24/2013

The above resolved most of the issues but some Macs still had an issue resuming the wifi connection coming out of sleep. Perform the below and it will resolve that issue.

1) disable wifi
2) delete the file Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/
3) enable wifi and select your favorite network again

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

VMware Converter workaround for GPT and EFI

Recently I had an issue migrating a Windows Server from a physical system to a VM that had smaller than 2 TB volumes but the disk were configured as GPT. Additionally the systems was using EFI firmware. Below is the VMware KB confirming that you cannot use the VMware converter to P2V machines that use either GPT or EFI.

VMware Converter is unable to see the disks when converting Windows Operating systems

The machine had to be converted. After researching the issue I found some pretty silly and almost maniacal solutions. One suggested booting a VM and the live machine from a Linux disk, copying the C drive over the network, and then using the Windows disk to create the boot records and all sorts of other things. I like to keep it simple, and easy..

1) Download and install StorageCraft Server edition trial on the source server. You will need the StorageCraft Recovery ISO to restore the system into a VM so you will need to apply for the full featured product trial or purchase the software.

StorageCraft Software Downloads

2) After installing the software reboot, and then set the below registry key under current control set and control set 1-2. Take note of the current value before changing because you will need to change it back. Do NOT reboot! Create a full backup either backing up the server to a network share via UNC path, or to a USB drive that you can pass through to a VM. Once the backup is complete go back to the three registry keys you changed and set the value back. Failing to do so will prevent the server from booting should you need it going forward.

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\LSI_SAS\Start to 0

3) Create a new VM and configure it as you would any VM. Mount the StorageCraft Recovery ISO and boot the VM. You will need to create the disk volumes first using the StorageCraft Recovery ISO, and they must be as big or at least 1 MB bigger than the disk you are restoring from.Under Tools > Networking you can map a drive to the UNC path or restore from a local USB disk you pass through to the VM. When you perform the restore using the wizard the last page before starting the restore will show the options per the picture below. Check all of the boxes shown and start the restore.

4) Once finished reboot the VM and you should be all set. Install your VMware Tools and remove any hardware agents such as HP Management Agents or Dell related items as the hardware no longer exist. Failing to do so could cause the HP or Dell hardware agents to cause extreme CPU or memory usage.

You can find more information from StorageCraft regarding Hardware Independent Restore (HIR) HERE.