Windows Vista - VirtualBox 4 to Parallels 6 Conversion

I recently obtained Parallels, through a great bundle deal from MacUpdate that I read about on MacRumors (exact post here). I am an avid user of VirtualBox (at home and at work), and still think it is a great solution, but I thought I would try Parallels out to see how well things like the Aero interface and 3D graphics worked under Windows Vista. I’ve had a Windows Vista license laying around from when I bought my HP machine several years ago (and subsequently loaded it with Ubuntu), and had already brought it into a VM under VirtualBox. Now to get it to Parallels...

I poked around a little bit online, but didn’t find much information on migrating an image already configured and operational under VirtualBox to Parallels. Most things that I found involved importing the VDI image directly into Parallels, but that didn’t seem to be an option for Parallels 6. So, I decided to take the approach I have utilized before in converting Hyper-V images to XenServer (a separate discussion, but the only way I found to convert one of the trial images I needed to evaluate from Microsoft was to actually use VirtualBox to boot the Hyper-V disk image directly (which, kudos to VirtualBox, it was able to do easily), and then use XenConvert to perform a P2V migration under the VirtualBox running image).

Here are the steps I took:

  1. First, with your VirtualBox image shutdown, take a snapshot, just in-case things go haywire for some reason.
  2. I configured the Network adapter on the VirtualBox image to use the Host-Only network setting (the later steps will perform the P2V migration using the network, so I didn’t want it going via my WiFi router just to get back to the same machine).
  3. Fire up the VirtualBox image, and deactivate Windows Firewall (this step is required to open the required ports for the Parallels Transporter Agent).
  4. Next, download and install the Parallels Transporter Agent 6 for Windows (direct download link for the one I used here). This is the component needed for your host system to connect to and migrate the system.
  5. Once installed, and active, it should show that the Network option is ready for use (typically I think the IP address for the Host-Only VM under VirtualBox will be something like 192.168.56.101 (where 192.168.56.1 is the Host machine).
  6. Launch Parallels Desktop 6, and choose the option to Migrate a Live PC. Then, select the Network option, and enter the IP address of your running VirtualBox image (I had to enter it manually, as it didn’t automatically appear in the IP Address list--this would be the guest address, 192.168.56.101).
  7. Let this proceed, mine took about an hour to convert.
  8. Once completed, shut down your VirtualBox image and exit VirtualBox completely before launching Parallels (I only made sure to do this because it is common for different Virtualization packages (which utilize hardware extensions) to not play well together when run simultaneously).
  9. Fire up the new Parallels image--it should come up with no issues! At this stage, I did go to the Programs and Features and uninstall the Oracle VirtualBox Guest Additions 4.0.4 from the new Parallels image. I was worried about having this installed during the migration (I’ve had VMware Tools cause troubles before when left installed prior to conversion), but it didn’t interfere with the process at all.
  10. Lastly, I did have to reactivate my Windows Vista Home Premium Image. I also had to do it over the phone, because I think I went over my limit for automatic activations. This is understandable though, as I think I did reinstall it once on my original HP machine (before going to Linux), then installed a fresh version into VirtualBox. Now that my Parallels image is up though, I have deleted my VirtualBox image, since it is no longer needed (nor licensed).

Now I have my Aero effects (they worked immediately under the Parallels system) and performance seems decent. Hopefully this guide helps someone perform this conversion--thankfully it went through with no major bumps in the road!!


Parallels Installation

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