It seems I keep getting asked to do some strange things, technically speaking.  So I thought I'd blog about them - you never know, it might help someone in a jam :) To start off with, I'll give you a run through on how to restore a Windows system image onto a VMware system - for those of you that haven't used VMware, it is a smart program that emulates a complete PC - right down to USB devices - but it allows you to run this PC on Linux, Windows, on your desk, laptop or even the other side of the work. Neat. Ok, first off, you need an image off your source machine. My favourite tool for this is Acronis True Image. Why? It works well, excellent price, and looks good! Second, you need to create your VMimage. I'm not going to step you through that, if you can't create an image (or read the help files), stop now. Be sure to configure the image as closly as possible to your source hardware (are the drives IDE or SCSI? What size are they? How much RAM has the machine got?). Now: 1. Boot the VMimage, and boot the virtual machine off the Acronis recovery CD 2. Restore the system (C:) partion - don't restore anything else for now. 3. Try booting the VM. It will probably fail - if not, great! Jump to step 101. 4. Dig out your OS cds that are the closes match for the system. It is important you match right down to the Service Pack level. If you can't, try upgrading. Don't bother trying to downgrade. 5. Boot your 'upgrade' OS, and select install. It will detect the old installation, and ask if you want to repair it (note: This is not the recovery console!). Yes, you do. The upgrade process will mount the old registry, and hopefully it will be viable. It will also attempt to rebuild the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) which is the important step. 6. You should, hopefully be able to access the image. Now the fun starts. Install the VMware tools to get basic drivers. 7. Prune. Remove / disable any old drivers, services, software specifically tied to old hardware. Congratulations, you have turned your old hardware tied system to a free Virtual Image :)