Using VHDMount under Windows XP

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Virtual Server 2005 R2 Service Pack 1 beta 2 includes a utility to mount virtual hard disks on your physical computer - called VHDMount.  However there are some issues using VHDMount on Windows XP:

  1. It is not possible to use '/m' (Mount), you can only use '/p' (Plug in).

    The reason for this is that VHDMount uses VDS (the Virtual Disk Service) to assign a disk letter to the virtual hard disk after it is mounted, but VDS is only included in Windows Server 2003 and later.  This is not too big of an issue though, as unlike Windows Server 2003, Windows XP will automatically mount the virtual hard disk when it is plugged in.  This means that the only functionality you lose on Windows XP is the ability to specify exactly which drive letter should be used.

  2. Windows XP claims that there is a problem initializing the device.

    The reason why this happens is because Virtual Server 2005 R2 Service Pack 1 beta 2 uses an unsigned driver for the virtual hard disk mounting tool (I do not know why this does not cause a problem on Windows Server 2003, count your blessings I guess). 

    To get around this you need to plug in the virtual hard disk using VHDMount and open the Windows device manager (I usually do this by right clicking on 'My Computer', selecting 'Manage', and clicking on 'Device Manager').  You should see a 'Microsoft Virtual Server Storage Device' with an exclamation mark over its icon.  Right click on it and select 'Update Driver...'.  In the hardware update wizard select to 'Install from a list or specific location (Advanced)' and then select 'Don't search.  I will choose the driver to install.'.  Finally select the 'Microsoft Virtual Server Storage Devices' driver and finish the wizard.  The virtual hard disk should now be mounted. 

    Unfortunately you have to go through this process *every time* that you plug a virtual hard disk in, even if it has been mounted before.

Never fear - this second issue will be resolved in the final release when the driver is going to be officially signed.


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  • Thank god.

    I was afraid it was just me and a few more people on the newsgroups running into this.

    Just so you know, any updates fixing this in Windows XP before the final release would greatly apreciated :)

  • Ben,

    How it is that it doesn't cause the same problem on Windows Server 2003? I am running Windows Server 2003 R2 and having the exact same problem that you have described for XP.

  • So with VHDMount you could make 1 script that does proper compacting (defrag-precompact-compact), all on the host? I considered doing that before, but having part of the script run on the guest and part on the host made it too cumbersome.
    Can I Kindly request such a script on a future blog entry?

    Also, I just looked in my R2, and didn't find vhdmount.exe. where is it?
  • Cannot start device (Code 10) error on mounting can be caused by having the

    virtual disk file on a non-native Windows partition (e.g. mine was on an ext2fs

    volume served to Windows XP by the (excellent) Ext2 IFS driver). Moving the VHD to

    a FAT32 partition solved the issue.

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Using VHDMount under Windows XP