Mirroring a system in a virtual machine

Jan 23, 2019
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I have an “old” desktop computer that runs Windows 7 Pro, with a number of hard drives, where the C: drive is >500 GB. I have a new laptop that runs Windows 10, with a solid-state drive with a 200 GB capacity.

I would like to run a Window 7 Pro Virtual Machine from my laptop that mirrors the desktop computer from and external USB hard drive. In other words, I would like to plug an external USB hard drive into my laptop and run a virtual Windows 7 Pro machine that mirrors my “old” desktop system.

It seems like I need to do two things: mirror my desktop computer onto an external USB hard drive, and setup a Windows 7 virtual machine on my laptop. My first question is whether this is even possible. My second question is how do I find help on performing this combination of tasks (I can find help on mirroring my desktop, or on setting up a virtual machine, but not the combination)?
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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Not entirely sure of what you're trying to make here.
From what I see, this won't be a "mirror", but rather a copy, running in a VM in a different system.

You can run a VM tool, and use a VHD that lives on an external drive.
But it won't be a 'mirror'. It will be its own instance.

And this WILL run into licensing/activation issues.
 
Jan 23, 2019
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Thank you. I was incorrect in describing it as a mirror. As you pointed out, it is a copy, and it sounds like I should be able to use a VM tool and a VHD that lives on an external hard drive. I guess I should look for suitable VM tools. Ultimately, I would like to stop using the desktop, but there may still be licensing/activation issues.
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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I use VirtualBox for VM duties.
You can probably create a VHD from the existing desktop system, and run that as a guest in some other hardware.

But, this will run into major licensing issues.
Win 7 will see this VirtualMachine as simply another pile of hardware. Requiring its own license.
 
Jan 23, 2019
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Jan 23, 2019
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Thank you. I will find out more about VirtualBox. I used VMWare Player for an old XP system in Windows 7. This XP virtual machine exists on my hard drive that also has Windows 7, and worked fine for helping to transition from an existing XP system to a new (at that time) Windows 7 system. The old XP computer was discarded. The challenge that I now face is that the new system (the laptop with Windows 10) has a smaller (albeit, much faster) solid-state hard drive, so I now need to use an external hard drive. It sounds like VirtualBox or VMWare should be able to accommodate the external hard drive, but I need to learn more. Thanks again.
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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Just be aware that running a Win 7, in a VM, through a USB connection...will not be the greatest in terms of performance.
What are you actually needing this for?
 

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