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How to Create and Mount a Virtual Hard Disk in Windows

In Windows 7, Microsoft introduced a new way to back up your computer called Backup and Restore. Basically, it allowed you to back up all your data elsewhere, and also gave you the ability to create a system image.

If you chose to create a system image file, you will end up with a large VHD file. This file can then be used to restore your entire system later. This tool was so popular that it was kept in Windows 8 and Windows 10. If you go to Control Panel, you will see one applet called “Backup and Restore” (Windows 7).

The good thing about backing up your computer using this method, besides being able to completely restore it later, is that you can attach this VHD file to any Windows 7, 8, or 10 computer and access the data just like normal. HDD. disk.

So if you just need to copy a few files from a backup, it makes much more sense to just attach the VHD file to your computer rather than restoring the backup, which will clean up your machine first.

In this article, I will explain how to attach this VHD file to my computer and access the data. I’m also going to talk about how you can create your own VHD file and back up whatever data you like. Finally, you can read my previous post on how to convert your current computer to a VHD file.

Download the VHD file

To mount a VHD on Windows, you must open Computer Management by clicking Start and typing Computer Management in the search box. You can also go to Control Panel, then System and Security, then click Administrative Tools and then Computer Management. If you are in Icon View, just click on “Administration”.

Now click on “Disk Management” in the left menu and wait for the list of disks and partitions to appear. Then right-click “Disk Management” and select “Connect Virtual Hard Disk”.

In the dialog box, click Browse, navigate to the folder with the VHD file you want to mount, and click OK. Please note that if you do not check the Read-only box, you can add, modify or delete files / folders from the virtual hard disk. This is really useful because you can attach your VHD file, add some more data that needs to be backed up, and then just detach it.

After editing is complete, you will see that it displays as another base disc, colored blue. Windows should automatically assign a drive letter to it, but if not, you can right-click on the part at the bottom where it says “Good” (primary partition) and select “Change drive letter and paths.”

After connecting the virtual hard disk, go to explorer and you will be able to browse the disk, copy data back and forth, etc.

To detach the VHD, right-click the gray area with the disk name (in my case, Disk 2), volume type (basic), size, etc. At the bottom you will see the Detach VHD option. P>

Create a VHD file

As I mentioned, you can convert your current Windows PC to a VHD file using a free tool from Microsoft, or create a blank one from Windows. Go to Computer Management again, click Disk Management, and then right-click Disk Management.

Instead of choosing Attach VHD, click Create VHD. A window will open where you can specify the VHD file size, format and location.

I recommend choosing the VHDX file format as it is less prone to damage and can support larger disks. If you choose the VHD file format, a fixed size is recommended. If you choose VHDX, it will recommend dynamic expansion. I would leave these settings with the recommended parameters. Be sure to enter a value for the size of your virtual disk. You can change it to GB or TB if you like using the dropdown.

Now in Disk Management you will see another disk (in my case – Disk 2) with the words “Not Initialized” and “Unassigned”. In the gray section of the new virtual disk, right-click and select Initialize Disk.

Then you will need to choose whether you want to use MBR or GPT. A full explanation of each section format can be found in this HTG publication. For compatibility with Windows versions older than Vista, select MBR. For new features and larger hard drives, use GPT.

Now right-click the white area labeled “Unassigned” and select “New Simple Volume”. This will launch the New Volume Wizard. First, you need to choose the size of the new volume. It does not have to be the full size of the unallocated space. You can create multiple partitions if your virtual hard disk is larger.

Click Next and select the drive letter you want to assign to the partition.

Finally, choose how you want to format the drive. It defaults to NTFS, but you can also choose FAT32 if you like. I recommend using NTFS if you are using a virtual hard drive to back up files from your computer.

Click Next and Finish and you’re done. The drive should now appear as good in Disk Management.

Now you can just copy the data to disk normally and then detach the VHD when done. This isn’t the only or best way to back up your computer, but it works well and doesn’t require any third-party tools. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to comment. Enjoy!

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