I have a desktop PC currently running Windows 11 Beta, but previously was running Windows 10 Pro. It is not my primary PC (I have several other laptops for that), it is more my tinkering PC. I need to better understand multiple flavours of Linux for employment and personal reasons. I have a couple of Raspberry Pi's running a couple of different Linux distros (Ubuntu Server and Desktop), but I would also like to learn a Linux version such as Elementary on x86/x64 chipset. However, I don't want to lose the Windows installation, in case I ever need it, which is why I don't really want to dual boot it.

So I am wanted to convert the existing Windows installation into a VM running under Elementary OS. Any suggestions? Or I being too ambitious?

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can take a currently-functional Windows installation and convert it to a VirtualBox VM (and probably other VMs) relatively painlessly ... but it'll be done initially via Windows then later on elementary OS (or any other OS, really).

  1. The tool you'll need is disk2vhd. Be sure to get it only from Microsoft as there are bad actors around who have their own version of this utility. When making the disk image, be sure to include all partitions, otherwise the resulting file will not boot.
  2. Once you've created the VHD, copy the (large) file to a computer that has VirtualBox installed, and run this command in the terminal:
    VBoxManage clonehd <filename>.vhdx <filename>.vdi --format VDI
  3. Now that the file is in a format that VirtualBox can use, create a new Windows VM. When the wizard asks you about the storage device, choose the .vdi file you just created.
  4. Configure the rest of the VM as you would like, with the appropriate amount of CPU and memory resources. Be sure to check "Enable EFI".
  5. Boot the VM and install the VirtualBox extensions

This will give you a bit-for-bit copy of the Windows machine, including any licenses that may be active.

  • Thank you so much, that sounds straight forward. It will definitely my next project! Aug 17, 2021 at 13:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.