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Copying a physical disk to a virtual hard disk

Copying a physical disk to a virtual hard disk

You can create a copy of a physical hard disk for use as a virtual hard disk so that a virtual machine can use an exact duplicate of the contents of a physical hard disk. This process uses virtual disk management features available on the Administration Website to copy the data.

For more information about the Administration Website, see Using the Administration Website.

ImportantImportant
This process is intended to be used on data disks only. Attempting to copy a physical startup disk for use in a virtual machine can have unexpected results due to differences such as hardware or storage configuration.

Before you begin

You will need to store the virtual hard disk on a separate physical disk from the one you want to copy while you make the copy. This means that you must have access to two physical disks to complete the copying process.

About the procedures

You can create a copy of a physical disk for use as a virtual hard disk in a virtual machine by performing two procedures. Following are descriptions of each procedure, along with links to detailed instructions.

Create a linked virtual hard disk. You use this procedure to create a virtual hard disk (.vhd file) linked to the physical disk that stores the contents you want to copy. When you complete this procedure, the .vhd file will not contain a copy of the contents of the physical disk; it is simply a reference point. To copy the disk contents from the physical disk to the .vhd file, you must convert the linked virtual hard disk by completing the second procedure.

When you create the linked virtual hard disk, specify a temporary name and location, such as C:\TempDrive.vhd. Make sure that you specify a location on a separate physical disk from the one you want to copy. For instructions on completing this procedure, see Create a virtual hard disk linked to a physical disk in Virtual Server.

Convert the linked disk to a dynamically expanding virtual hard disk. You use this procedure to copy the contents from the physical disk to the virtual hard disk by performing a conversion. When you perform this procedure, make the following selections:

  • Start the conversion process by inspecting the disk. When you select a disk to inspect, select the linked virtual hard disk you created in the first procedure, such as C:\TempDrive.vhd.
  • When you specify name and location for the converted virtual hard disk, make sure that you specify a location on a separate physical disk from the one you want to copy.

Virtual Server creates a virtual hard disk that contains a copy of the physical disk's data. This can be a time-consuming process; the amount of time depends on the size of the physical hard disk. After you complete the steps, the conversion process starts. For instructions on completing this procedure, see Convert a virtual hard disk.

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