QEMU/KVM Conversion

Now that Broadcom is in the process of destroying VMware, I’m trying to convert my VMware Workstation Pro VMs to QEMU/KVM. Apologies if I get some terminology wrong as I am just getting my feet wet.

I have one pesky VM of an old, old, old (did I say old?) machine running on VMware. I convert it to an ova format.

Now that ova file imports into virtualbox, and even back into VMware, but trying to import it into QEMU/KVM gives this error on booting:
Booting from Hard Disk…
Boot failed: not a bootable disk
No bootable device
I notice the virtual disk points to the ova file, although I would expect it to (eventually) become a qcow2 file.

Very low priority, and I’m assuming I’m overlooking something simple, but would be nice to clear this up. Open to any guidance. Thanks

i converted a bunch of VM’s from virtualbox to qemu a few years back, oldest linux was rhel4, i made some notes which say:

on the host run this to convert the image:

qemu-img convert -f vdi -O qcow2 centos47.vdi -p -S 512 centos47.qcow2

in the vm run this to add the virtio drivers to the kernel:

mkinitrd --with virtio_pci --with virtio_blk -f /boot/initrd-$(uname -r).img $(uname -r)

in the vm edit /boot/grub/device.map, replacing sda with vda so it boots the correct disk:

(hd0)     /dev/vda

on the host edit the xml to match (either in virt-manager or virt-xml/virsh edit):

<disk type='file' device='disk'>
  <driver name='qemu' type='qcow2'/>
  <source file='/tmp/centos47.qcow2'/>
  <target dev='vda' bus='virtio'/>
  <alias name='virtio-disk0'/>
  <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x08' function='0x0'/>

most of that assumes you got the vm running in the first place though.

you probably should have removed any guest drivers first, and how did you export/convert the image? how did you import it - i assume you didn’t try to setup a UEFI VM when the old image must have been BIOS-based?

Thanks. Food for thought, but I’m sure I mentioned that this VM is OLD: It’s 30 years old. It’s SCO UnixWare 7.1.4, so I’m somewhat limited in what I can putz around with on the guest side.

its possible to run a fresh install of SCO under qemu-kvm, whether that means you’ll be able to convert from vmware (via virtualbox) to qemu is another matter.


Some 10+ years ago we got a vmware image that back then did convert from something to something. Our libvirt/KVM might have been on CentOS 5 back then. That does not help today. In fact, I had more trouble to migrate VM from CentOS 7 to Alma 9 with the spice/vnc thingy.

Thanks. I saw that fresh install article and followed it. For reasons unknown, the fresh install accepts the license (yes, even after 30 years I still had it). It installs, boots and I can log in at the console. However when trying to telnet or ssh into it, it complains that it isn’t licensed and drops the connection. That’s why I’m trying so hard to convert rather than start over.

if local console login works but remote doesn’t, there’s probably some script being called from /etc/profile or somewhere that needs killing off