Creating Virtual Hard Disks with Windows Virtual PC

Creating Virtual Hard Disks with Windows Virtual PC

  • Comments 15

Existing Virtual PC 2007 users who start using Windows Virtual PC may be startled by the lack of an obvious “Virtual Hard Disk wizard”.  But do not fear, the virtual hard disk wizard is still there – it is just hidden.  Or more accurately – it has been placed into more appropriate workflows.

The first place where the virtual hard disk wizard appears is when you are creating a new virtual machine.  If you select to Create a virtual hard disk using advanced options in the new virtual machine wizard you will seamlessly transition into the new virtual hard disk wizard:

createVHD1 createVHD2

The second place where the virtual hard disk wizard appears is from the virtual hard disk settings page, if you click on the Create… button:


Now, you may be wondering what to do if you want to create a virtual hard disk that is not associated with a virtual machine?  The answer is that you do not use Windows Virtual PC!  With Windows 7 virtual hard disk management is now part of the core operating system.  You can create virtual hard disks using either Disk Management or DiskPart:

createVHD8 createVHD10


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  • Please add 3 and 3 and type the answer here:
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  • MS have done too bad by 1.locking VPC 7 to Windows 7. 2. Requiring processor virtualization for XP Mode.

  • 3. VPC 2007 doesn't run on Windows 7. The very purpose of VPC is compatibility but systems can't use it because they're incompatible/don't have processor virtualization. And VPC 7 doesn't even have all VPC 2007 features. VPC 2007 itself was very barebones. VMware workstation 7 will come and offer XP Mode like integration on all OSes and without processor virtualization, then no one will use Windows VPC 7.

  • I notice in your screenshots of the Setting screen, you don't have an LPT1. Neither do I. I read your previous post about this and confirmed that my parallel port on my host machine is on port 378. I'm running XP mode on Windows 7 RC 64bit. Are parallel ports no longer supported at all on the new Virtual PC?

  • Possible workaround -- use a parallel-to-USB adapter, then use USB passthrough to expose the USB device directly to the virtual machine.  I've found even the $10 adapters that are sold from Hong Kong on eBay to work quite well.

    As for anonymous, your expectations clearly revolve around feature-for-feature parity.  When your expectations are so much at odds with the goals of the design team, then complaining about it isn't likely to do you much good.  I suggest that you simply purchase VMWare Workstation ($189, last I checked), since it meets all your needs.

  • I am currently running Windows XP SP3 on my laptop.  I need to install virtual PC on my laptop so I can run older programming software.  What version of Virtual PC do I need & were do I start?

  • What tool should I use to clone one virtual hard disk into another (bigger, both vhd files are fixed-size) under VPC 2004/2007? Most linux-based tools report "Kernel Panic -- not syncing: attempted to kill idle task" on startup (Clonezilla, SystemRescueCD) or crash with "An unrecoverable processor error has been encountered." from VPC (gparted). I've tested also Clone Maxx (locks (?) at 0%) and HDClone (it managed to make copy but virtual machine didn't want to boot from copy). Currently I'm checking g4u, but I don't expect success.

  • Once a VHD is mounted it works fine as a regular hard drive.  But after a reboot Windows 7 the VHD is unmounted automatically.  How to persist VHD mounts?  Is this is bug?  It does the same on Windows Server 2008 R2 as well.  Thanks.

  • Joshua Flanagan -

    Windows Virtual PC does not support parallel ports.  As Tom mentions, you will have to use a USB adapter if you want this functionality.

    Ray Huddleston -

    Use Virtual PC 2007 SP1.

    Matthew -

    I usually use ImageX from the WAIK (Windows Automated Installation Kit) or else I use Acronis.

    Raman -

    This is operating as expected for Windows 7, though we have heard from users who want this to be persistent.



  • Thanks Ben.  What about Windows Server 2008 R2?

  • Why Why Why

    Doesn't Windows Virtual PC support 64 bit :-( How long is it going to take.....  I don't want to run windows server 2008 for Virtual PCs and get 64bit .....  come on were all moving to a 64 bit world this just seems really dump to me.   :-(

  • Raman -

    What are you asking exactly?

    Wayne Taylor -

    Windows Virtual PC is focused on application compatibility.  As such features like seamless applications and USB support were a higher priority than 64-bit virtual machines.



  • Windows Server 2008 R2 also works the same way as Windows 7 - VHD unmounts when restarted.  Is this how it was planned or is there a reg key that will persist the mount?  When VHD is supported as boot drives, mounting and persisting should just be a matter of settings or keys in the registry, correct?  Will the RTM have this persistence, if not, a patch later?

  • Thank you for your answer, Ben. May I ask which Acronis' tool you use?

  • I am currently trying to attach a vhd that was created with Virtual PC 2007, to a VM I created with Windows VPC.  When I go to start it I get an error that says "'VM_NAME' was unable to write to one of its virtual hard disk." I have tried multiple things including having it be the only disk attached, having it as a secondary drive with a differnt boot, etc, and it always came up with the same error.  Remove this vhd from the equation and the VM does work.  I was also able to successfuly mount the vhd from Disk Manager and browse it.  Is this a compatibility issue?  Or is this a one off issue with my vhd?

  • I have the Virtual PC Folder. I am clueless what to do with it. I have an HP with windows 7 Intel Pentium. What do I do with it?!

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