Saturday, September 3, 2011


Windows 8 Supports Mounting VHD Files As Physical Hard Disk Drive

In continuing with the improvements in core Windows functionality and also oft-requested features, Microsoft were adding native Explorer support for ISO and VHD files in Windows 8.

While terabytes of storage are available to all of us, managing disk (or disc) image formats remains important for a number of mission-critical operations in many organizations and among power users. We have already discussed about new ISO Mount Feature on Windows 8 in my previous post, and here lets see what Windows 8 has to do with the VHD Files. More support for VHD is a big request, so stay tuned for Windows 8, powerful Operating System from Microsoft.

Another place what Microsoft have simplified access is with Virtual Hard Disk files. Virtual Hard Disks are the format used by Virtualization software Hyper-V or Virtual PC.

The Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format is a publicly-available image format specification that allows encapsulation of the hard disk into an individual file for use by the operating system as a virtual disk in all the same ways physical hard disks are used.

The VHD format is used by Hyper-V to store information for Virtual Machines. In Windows7 & Windows Server 2008 r2 we have the ability to boot the system off a VHD file, and we had command line and MMC plugins for managing them. VHDs are handy for portability of system settings or to play back what has been saved as a snapshot of a system.

Accessing a VHD in Windows 8 is as simple as what we’ve done with ISO files, but there is one important difference: rather than appearing as a removable drive (as is the case with ISO), VHDs appear as new hard drives.

Accessing a VHD

Underneath the covers, Windows provides a virtual drive letter pointing to the volume within the VHD. You’ll notice that the icon for the drive G: below is the same as the icon for a VHD file.

Windows 8 Supports Mounting VHD Files As Physical Hard Disk Drive 1

Figure: The VHD appears as a hard drive

You can then work with the virtual hard disk just like any other file storage in your system, whether you are modifying, adding or removing files.`

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Figure: Ejecting the VHD

Once you’ve finished working with the VHD, like an ISO, you can right-click it and click Eject (or just use the Eject button on the ribbon). Any changes you’ve made remain saved within the file.

Here’s a quick demo to show you what it looks like to mount ISOs and VHDs on a new “Windows 8” system. Download this video to view it in your favourite media player:
High quality MP4 | Lower quality MP4


About bench3 -

Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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