I searched the web, but had a hard time finding good info about converting an existing physical Windows PC to a virtual PC.
I had an old Windows XP machine with a couple of applications that were incompatible with newer Windows. In case of a hardware fault, I wanted to port the entire system to a virtual machine on a new Windows 10 PC.
This was for a home customer of mine, and I wanted therefore to find a free solution for him.
It turned out to be quite easy once I figured out how. The applications used are free for home use. This is how I finally did it:
1a) Download VMware vCenter Converter Standalone. You will need to setup an account at vmware to download this.
1b) Install it on the old computer.
It says on the site that it works on Vista and newer, but it installed fine on my Windows XP.
1c) Connect an external drive
1d) Run the application. Select Convert Machine, Local Machine. Make it save the .vmx file on an external disk.
2a) Download VMware Workstation 12 Player
The site says it's just a trial. I was afraid it would be a time-limited trial, but it does not seem so.
2b) Install it on the new computer.
2c) Connect the external disk to the new computer.
2d) Start the VMware player, select Open a Virtual Machine, and select the file .vmx from the external disk.