It can be handy for any number of reasons to create a virtual machine from your existing Windows 10 setup. A virtual machine allows you to quickly set up a replication of your current Windows 10 installation. It also allows you to test software that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to install on your PC. You will be able to safely test out tweaks or registry edits you want to make to the OS.
You can do this using various software (including Microsoft Hyper-V, which is integrated into Windows 10 Pro). But we found VMWare’s vCenter Converter to be simple and universally available, so we’ll be using that.
Learn how you can create a virtual machine from your existing Windows 10 installation.
Converting your Windows 10 to Virtual Machine
First, download VMware vCenter Converter. After clicking the Download link, you’ll need to register and create a “My VMware” account. This is a quick process and just requires an email and password.
After the download, install VMWare vCenter Converter in your Windows 10 PC.
Once installed, open vCenter Converter, then click “Convert machine.”
Next, select “Powered on” for the source type, click the drop-down menu and select “This local machine.” Click Next.
On the next screen, you can edit and specify which drives from your OS you want to virtualize: the devices, networks, and so on. In this tutorial, the total size of Windows 10 OS exceeds the capacity of where we want to save it. For this reason, the huge “D:” drive will be removed.
To do this, we clicked the “Data to copy” entry, then in the pane on the right, deselected drives to virtualize using the check boxes. In the pane on the left, you can change the system services you want to transfer to your virtual PC, network adapters and so on. We recommend keeping these as they are if you want the most accurate virtualization of your Windows 10 PC.
When you’re ready, click Next, choose where you want to save your virtual machine (you can put it straight onto an external hard drive if you would like), then let the conversion process begin. This can take a few hours, depending on the size of the Windows volumes you’re converting.
Once the conversion is done, you have successfully created a virtual machine from your existing Windows 10 PC. The next thing is to run it.
Note: If you want to run the virtual machine on another PC, go to its directory and copy it to an external hard drive. You may want to compress it using compression software like 7-Zip, WinZIP or WinRAR to save some space. Again, depending on the size of your VM, this may take a while. Plug the external drive into the other PC where you want to run the virtual machine. Transfer the file over and unzip it.
Running the virtual machine
On the computer where you want to run your virtual machine (which can be the same PC you’ve been using in this guide), you’ll need VMware’s free virtualization software VMware Workstation Player.
Once installed, open Workstation Player, click “Open a Virtual Machine,” then navigate to your newly created VM and click Open.
Before opening the VM, you can go to “Edit virtual machine settings” and change things like how much memory to allocate to it. When you’re ready to open it, click “Play virtual machine,” and you’re good to go!
Now that you have learned how to create a virtual machine from an existing Windows 10 setup, If you are further interested in VMs, take a look at our list of the best free virtualization software for Windows 10. You’ll need a lot of hard drive space for some VMs, so it’s also worth checking the health of your hard drives in Windows 10.