Attaching Physical Hard Disks to Hyper-V VMs

Attaching Physical Hard Disks to Hyper-V VMs

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Hyper-V brings us the ability to attach a physical hard disk directly to a virtual machine.  In order to do this the hard disk in question needs to not be identified as "removable" by Windows.  It also needs to be in an offline state.  This can be configured by using the Disk Management node of the Windows Server 2008 Server Manager, right clicking on the disk in question, and selecting Offline:


Once you have done this you can open the settings for the virtual machine in question, adding a new hard disk, and selecting to use a physical hard disk.


Note that once you have a physical hard disk attached to a virtual machine, it is not possible to take snapshots of the virtual machine.


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  • IS there a limit to the physical disk size that Hyper-V can use in this way?  We need a virtual drive larger than 2TB for use in an existing VM guest machine.  I can get a 4+TB physical drive showing on the Hyper-V host but I am not sure if it will be seen at 4+TB when I attach it to the VM guest.

  • As I follow all the articles instructing same, still it is not been clean that if my external drive become fixed then how should is turn back it as removabe. Which is "must" requirement to follow the steps. Other wise i suspect the physical drive option will be disabled.

  • Hi,

    I'm using hyper-v on windows 8.1 to boot up my old windows 7 install as there are several apps I need that don't play well with Windows 8.1.

    It starts OK but BSOD, probably due to the different hardware provided by hyper-v, I can boot up the windows 7 partition and it runs OK so is there a way to pre-install the hyper-v drivers to prevent the BSOD?


  • Hi Ben,

    Thanks for this writeup...

    I have a question? If we add physical disk to a guest VM. Can i enable live migration?

    Many thanks in advance?



  • RE: "the hard disk in question needs to not be identified as 'removable' by Windows"

    I completely agree with Norman, this requirement is pretty ridiculous. -- I'm getting really tired of windows's restrictions to do with "removable" disks -- They're in an enclosure for crying out loud!

    I guess VirtualBox wins again. :-(

  • RE: "Note that most flash / usb devices can be configured to not be removable from Windows point of view."

    Can you tell us more about that? -- I've searched far and wide for information on this -- aside from installing unsigned hacked drivers (which don't work for all USB controllers) I've not come across another solution.  [And the hacked drivers thing doesn't work for any hardware that I've tried it on.] -- I'm using physical hard drives with a USB adapter enclosure.

  • So can that attached drive become the boot drive for the VM?

  • Mike -

    Yes, this can be the boot drive.



  • Hi Ben...I know this thread is older - but I am clutching at straws here.

    I'm an old MS server admin so I'm familiar with HyperV. But - now I'm using it in Windows 10 (newest April 64bit Pro load) to try and bring up a physical boot drive from a defunct laptop (cracked touchscreen), using pass thru. It's a 1TB in a eSATA /USB enclosure attached in VM as IDE 0. Drive shows up fine in VM settings. Networking is set.

    But - when I try and start the VM and boot from the drive (boot order set to IDE first), all I get is a flashing cursor in the upper left corner.

    If I go to Disk Management and bring the drive back online and check all the sys files, they're all there and seem to be fine. The machine was booting fine when I pulled the drive.

    I know I must be missing something basic. I'm hoping you're still monitoring this. I don't want to reinstall Windows in the VM - I just want to boot the existing drive with Windows 8.1 and all the user's "stuff" in that VM.

    Any ideas? Thanks...

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