P2Ving MS-DOS Machines …

imageToday I got a chance to P2V some DOS machines for a client looking to virtualize some VERY old, seldom used, but important enough to keep accounting data.  You know the ones; the big beige machines that are stored in some wiring closet and only taken out a couple of times a year for historical reasons.

For this particular task, I turned to CloneZilla and a USB 1 TB Western Digital Disk.

  1. Since the machine was so old, I was unable to boot from Flash so I burned CloneZilla onto a CD.  Boot from CD.
  2. This particular machine had 2 physical drives in it so I would have to use CloneZilla to make two separate disk image files.
  3. After cloning both disks to image on the Western Digital drive, I fired up VMware Workstation. (for ease of use)
  4. Ran the CloneZilla RESTORE process from the Western Digital files to my newly created VM with 2 virtual drives.
    1. I ran into an issue with CloneZilla complaining about the partition table on the secondary disk so I proceeded by choosing the option to NOT create a partition table.  Choosing this allowed the imaging process to restore correctly.
  5. After successfully booting the DOS box, I headed over to Zamba’s VMware page which had a great collection of DOS utilities.  The most important being DOSIDLE.  MSDOS Virtual Machines will NOT idle the CPU by default and will consume the hosts processor.  The DOSIDLE will allow your DOS VM to be a good Virtualization Citizen.
    1. I used WinImage to create a virtual floppy disk (.flp) to copy the Utilities up to the DOS machine since there was no native CDROM support.  A good old fashion floppy disk would have worked on the SOURCE machine prior to imaging as well.


Long Live DOS.