You have an old machine running old software under an old operating system. You want to migrate to a new operating system but need to continue running your old apps.
Answer: VMWare 5.5.1.
Using 'dd' under Linux you can create an image file of your entire disk, assuming you have enough space in your filesystem and that you're running a 2.6 kernel (if the desk drive you are imaging is larger than 2 gigs).
There is a tutorial called Virtualizing Your Desktop using VMWare.
The idea is to create a blank virtual machine in VMWare, copy the dd image to the vmware data directory for the machine you just created and edit the config file. VMWare is then able to open the image file directly.
The .vmdk file would look something like this:
# Disk DescriptorFile
# Extent description
RW <total sectors> FLAT "server.dd” 0
# The Disk Data Base
ddb.virtualHWVersion = "3"
ddb.geometry.cylinders = "<cylinders>"
ddb.geometry.heads = "<heads>"
ddb.geometry.sectors = "<sectors>"
ddb.adapterType = "ide" or "buslogic"
The key is the "flat" keywords. See the tutorial for more info.