Post P2V Guide: Step by Step Removing Ghost Hardware

Post P2VIt’s been a while since I had to P2V a Windows server but recently I found myself on a project doing P2Vs of business critical servers, again.

FYI: The new version of VMware VM Converter works great for converting a physical Windows and Linux server into a VM.

Once the conversion is completed, the new VM is online, VMtools are installed and video acceleration is set, here’s a couple more steps I learned about at a VMUG meeting that I recommend doing to finish the P2V job.

Removing Ghost Hardware for Best Performance

First – Remove Old Physical Hardware from the New Windows VM (picture shows “grayed” disk drives)

Step 1 –  Log into the VM

Step 2 –  Open a command prompt
–    Start > Run
–    CMD
–    Enter

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Step 3 – At the prompt type: set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1
–    Enter
–    Type: start devmgmt.msc
–    Enter

Step 4 – Wait for the Device Manager to open, then click on View > Show Hidden Devices
– Expand each category and search for “grayed” hardware
– Right click and click uninstall when “grayed” hardware is located
– Don’t worry about the System Devices category
– When all the hardware devices are gone, close the Device Manager and reboot

Second – Uninstall Old Hardware Specific Software

Step 1 – Log into the VM

Step 2- Start > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs

Step 3 – Carefully find and uninstall programs from IBM/Dell/HP/other that are used for drive arrays, networking, ILO or any other similar application that is specific to the physical hardware.

Note: These items are not required now that the server hardware has been virtualized.

Done – When all the applications have been uninstalled, close the Control Panel and reboot

Q: Why do remove ghost hardware after a P2V?

A: The reason I do these steps is because over the years I’ve had to troubleshoot VMs that I found were P2V’d by someone else and not cleaned up. This normally causes poor performance and issues with ghost hardware devices or drivers that conflict with the virtual hardware devices, more specific – network adapters.

There – now all you need to do is make sure all your best practices are applied to the VM and it’s ready for production.


  1. Scott South

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