VMware converter – no source disk

It’s been a while since I had to P2V anything because in most places, that phase has already ended, but certianly we still have  a lot of envirnments where P2V is still happening. I was helping a friend P2V some of his servers in efforts to consolidate his DC etc and I ran across something interesting that I thought was worth sharing.

So I started the converter and provided my domain credentials (I was a local admin on the target server) and it came back with something interesting. It allowed me to deploy the client, however it also said that it didnt see any source disk “no source disk”. What this meant was that our plan to resize the disk partitions during convertion were kinda thrown out the window. I was pretty sure it was going to P2V (but I didnt try it so I can’t confirm), but that also meant that I would have to P2V and then clone the disk to a smaller sized vmdk etc, mess around with vmx and then attach the new vmdk to the VM. That’s silly, you shouldn’t have to do all that. So why was this happening?

The server we were trying to P2V was running Win 2008 R2, naturally I wanted to try a few other servers with the same OS and guess what they all behaved the same way “no source disk”. After digging around a little bit, I came to find out that in fact it was the infamous Win 2008 R2 security that would make this happen, yep you guess it – UAC. In Win 2008, Admin Approval Mode was disabled by default however, in 2008 R2 Admin Approval mode is enabled by default for all admins except the built in admin account. So how can you fix it? There are three options:

Option 1:

When providing windows credential during the convertion, use the built in local admin account. As Admin Approval Mode is disabled for this built in user, you should not see the “no source disk” issue if you use this account to deploy the agent on the target 2008 R2 server.

Option 2:

Deploy the agent locally on the target server, this allows the agent to me installed with less restrictions compared to the remote installation using a different local admin account as long as you right click on the agent and do “Run As Administrator”.

Option 3:

I like this one, but for no particular reason. Perhaps because I can still deploy the agent remotely and still use my domain account to move forward with the convertion. On the target server, go to the following location:

Local Security Policy —-> Local Policies —-> Security Options —->User Account Control: Run all administrators in Admin Approval Mode: Enabled

Disable the above policy and restart the target machine. Run the converter again and this time you should see the source disk on the target machine. I think enabling this policy after you are done would probably not be a bad idea, after all it saves you from yourself but also sort of gets in the way too at times.