Converting A VMware Image To A Physical Machine

Version 1.0
Author: Eladio Martinez <[email protected]>

This tutorial shows how to convert an existing CentOS VM to a Physical machine. This tutorial covers the cloning of the VM to an unpartitioned HDD and troubleshoot some of the possible errors that you may have booting the OS on your new hardware. To illustrate this procedure I will use VMware Workstation 7 as the handler to transfer the VM installation to a physical HDD.


1 Requirements

To perform this procedure you will need:

  • VMware Workstation, VMware Server or VMware Player.
  • CloneZilla ISO image.
  • Unpartitioned HDD with enough space to hold your VM image.


2 Preliminary Notes

This tutorial assumes basic knowledge of the cloning process and requires no previous experience on the use of Clonezilla. Make sure your OS is not using in any way the target HDD that will hold your final copy of the VM, otherwise VMware will complain about your disk been in use and CloneZilla will not perform a successful copy of the VM.


3 VMware Configuration

First thing is to make sure your virtual CD/DVD is using your CloneZilla ISO image to boot. Next add your physical HDD as part of your existing VM by clicking the Add button.

Select Hard Drive and click Next.

Select Use physical disk (for advanced users) then click Next.

Make sure you select the correct drive that you want to use for your physical disk and select the option Use entire disk.

Finally give a name to your configuration file then click Finish.

Make sure your final VMware hardware list include this two elements otherwise, start all over.

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By: gk-edv

Thank you, this helped us quite a bit!

By: Rob

Hello, saw your post and hoping you could assist me with a question.

There is no physical way for me to add the target HDD to my vmware infrastructure so I was planning to use a NAS device to clone the VM to.

Does the clone create an image file that I can copy from the NAS to the physical machine's HDD?  Then boot the physical computer from there?

Thank you for your time and assistance.

By: Kiki

Worked perfectly. So simple when you know how :-) Thanks a bunch indeed!

By: Rosika Schreck

Hi there,

I just wanted to follow the above-mentioned procedure with one change in detail. Instead of adding a physical HDD I wanted to add

a USB-memory-stick. I want my final system to boot from there. How do I go about it? Would that work at all?

Thanks. Greetings.


By: Giuseppe Proietti


I try to follow this procedure but no way to add physical HD to the VM.So I suggest another procedure wich worked for me.1) Copy the .vmdk virtual disk of the VM.

2) Convert it from vmdk to raw format using the qemu-img tool

C:\Tools\qemu-img>qemu-img convert -f vmdk G:\VM\Streamer1.vmdk -O raw G:\Streamer1.raw

3) Write the raw file to the physical HD (on windows system you can use Win32 Disk Imager)

The HD will now contain all partitions and data initially stored in the .vmdk disk, put and boot in the physical machine.

By: Kiran

Hi, Could you explain How to import Howtoforge OVF and OVA Virtual Machine Images in VMware and Virtualbox?



By: till

For Vmware, you simply start the vmware program, go to File > Open, open the .ova file and follow the wizard.

By: Vendhan

Is it possible to convert RHEL 7 VM into to physical ISO image?



By: johnny

There are no dates on here so not sure how old this is but the link can help you.

Though I'm not sure why you would want to do that. Most VM are in the vmdk file formats. If you're thinking of converting it into ISO and run it like a live USB image, the process is just too painstaking I think.

By: Mostafa Eltejaee

Very good and functional.

Thank you very much

By: johnny

Hi, This is great but a bit confusing at the same time. So can someone clarify if the following is correct:

So basically-download Clonezilla ISO from their site. Open up VMWare Workstation/Player/etc. Then create a new Vmware. Follow the steps and fill in the blanks of the CDROM with the Clonezilla ISO and use the Physical Drive instead of the other options. The starting steps here seemed to skip quite a bit at the start. The rest I can follow. So I wanted to make sure if I understand it correctly.

My plan was to create a disaster recovery server by either virtualizing all the current physical machine and have VMWare images of it and restore via this method. The other method was to create a brand spanking new install of an OS image and transfer it over to a physical one via this method. So it's more like a chu-chu train production line. As stating above, the process of transferring the image back to a physical drive is super long dependin on the disk space setup along with data, if any. Virtualizing a physical machine is of the same time consuming process as well.

So if someone can point out if my way of understand this is correct, greatly appreciated it.



By: John

Easy really if it's a 'buntu OS on vmware just share a folder with the host, install ubuntu imager. image the installation to an iso, save to the shared folder, logout of vm and burn the iso to a thumb drive make bootable using gparted shutdown and reboot :)

By: fast928

 I have done as shown & have the clonezilla iso under cd/dvd but it still boots to the centos vm not clonezilla. I'm using workstation player 16. Is there a place to select what boots or make sure it looks at the cd/dvd first. I'm not seeing it. Thanks.

By: fast928

Figured it out... Needed to hit escape in the vmware loading screen "once" for boot menu.

By: M.R. Gilani

Thanks. I installed successfully. Now I have to add the boot entry in GRUB2 as I already have two OS ie Ubuntu & Win10. can you pls. guide me if possible.