How to add NIC drivers for offline P2V in VMM2008

instructionWhen performing a physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversion of either a Windows 2000 SP4 server or any Windows based domain controller, the only supported method to do this is via an offline conversion. With offline P2V, the source computer restarts into the Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) before VMM converts the physical disks to Virtual Hard Disks (VHDs). The steps below describe how to identify and add the network drivers for a NIC not supported with in-box drivers during this process.

Note: For the purposes of the below example, I’m using a HP NC3163 Fast Ethernet NIC.

Identifying and adding the driver:

1. Collect the file from ‘x:\windows\inf’ while booted into WinPE. 

2. Open the log file and navigate to the bottom and search up for a failure indicating that a compatible Ethernet driver could not be found.

    < excerpt from >

               >>>  [DIF_SELECTBESTCOMPATDRV -     PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1229&SUBSYS_B1340E11&REV_08\3&13C0B0C5&0&28]
               >>>  Section start 2009/03/24 14:31:58.828
               cmd: wpeinit
               dvi: No class installer for ‘Ethernet Controller’
               dvi: No CoInstallers found
               dvi: Default installer: Enter 14:31:58.828
               dvi:      {Select Best Driver}
               !    dvi:           Selecting driver failed(0xe0000228)
                dvi:      {Select Best Driver – exit(0xe0000228)}
               !    dvi: Default installer: failed!
               !    dvi: Error 0xe0000228: There are no compatible drivers for this device.
               <<<  Section end 2009/03/24 14:31:58.828
               <<<  [Exit status: FAILURE(0xe0000228)]

3. Verify the PnPID of the installed NIC by collecting the NFO file from the server.  Use the following steps to collect this file and locate the PnPID of the installed NIC:
    a.      Click Start, point to Run and type "msinfo32" (without the quotes) in the Open box and click Ok.
               b.     This will open the System Information dialog.
    c.    Under System Summary, expand Components and then Network followed by     Adapter.
    d.    In the right hand pane, a list of all the installed adapters is displayed.
    e.    Scroll down to locate the physical adapter and note the PnPID.
    f.    This PnPID should match the one listed in the error from the
    g.    This should look similar to the following:

               Name [00000008] HP NC3163 Fast Ethernet NIC
               Product Name HP NC3163 Fast Ethernet NIC
               PNP Device ID PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1229&SUBSYS_B1340E11&REV_08\3&13C0B0C5&0&28

4. Next, locate the correct driver for this NIC from the hardware vendor.  A quick search for the NIC used in the example turned up the following downloads for this NIC on HP’s site.

5. Now we need to locate the correct WinPE driver from the hardware vendor’s site for the offline conversion.  Since VMM2008 uses the version of WinPE from Windows Server 2008, you will want to first locate W2K8/Vista drivers for the installed adapter.

6. Here are the drivers available from the hardware vendor for this particular NIC.  Note the absence of W2K8/Vista drivers.

    Microsoft MS-DOS
    Microsoft Windows 2000
    Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
    Microsoft Windows Server 2003
    Microsoft Windows Server 2003 for 64-bit extended systems

7. Here is where we’re going to run into a bit of trouble with this particular NIC.  The NIC is pretty old and the vendor doesn’t provide any drivers for Vista or W2K8.  We’re going to have to try some older drivers and hopefully one of those will work, but it will be trial and error, plusit may end up that none of them are compatible with WinPE.

8. I selected the latest released driver for this adapter which happens to be for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (cp009602) and downloaded it to the C:\HP directory.  The contents of the driver download can be extracted by double clicking on it.  It’s always a good idea to extract the contents to a different folder than where the actual executable is.

Here are the extracted contents to the C:\HP\Flat folder:


9. Now we need to copy the contents of C:\HP\Flat to ‘C:\Program Files\Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008\Driver Import’ directory.  Create a logical folder structure under the ‘Driver Import’ folder such as …NIC\HP NC3163.

10. Then we’re ready to start the P2V wizard again in SCVMM.

11. Select the Offline conversion.  This is on the same screen where you select the drives to convert.  This option is located near the lower left hand corner on this screen.  Once expanded, select ‘Offline conversion’ and OK.  The following screen is called ‘Specify offline conversion options’.  The default option is ‘obtain IP automatically’ but you’ll want to change that to ‘use the following IPv4’.  This will automatically pull the IP information from the source and display it in a window that can be edited.  Verify this information is correct and continue forward and complete the P2V wizard. 

If the driver selected was the correct one, the P2V process  should complete without any further problems.  If it wasn’t, then follow the same steps outlined above with another of the drivers from the hardware vendor’s site.  Hopefully one will work with this version of WinPE and allow the P2V conversion to complete as expected. 

Another option is to temporarily install another newer NIC in the server as a workaround just to get the server virtualized. 

For information on the requirements for source computers for P2V conversions please refer to the following TechNet article:

Mike Briggs | Senior Support Escalation Engineer