Update: VMware released the GA version of 5.0 and you can download it here.
A few days ago VMware released a significant update to their standalone converter utility, Converter 5.0 beta (download here). One of the cool new features is the ability to re-align partitions. By default Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP do not have properly aligned partitions. This can cause addition IOs and poor VM performance. Windows Vista and Server 2008 and later are smarter and automatically align partitions on a 1MB boundary.
So I decided to try out the new feature and verify that a conversion process did in fact align the partitions. To perform the test I already had a Server 2003 VM in VMware Workstation 7 that had an improperly aligned partition:
Here you can see a starting offset of 32,256 bytes which is 31.5KB. No good! You ask how did I get that information? Simple…from a command prompt type:
wmic partition get blocksize, startingoffset, name, index
Next I fired up Converter 5.0, ran through the wizard to convert it to an ESXi VM, and saw this nifty screen: