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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9 Comment(s)

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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: Mostafa Eltejaee

Very good and functional.

Thank you very much