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XP + VMware: How does it work?

midgetspymidgetspy Registered User regular
edited December 2007 in Games and Technology
Hey guys,

I recently got an entirely new computer with a new HD. I installed Vista on it. I plugged in my old computer's hard drive as well, though, so I could get the files off of it while booted in Vista. It is currently my D drive. I need to get into the old computer's Registry and export some stuff, and AFAIK this can't be done without booting XP.

Is there any way I can make an XP VMWare image from the contents of the D drive and then boot it within Vista? Or am I going to have to either unplug my Vista HD and make my new computer boot from the old HD (which will cause mayhem for XP)? (I don't have the old computer anymore)

midgetspy on


  • WhimsyWhimsy Registered User new member
    edited December 2007
    It's possible, but I'd suggest against it. The reason is that the VMWare hardware is different from the original machine, and windows will expect to load a certain configuration set that's incompatible. If you want to try, create a VM as you would, but after creating the VM, open the configuration and replace the hard disk with the physical disk/partition and attempt to boot. (This may be an advanced option in VMWare's harddisk configuration).

    The alternative I would suggest is to temporarily load the registry files in your current installation. To do this, start regedit, and click on HKLM. In the File Menu, click on "Load Hive...". You will be prompted with an open dialog - Navigate to olddrive:\windows\system32\config.

    Most of the keys that users want to access from older installations will be stored in one of two registry files:

    A lot of the Windows registry, such as classes, is duplicated and mirrored for convenience, or is generated dynamically. If you want to load your user profile information from a Windows XP system, you can generally locate that in drive:\documents and settings\username\ntuser.dat. Just load it as above.

    Once you've selected the registry file to load, you will be prompted to name the key. I like to use !MAGIC, because it stands out and sorts high up in the list. At this point, you will see the old registry file sitting in the list waiting for you to manipulate it in whatever evil way you have planned.

    When you are done, select the !MAGIC key and open the file menu, and unload the hive. Do not unload any other hives except the one you loaded.

    PROTIP: If you've ever suffered from a "missing or corrupt" error while starting, and the only thing left to try seems to be to format and start over, try loading and unloading the registry hives on another Windows computer instead. Windows will actually attempt to resolve any problems it encounters in a damaged registry, either by repairing it directly, or by using the logs that are stored in the same directory to resolve other corruption.

    Good luck!

    Whimsy on
  • midgetspymidgetspy Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Wow I didn't know you could load external registry files... perfect, thanks!

    midgetspy on
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