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Migrating from Hyper-V to VMware

StarWind convert VM

Far from writing an article on which solution can perform better if Hyper-V or VMware focusing on Pros & Cons of each other I would like to explore instead the options when converting Virtual Machines from one hypervisor to another. Sure there are plenty of resources and expensive ones out there with enterprise capabilities. The focus of this article is to provide instead a simple method (and possibly free!) of migrating VMs between different platforms. Ideally something that can be used for personal labs or for a small number of VMs to convert.

And this is the case for the StarWind V2V Converter that can be downloaded for free from their website. It supports both ways VHD(X), VMDK, IMG and QCOW. It works by reading the sectors and recreating them in the desired output. This tool is very easy to use and does not alter the source file. In this example converting an Hyper-V virtual machine to VMware I have observed the following criteria:

  • Create a new VM in the destination Platform and remove the default drive(s)

  • Try to mimic same virtual Hardware specs when possible from the original one with regards to BIOS, CPU, Memory, Controllers (IDE-SCSI) and Network Card(s)

  • Assess the version of the VMDK file to create as destination   in light of the final platform (VMware Workstation or ESXi)

So here we are with the migration process in two parts:

  • Migrating Disk drives from Hyper-V to VMware

  • Creating the new VMware machine with converted drives

Migrating Disk drives from Hyper-V to VMware

 With the considerations made above the steps are really simple as loading the Source file (VHDX in my case) in the Converter


The tool also provide a quick description of the file


At this point we can choose the destination format


Defining the Disk options is important as well as different drivers might be already be pre-installed on the drive


Let’s select the location for the Destination file


The process might take quite some time depending on the actual size of the Virtual disk, the written sectors and final location where the output will be saved


In my case for a virtual disk of 40GB (allocated ~20GB) it took a few minutes to create the destination file. Also the new file size is not that different from the original one possibly showing a better data allocation


At this point we are ready to mount the created VMDKs into the new VMware  virtual machine

Creating the new VMware machine with converted drives

Before proceeding with this step and considering what we have available we might decide to create the new VM to be fully compatible with the VMware Workstation only or ESXi Platform as well. In my case I’m going for the latter and even without leaving the VMware Workstation console I can connect to ESXi Host I have available by using the wizard from the Home tab



The connection wizard is very similar to the one for the ESXi host. Let’s accept the connection certificate as well


With Custom option we can be more specific  on the virtual Hardware to setup


Let’s select the Datastore to use. The new machine will be created as Thin Provisioned


Latest version of VMware Workstation compatible with ESXi 6 is version 11 which provides enough resources for scalability!




Let’s make sure the same settings for the BIOS type is selected


Let’s use the same vCPU and Processor configuration between Hyper-V and VMware




In my case the System Drive was mounted on IDE controller (otherwise VM won’t boot in Hyper-V!) so I’m using the same setting here. SCSI controllers can be added later on when editing the Virtual Machine settings


So at this point we can point to the converted drives with StarWindConverter software



A final review of the settings before committing the changes


This concludes a quick overview on how to migrate VMs between Hyper-V and VMware

About the author

Michele Domanico

Passionate about Virtualization, Storage, Data Availability and Software Defined Data Center technologies. The aim of Domalab.com is sharing with the Community the knowledge and experience gained with customers, industry leaders and like minded peers. Always open to constructive feedback and new challenges.

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