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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Black screen after a P2V conversion of a Windows server using VMware Converter

Black screen after a P2V conversion of a Windows server using VMware Converter

Symptoms

After a successful P2V (physical to virtual) conversion of a Windows-based system using VMware Converter, the resulting virtual machine may experience these symptoms:
  • A black screen immediately after the virtual machine has completed the Power-On Self-Test (POST).
  • The guest operating system does not appear to boot.
  • The logs do not contain any errors or messages that indicate a problem with VMware Converter or ESX.
Note: If you mount the virtual disk (VMDK) from the problematic virtual machine as a secondary disk to another virtual machine, you can see that data was converted from the physical machine successfully.

Resolution

This issue occurs if the boot.ini file from the original source machine contains the parameter /burnmemory = <number>This parameter reduces the amount of memory available to the Windows operating system by a specified amount. 
 
For example, if a physical server has 8 GB of RAM memory and its boot.ini file is configured with the parameter /burnmemory = 4096, the RAM is reduced to 4 GB. As a result, the converted virtual machine has 4 GB of RAM memory. When the virtual machine is booted, the burnmemory = 4096 parameter that still present in the boot.ini file reduces the RAM another 4 GB, which leaves the virtual machine with 0 GB of RAM.
 
To resolve this issue, remove the /burnmemory = <number> parameter from the boot.ini file:
 
Note: For more detailed instructions, consult the Windows documentation.
  1. Attach the virtual disk of the converted virtual machine to another virtual machine (known as a helper virtual machine).
  2. When Windows is booted, remove the /burnmemory=<number> parameter from the boot.ini file.
  3. Save the boot.ini file.
  4. Remove the virtual disk from the helper virtual machine.

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