In the previous article we created a virtual machine from a legacy windows 2000 computer to be able to run it on a newer PC using VMWare Workstation.

This allowed us to support this system for many years to come, instead of relying on the older hardware to keep performing.

In this article, I want to present another option to VMware Workstation – running the Virtual Machine using free software called VirtualBox.

The first step we must take to use the VMware .vmx file created in the last article is to convert it into a Open Virtual Appliance file, or .ova file.

To do this, you'll first have to download and install the VMware Open Virtualization Format Tool (aka ovftool, VMware-ovftool-4.1.0-2459827-win.i386.msi) onto the system you plan to convert the .vmx on.

Once you have that tool downloaded and installed the OVFTool, open a Command Line Window an “Administrator.”

This can be accomplished by searching Windows 10 for “cmd,” and then right clicking on “Command Prompt” and choosing “Run as administrator”

Next change the path in your command prompt to that of where the OVFTool was installed.

In the below example, it was done by entering in “CD\program files (x86)\vmware\vmware ovf tool”

Next, type in the OVFTool command along with the name and full path of the .vmx file to convert, followed by the location and name of the OVA file you desire to create:

Once you enter the command the conversion process will begin:

When it's finished, you should see a message similar to the below, and you will now have an OVA file that can be used with VirtualBox:

The next step open that OVA file with VirtualBox. If you don't already have VirtualBox installed, you can download it for free from:

Once downloaded, run the installer and follow the Prompts as shown below:

Now you are ready to import your OVA file into VirtualBox. To do so, run VirtualBox, and then under the “File” menu choose “Import Appliance” as shown below:

When your OVA file has imported, you can then run the virtual machine (in our case a virtual version of our Windows 2000 PC) in VirtualBox just like we did with VMware Workstation in the previous article.

At this point if you run into any stability issues with your new VM, like issues with keyboard, mouse or display, you'll want to run the VirtualBox Extension Pack which can solve many “driver” issues like these:

Conclusion

Once a VMware Virtual Machine file is converted to the Open Virtual Appliance format, it can be imported and used in other hypervisors which support that open format.

The end-result we showed in this article was that we were able to run a virtual machine created for WMware inside of the free hypervisor VirtualBox, which can be very helpful when you need to run a .vmx but don't have a license for VMware.

Written by Brandon Cooper
Senior Controls Engineer and Freelance Writer

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