How To Manage VHD Format With VMDK (VMWare)


How To Manage VHD Format With VMDK (VMWare)

Most of you probably already know what VHD is. For those of you who find this term to be a little on the “alien” side let me tell you this is in fact an abbreviation from Virtual Hard Disk and is a disk image that people from Microsoft use for their visualization software. We are talking here about apps like Windows Virtual PC, Microsoft Hyper-V and even Microsoft Virtual Server. The one thing you must know from the beginning is that the VHD file format is not compatible with the VMDK format which is another abbreviation coming from Virtual Machine Disk. When we are talking about VMW we are talking about virtual appliance products that include products like: VMware Server, VMware Fusion, VMware Workstation, VMware ESX and of course VMware Player.

I think you realize that both these VHD and VMDK formats are in fact hard disk images that are made to be used by virtual machines. In theory the VHD format can be converted to VMDK and latter be used on the VMWare virtual machine. You will find that the virtual machines created in Microsoft virtualization will have no problem converting with the use of VMware vCenter Converter.

The good news is that VMware vCenter Converter is offered at a free download price by VMWare in order to facilitate, automate and simply conversions that are being done from physical machine to virtual machine. Also it supports the conversion from third-party and VMWare virtual machine image formats. In fact you we have noticed that the converter is able to convert and import the formats required for third-party virtual machine that can be used on a VMWare product and adding the converted .VMX and .VMDK from .VMC and .VHD. The one thing that VMWare vCenter Converter can do is make a conversion from a virtualization server. This happens mainly because users won’t be able to manually select the VHD file they wish to convert.

But what happens if you have a VHD file and you will want to convert this one into a VMDK format? The good news is that there are things like WinImage that came to your rescue. And to make your day even shinier this is a product that is shareware and has a free evaluation period of 30 days. There are two versions available on 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64). You can download the software from

Now I will explain step by step how things should be managed with WinImage and show how easy it is to convert from a VHD to a VMDK format.

  1. 1st you will need to install and run the application. The installation is pretty basic and you shouldn’t encounter any problems.

  2. Now you will have to go to the “Disk” menu and from there select Virtual Hard Disk Image.

  3. An “Open” dialog box should appear by now. The one thing that you need to be sure is to have the file type set as Virtual Hard Disk (*.vhd). This is the default selection but better to be sure than start the process wrong. You will have to browse the folder and locate the VHD file. After finding the necessary file select is and open it with the “Open” option.

  4. Now there are two options available. Chose either Create Fixed Size Virtual Hard Disk or Create Dynamically Expanding Virtual Hard Disk.

  5. Notice that on the “Save As” dialog box there is the option to change the output format. Make this change by setting Save as Type to VMWare VMDK. Go and browse the folder location in which you desire to save the output disk image and simply enter a filename. Notice there won’t be any file extension required for you to add.

  6. When you finished the previous step click the “Save” button.

  7. The time it takes for the conversion to happen depends mainly on your computer. Also another factor that will greatly influence the finish time is the size of the image.

  8. Now let’s assume you managed to finish the conversion. You will have the VMDK virtual disk ready to use. At this point your WinImage should try to mount the converted virtual disk image. It will also ask for the user to select the desired partition you wish to connect.

  9. If you desire to open the virtual disk with WinImage click on the OK button and if not click cancel.

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