Developer Support Team Foundation Server

Tips, tricks, thoughts and experiences from the Microsoft Team Foundation Server global support team.

Mounting .VHDs in Windows 7 \ Windows Server 2008 R2 with a simple mouse-click

Mounting .VHDs in Windows 7 \ Windows Server 2008 R2 with a simple mouse-click

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One of the coolest features in Windows 7 (all my personal machines at work & home are now Win7 or WS2K8R2, BTW <g>) is the native ability to mount .VHD files (virtual hard drives). As you know if you are a loyal reader (PLUG: if you’re not, why not subscribe to our feed now? RSS2 | ATOM1 ), we use virtualization and .VHD files extensively here in support. Needless to say, this native .VHD ability proved a welcome boon. In my opinion though, it is just a wee bit too involved to get a .VHD mounted. You have to open Disk Management, click this, navigate to that, and so on… too many clicks. You could use diskpart.exe as well of course, but then you have to type out the command (GASP!).  Wouldn’t it be great if you could just right-click a .VHD file and select MOUNT or DISMOUNT?

Well, it would appear I am not alone in my desire for this. I was going to start writing something to do it this past Sunday when I said to myself, “Self… this has been done! Bing yourself a solution.” A few Bings later and I found this excellent post from Ravikanth Chaganti, who not only describes how to do it, but provides downloadable files which, when installed, give your the right-clicky goodness of which I speak:

image

The REALLY cool thing for me (which is surprising – I don’t think this could get much cooler) is that this process works for me for local and network .VHD files, and encrypted ones as well (no surprise there of course). Consequentially I have been able to stop using TrueCrypt for my encrypted “locker” at home (scanned bills, etc., located on my Windows Home Server), in favor of a BitLocker-encypted .VHD which I just right-click to mount over UNC! As soon as I mount it I am prompted to unlock the drive, just like if I had plugged in a flash drive. This is Windows7 “out of the box”. Remember to enable the “Bitlocker Drive Encryption” feature of Windows Server 2008 R2 if you plan to try this there.

Real slick! Thanks to the Windows team and Ravikanth for this. <G>

  • Sounds like I'll be replacing TrueCrypt as well. I'm really looking forward to 2008 R2, and this seems like a really sweet feature. Thanks for posting the link to Ravikanth's post, answers some of the questions I was going to ask you, heh.

    <extremely off topic, semi tongue-in-cheek>

    Quoting: "A few Bings later (...)"

    Are you required now to refer to searching as "Bing-ing" or do your servers have an internal find and replace script for this (a la sed s/Google/Bing)? :P

  • Glad I could help. :-) I always tend to use the best tools for the job (TrueCrypt being one example, until BitLocker was a bit more usable in conjunction with .VHDs and now my flash drives as well). Live rocked, which I always used, and now Bing is even better and more verb-able <g>. No filters, no. :-)

  • Thanks for referring my work here. You may want to checkout my recent work -- VHD Shell Extensions -- at http://code.msdn.com/VHDShellExt. You can also read more about it at http://www.ravichaganti.com/blog/?page_id=612

    Ravi

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