How to Create VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) in Windows

Back in Windows 7, Microsoft introduced all the features necessary to create and manage VHDs (Virtual Hard Disks) directly in Windows. A virtual hard disk is a simple container file that mimics the file structure and other elements of a physical hard disk drive. VHDs can be stored anywhere in your hard drive and are widely used by IT professionals in server environments. In fact, VHDs are typically used as hard disks for virtual machines and have many advantages over your typical partitions.

  1. Being simple container files, there is no need for you to actually partition your hard drive.
  2. VHDs allow you to create dynamic volumes so that you don’t have to allocate all the disk space at once. The VHD size will only increase as you add files or data to it.
  3. Since VHDs act as single files, they are easy to back up.
  4. You can create a dynamic VHD, install an operating system and dual boot it. Being dynamic, you don’t have to allocate a big chunk of space for the OS in your hard drive.
  5. When you are done with a VHD, you can simply delete the VHD container file to gain back your space. There is no need for complicated partitioning.
  6. VHDs are widely supported, which simply means that you can mount them as physical hard drives on Windows, Linux, and Mac.
  7. VHDs can even be accessed via local networks.

Creating a virtual hard disk in Windows is easy and straightforward. To start, search for “Administrative Tools” in the Start menu and open it.

create-vhd-windows-admin-tools

Once the Administrative Tools window has been opened, double-click on the “Computer Management” shortcut.

create-vhd-windows-computer-management

In the Computer Management window, select and right-click on the option “Disk Management” under “Storage” appearing on the left sidebar. From the context menu, select the option “Create VHD.”

create-vhd-windows-select-create-vhd

The above action will open the “Create and Attach VHD” window. Here, click on the “Browse” button, and select the location to store the VHD file. After that, select the size of your VHD either in MBs, GBs or TBs. In my case, I’m creating a VHD with 3 GB of space.

Use the default option for the VHD format. Select the VHD type by selecting either of the radio buttons’ “Fixed” or “Dynamic” size. In my case, I’m selecting the option “Dynamically expanding” so that I don’t have to allocate all the space at once.

Once you are done with everything, click on the OK button to save the changes.

create-vhd-windows-initial-vhd-settings

With the above action, the virtual disk is listed in the disk management utility. Just right-click on the disk name and then select the option “Initialize.”

create-vhd-windows-select-initialize

In the Initialize Disk window, leave the default options as they are and click on the “OK” button to continue.

create-vhd-windows-initialize-disk

After initializing the disk, right-click on the disk and then select the option “New Simple Volume.”

create-vhd-windows-select-new-simple-volume

This action will open the Simple Volume Wizard. Just click on the “Next” button to continue.

create-vhd-windows-volume-wizard

Here in this window, select the size of the volume and click on the “Next” button.

create-vhd-windows-volume-size

Now assign the drive letter you want or let the defaults be and click on the “Next” button.

create-vhd-windows-drive-letter

By default, Windows uses the NTFS file format to create the volume. Again, let the default be and click on the “Next” button.

create-vhd-windows-format-partition

The wizard will show you all the settings; review them and click on the “Finish” button to create the volume.

create-vhd-windows-view-settings

You’ve successfully created a VHD, and you can see that in the Disk Management utility.

create-vhd-windows-vhd-created

The good thing is that Windows automatically mounts the VHD as soon as it has been created. You can see the mounted drive in your file explorer.

create-vhd-windows-vhd-file-explorer

Once you are done working with the VHD, you can unmount it by right-clicking on it and selecting the option “Eject.”

create-vhd-windows-select-eject

If you want to manually mount the VHD, then navigate to where you’ve stored the VHD container file and double click on it.

create-vhd-windows-vhd-in-file-explorer

That’s it. It is that simple to create a VHD in Windows. Do comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences about creating and using VHDs in Windows.

Leave a Reply

Yeah! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic! Check out our comment policy here. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.