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As blogged previously XP support is ending on 14 March 2014. While this is not cause for immediate concern there will come a day when computer manufacturers no longer support XP and it will be impossible to build a new XP machine. Some of you will bite the bullet and move on to the latest version of windows however there will beĀ  a significant number of users who will find this daunting. You may have a complicated XP installation which you use for retail sales and cannot afford any down time. Others will be running proprietary software which only runs only on XP. Others will have accumulated many years of data and which has been rolled over to the next year and would be a nightmare to recreate.

The answer for those who cannot make the jump will be to use virtualisation software such as VMWare , Oracle VirtualBox or Microsoft’s Virtual PC. Such software will allow you to run most operating systems eg XP , Linux , MAC under your current installation.

The screen shots below show a couple of virtual machines I use.

This is XP under Windows 7

This is Mac OS X 10.7 under Windows 7

I tend to use Oracle VirtualBox because it does everything i want to do and most importantly it is free.

Converting your existing XP to Virtual

To convert an XP installation into an image which can be used by Oracle VirtualBox the best tool to use is VMWare’s Converter which is free and available at
VMware Physical to Virtual Converter.

This needs to be installed on the XP system to be cloned and the image run live see screenshot below

The File created is the native VMware format VMDK which can be directly imported by Oracle VirtuaBox and within a short timespan I was running the XP installation under Windows 7 see screenshot below.

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