VirtualBox VDH problem

My 38-year daughter has seen the light and is now rocking a new-to-her laptop running Ubuntu Mate 20.04.3 setup. Unfortunately, she can’t be completely weaned yet from Windows 7, because there is a deprecated Microsoft Windows program on which she relies (for time being).

No problem. Old Dad can strip down the old Win7 to essentials, run the 64- bit version of Disk2vhd on it, and create a VHD file, then use that as the “drive” for the new virtual machine on the new Linux laptop, right? He’s done it before several times before with Windows XP.

Except, apparently, he can’t. Oracle VirtualBox 6.1.26 can “see” the new drive, but it’s a grayed-out option and can’t be selected. I’ve tried running Disk2vhd several times with different options, but get the same result. (I have avoided using Disk2vhd’s VDHX option, as per instructions.) FWIW, the VHD file is in the neighborhood of 260Gb. I don’t know if that exceeds an upper limit file-size limit or not.

Also I have tried the same VDH files on another laptop’s newly-installed Ubuntu Mate 20.04.3 — same result. I don’t think hardware is an issue, because her ‘new’ machine is running an Intel Core i7 10th Gen with 12 Gb of RAM. The alternate machine is only an older Intel Core i3, albeit with 16 Gb RAM (because it usually runs one or more VMs). In any event, we never get past the first step of incorporating the VHD, so the rest of the hardware setup is a moot point.

I’m time constrained, because I’m visiting my daughter in Florida, and my wife and I must return home as soon as possible. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks.

I am not familiar with Disk2vhd so I can’t be of any help for that specifically. But, can the deprecated Windows program be run via wine? or secondly can you create a vm with Windows 7 iso and re-install the program she has to have? Just some thoughts. Good luck.

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I’m going to take a guess that Win7 came with the laptop so it’s vendor locked (OEM) and not a retail version (bought seperately).

That prevents installation on hardware it’s not shipped with and may also prevent it from running if you move it to different hardware (not sure).

It might be worth trying virt-manager instead of VirtualBox too, I think you can boot a HDD raw from a USB without having to convert it but there’s options to convert too.

Just an aside… I own 2 retail boxes of Windows 7 Ultimate and I can loan you one if it’ll help. (im in the UK so shipping may be slow)

Microsoft Expressions 2 probably uses so many Microsoft sub-routines that I’m guessing WINE won’t stand much of a chance, but I can try it if @Ulfnic 's suggesion doesn’t work. Thanks, MoC!

It’s a weird situation. The label on the bottom of the old laptop says that it’s a Windows 8 machine. But when my daughter received the machine from a friend, it was running Win 7. Go figure!

Yes, my problem might be OEM vendor lock. (That’s one of many reasons why I fled to Linux back in 2008!) I’m going through one more conversion process. If that fails, I’ll try a VB install of Win 7 (will I need a license key), then (assuming my daughter can find the CDs), we’ll install MS Expressions.

I haven’t used virt-manager before, so I’m not certain I’ll have the time to climb the learning curve before our departure. But it’s something with which I should become acquainted. Thanks for the suggestion.

If it’s Win7 OEM you won’t need a key but it also won’t work.
If it’s Win7 Retail (purchased seperately) you’ll need a key.

virt-manager is surprisingly easy to use. If you’re willing to give it a go and screenshot where you get stuck i’ll walk you through it.

The only tricky part is mounting the CD if it’s not a USB CD-ROM. Usually it’s easier to just burn it to an ISO file and use that.