Well, I can’t blame VMware, the new version of conversion tools will not convert Windows 2000 to a VM correctly. Instead of fighting with that, I found a simpler way to do this.
The Windows 2000 server I was virtualizing is of the 32 bit variety and had a USB port on it. So, off to Clonezilla I went. I booted up Clonezilla and an hour later [33Gb], I had a cloned copy of the windows 2000 server on a USB hard drive.
Off to the VM world, and here’s the trick. Pick the Windows 2003 32bit setups, you must set the SCSI Controller to use BusLogic Parallel. This is the only setup that works out of the box. I had copied the Clonezilla ISO to the VMware ESXi box and booted the VM using the CD pointed to the Clonezilla ISO. I attached the USB drive to the VMware ESXi box, told VMware to attach it to the VM and in a few hours, I had a dumped the copy into the VM. I did try to use any of the other SCSI controllers, but it appears the only one that will work on Windows 2000 is the BusLogic Parallel. When I attach any other kind of SCSI controller, and try to run the VMware Tools update, it never find the correct driver. Well, I can not really blame VMware, after all, Windows 2000 is over 15 years old now and should have been replaced. [But like in this case, the customer wants to stay on the Windows 2000 platform].
One last trick with Windows 2000, use the Network adapters as VMXNET 2 (Enhanced). VMware still has the driver for Windows 2000 enabled and these are the fastest Ethernet drivers you can use in Windows 2000.