Migrate Windows XP from VMware vSphere to Nutanix Acropolis

Today’s post is how to Migrate Windows XP from VMware vSphere to Nutanix Acropolis. You would be surprised (or not 😉 ) how many enterprises runs their desktops on Windows XP. There are various different reasons behind it. One of the most common is legacy application, which requires Windows XP.

NOTE: Windows XP it is not officially supported as guest operating system on Nutanix AHV. For list of supported guest operating system see Nutanix official documentation


  • AOS or newer
  • AHV 20160601.20 or newer
  • network connection between legacy VMware vSphere and Nutanix Acropolis
  • mounted container from Nutanix Acropolis on legacy VMware ESXi farm
  • basic knowledge about Nutanix Acropolis and VMware vSphere
  • Images with VirtIO drivers in two versions:
    • latest – for virtIO drivers – you can download it from Fedora project
  • VM local administrator password
  • Remove all snapshots from VM, before migration

Step #1 – Storage migrate virtual machine VMDK files to Nutanix container

Use vSphere client and migrate VM disks to Nutanix AHV container.

Step #2 – Install  MergeIDE.bat

MergeIDE.bat. This is a really important step that will prepare the system to boot using an IDE driver when we bring it up in KVM. Skipping this step will likely result in blue screen errors and much frustration.

MergeIDE can be downloaded at:

NOTE: restart VM after installation and shut server down.

Step #3 – Create VM on Nutanix AHV

  • Shutdown source VM
  • Create new VM on AHV
    • in disk section, choose following:
      • Operation: CLONE FROM ADSF FILE
      • BUS Type: IDE
      • Path – start with / and Prism will show you available container / folders / files – Always point on -flat.vmdk file
      • Size – disk size – cannot be smaller than source VM
Migrate WinXP to AHV

Migrate WinXP to AHV

  • Mount ISO to CDROM with Fedora VirtIO drivers
  • Create one more disk, 1 GB, with PCI bus
  • Create new network adapter and conenct it to the right vlan
  • Power VM on

Step #4 – Install VirtIO drivers

  • Log in to server VM over Prism console
  • Follow Hardware installation wizards:
    • for network adapter
    • for SCSI controller – just leave it without drivers, no SCSI drivers for Windows XP
    • for PCI disk controller
    • for (PCI device) Ballooning

Step #5 – Clone VM disks

In Step #5 we will change disk bus from IDE to PCI, which is much faster and more reliable.

  • Power VM off
  • From Prism – delete small, 1 GB, disk from VM
  • Log in to CVM over SSH and convert IDE1 disk to PCI.0 disk
    • List VM disks – vm.disk_list <vm_name>

  • Delete pci.0 –  disk vm.disk_delete WinXpSP3 pci.0
  • Get VM details and check which disk is not CDROM disk. In my example, ide.0 is OS disk (ide.1 has cdrom: True). Note down vmdisk_uuid

  • Convert ide.0 to pci.0

  • Delete disk ide.0 from VM –  vm.disk_delete WinXpSP3 ide.0

Power VM on and you are done.

Artur Krzywdzinski

Artur is Consulting Architect at Nutanix. He has been using, designing and deploying VMware based solutions since 2005 and Microsoft since 2012. He specialize in designing and implementing private and hybrid cloud solution based on VMware and Microsoft software stacks, datacenter migrations and transformation, disaster avoidance. Artur holds VMware Certified Design Expert certification (VCDX #077).

  • Shawn Ducharme

    Great article. Any luck migrating 64bit Windows XP to AHV? I have had no success, unable to run MergeIDE on 64bit Windows XP or 64bit Windows Server 2003 OSes.


    • Shawn, have you tried migration without MergeIDE? I did not try to migrate x64 yet. Maybe I should.