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Editors' Review

Download.com Staff Sep 5, 2010

Microsoft's free Sysinternals Disk2vhd utility creates a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) image of a physical disk drive for Microsoft Virtual PC and Hyper-V virtual machines. It's built on the Volume Snapshot capability introduced in Windows XP. Disk2vhd uses this capability to create accurate "snapshots" of disk volumes selected for conversion. Disk2vhd can also create VHDs on local volumes, even those that are being converted. It preserves your disk partitions and only copies the data on selected disk volumes, which lets you convert only system volumes while excluding data volumes. The biggest difference between Disk2vhd and other disk virtualization tools is that Disk2vhd works on online systems.

This compact tool downloads as a self-extracting compressed file that runs upon opening, so it's portable and has a wide range of potential uses, including a command-line option. The tool's interface is nothing more than a small dialog listing the target system's disk volumes with checkboxes to select below an entry field for the VHD disk name and directory. Create, Cancel, and Close buttons are the only controls, except for a Help button and a link to the developer's site. You simply check the volume to image, create a destination, click Create, and the tool does the rest, displaying a green progress bar as it works. We chose a Vista installation to image; a 150GB physical volume required 45GB of disk space for a VHD and took no more time to create than a thorough backup. To use VHDs created by Disk2vhd, you simply need to create a virtual machine and add the VHD to it as an IDE disk. Be careful not to attach a VHD to a system you plan to boot from or Windows will change the disk signature.

Disk2vhd works in copies of Windows XP SP2, Vista, and 7 with Software Assurance. It's free, and it simplifies the process of creating VHDs for VMs in Windows.

Full Specifications

What's new in version 2.01

General

Release April 29, 2015
Date Added April 29, 2015
Version 2.01

Operating Systems

Operating Systems Windows 2003, Windows 8, Windows Vista, Windows, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows XP
Additional Requirements None

Popularity

Total Downloads 32,962
Downloads Last Week 4
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Developer's Description

Disk2vhd is a utility that creates VHD (Virtual Hard Disk - Microsoft's Virtual Machine disk format) versions of physical disks for use in Microsoft Virtual PC or Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs). You can run Disk2vhd on a system that is online. Disk2vhd uses Windows' Volume Snapshot capability, introduced in Windows XP, to create consistent point-in-time snapshots of the volumes you want to include in a conversion. You can even have Disk2vhd create the VHDs on local volumes, even ones being converted. The Disk2vhd user interface lists the volumes present on the system. It will create one VHD for each disk on which selected volumes reside. It preserves the partitioning information of the disk, but only copies the data contents for volumes on the disk that are selected. This enables you to capture just system volumes and exclude data volumes.