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Disk2vhd 1.64

Disk2vhd Editor's Review

Create virtual hard drive images for Microsoft Virtual PC with this handy admin utility.

Virtual Machines are really hot right now. With them, you can run another operating system on your computer, without having to blow the box away or configure confusing and complicated boot loaders. One of my favorite virtual machines is Microsoft Virtual PC, for a number of reasons that I, unfortunately, don't have the time to get into right now. However, it does have one really cool component called Disk2vhd that allows you to create virtual hard drives for that virtual machine. It’s a specialized utility for Windows; and its pretty cool.

Disk2vhd is a utility that creates virtual hard disks, or Microsoft's Virtual Machine disk format, versions of physical disks for use in Microsoft Virtual PC or Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines. The difference between Disk2vhd and other physical-to-virtual disk tools is that you can run the app on a system that’s online. Disk2vhd uses Windows' Volume Snapshot, introduced in Windows XP, to create snapshots of the volumes you want to convert. You can even have Disk2vhd create the VHDs on local volumes, even ones being converted. However, the app's performance is better when the VHD is stored on a disk other than one being converted.

Disk2vhd preserves the physical disk's partitioning information, 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, for example. Microsoft Virtual PC supports a maximum virtual disk size of 127GB. If you create a VHD from a disk larger than 127GB, you won't usable from within Virtual PC. On first boot, a VM booting a captured copy of Windows will detect the VM's hardware and automatically install drivers. If the required drivers are not present, you can install them via the Virtual PC or Hyper-V integration components.

App Pro’s: Free, supports command line usage,

App Con’s: highly specialized utility not generally meant for consumers

Conclusion: Disk2vhd is an important utility for system admins that must mass produce or administer VM builds. It runs on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and higher, including x64 systems. The app is fairly easy to use, and as long as you understand how to use a VM like Microsoft Virtual PC, then you should have little trouble using the utility to create backups or multiple versions of the same virtual PC.



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