By Alison / Last Updated April 21, 2022

Can you convert a VM into ISO file?

 

Case:

I have been working on a virtual machine for work, and I am wondering is there a way to convert a VM to an ISO file so that I could use this outside of a virtual environment, on a physical computer?

- Question from www.reddit.com

As you may know, VMware Virtual Machine Disk files (VMDK) basically cover all VM data, and can be used to clone VMware virtual machines. However, they cannot be recognized by Windows.

If you want to transfer all of your VM data to a physical machine, you may want to know if there is a way to convert VM to ISO image, which can be installed on any virtualization platform, as well as on bare metal.

Convert VMDK to ISO

Unfortunately, there are few ways to do this. If you are using Linux, then you can convert VMDK to ISO by using dd and qemu-img commands. But if you are using Windows, you will need to resort to third party software.

Actually, if you just want to perform V2P conversion, there will be more choices. For example, you can backup the system and restore it to a physical machine. I will introduce how to convert VM to ISO and V2P conversion both in this article.

How to convert a VM into ISO file via QEMU-IMG command

1. Install and put both dd and qemu-img program in the system path. Open a Command Prompt window in the folder where the source VMDK file is, and run the following commands to convert the source VMDK file to raw image.

qemu-img convert -f vmdk filename.vmdk filename.raw

2. And then run the following command to convert the raw image to ISO file.

dd if=filename.raw of=filename.iso

Note: replace filename with the file name of your VMDK file.

How to transfer VM data via V2P conversion

If you are using Windows, there is no built-in way to convert VM to ISO files, and few third-party software can do it.

However, and an easy alternative, you can back up data on VM and restore it to the physical machine via backup tools. By installing backup agent on your virtual machine, you can backup and restore your virtual machine as it is a physical machine.

Here I recommend you an affordable alternative: AOMEI Centralized Backupper, a professional backup software that capable of File, System, Disk, Partition, and SQL Server Backup automatically and remotely.

Next, I will show you how to perform V2P conversion via AOMEI Centralized Backupper. You can click the following button to start a free trial.

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How to perform V2P migration via AOMEI Centralized Backupper

1. Launch AOMEI Centralized Backupper, and navigate to Computers > Uncontrolled Computers. Check your physical machine and the virtual machine (with a static IP) from the Computers list, and click Request Control.

It will pop up a request window on both of the machines, once you are authorized you don’t need to repeat this step later.

Request control

2. Navigate to Tasks > New Task > System Backup.

System backup

3. Click + Add Computers to specify the virtual machine, click OK to confirm.

Add Computers

4. Click Step 2 to specify a Share or NAS device to store the system backup, and then click Start Backup.

Start Backup

5. The created task will be listed separately in Tasks. Click Advanced > Restore on the right top of the task.

Restore system backup

6. Specify the system backup as the restore source, and select Restore this system backup option, check Restore system to other location option below, and click Next.

Restore this system backup

7. Select restore to another computer option and specify the destination physical machine and its system disk. Click Next to continue.

Restore to another computer

8. Review the Restore summary and click Start Restore to complete the V2P conversion.

Restore summary

Summary

Sometimes third-party software may help you better when there’s basically no native approach can solve your problems, such like convert VM to ISO file, or even clone VMDK to physical disk without an operating system.

In this article, I showed how to convert VM to ISO image on Linux machines, and introduced 1 alternative to backup and restore VM as physical machine. Hope it could help you.