From Clonezilla Image to VMWare Workstation – A Journey

Written by James McDonald

August 15, 2020

So when I have to work on some ancient out of Microsoft Support system. I take a disk image using CloneZilla to make sure I can access the data if things go skew whiff or there is a need to refer back to it later

It’s nice to be able to restore and boot the OS from the Clonezilla taken image in VMWare in the event you want to see what icons, shortcuts, settings and apps the operating system had.

Usually with paid products they have some magic that does the reconfig on the image to just make it magically boot but with CloneZilla not so much.

  1. In Clonezilla take an image of the entire disk and save it to an external USB. On the drive I imaged it was a 1TB drive with roughly 450GB of data ( this took approximately ~3 hrs to take the image for the i3 computer connected to a Toshiba USB3.0 2TB Drive )
  2. In VMWare Workstation create a Windows 7 VM with a virtual drive the same size as the disk you cloned. In my case it was a 1TB drive so I specified 1000GB
  3. Boot the Windows 7 VM from a Clonezilla ISO and then connect the USB Drive which contains the image of the physical disk.
  4. Restore the previous created Clonezilla image on the USB drive and restore it to the 1TB vmdk.
  5. This next bit was the reason it wouldn’t boot. Windows 7 comes with the lsi_sas.sys but it doesn’t start the driver by default. You get into circular re-boot territory. I tried repair and other options but no joy.
  6. Using the information here was the solution. I just had to edit registry of the non-booting hardrive and tell the LSI_SAS driver to start on boot.
  7. This is where you need another copy of Windows. Connect the non-booting CloneZilla restored Hard Drive to your working Windows VM and then open regedit and Load Hive… the SYSTEM hive (located \Windows\System32\config\SYSTEM from the non-bootable VMDK and tell it to start the correct driver. See the aforementioned website for the step by step to doing this. Just in case the site goes away I had to Load the SYSTEM hive and edit the Start param to be HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\local_hkey\ControlSet001\services\LSI_SAS\Start = 0
  8. Once I did this edit and then reconnected the 1TB Drive back in my Windows 7 VM it booted fine.


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