There are plenty of reasons why you would want to create a virtual hard disk (VHD) from your physical hard drive. Maybe you want to create a backup of your existing Windows 10 installation and all data before upgrading to a newer version of Windows 10, or perhaps you want to have the same set of applications and Windows settings on a different PC using a virtual machine software, or you just want to create a VHD of your physical drive for some other reasons.
Just a few years ago, creating a VHD of the physical drive was not as easy as it is today. There were no free tools to carry out the operation, meaning users had to either go for the complicated method or buy expensive software.
Today, there are plenty of free tools around to quickly convert an existing Windows installation or hard drive to virtual hard disk so that you can easily use the virtual disk (which means all installed programs and Windows settings) on a different PC with the help of virtualization software.
In fact, there are tools not just to convert Windows 10 installation to virtual hard disk, but there are also tools that can clone your current Windows installation to a USB drive to use it as Windows To Go drive.
In this guide, we will show how you can use the Disk2VHD from Microsoft to convert a physical drive into a virtual hard disk with a few mouse clicks. The software is absolutely free and very easy to use.
Complete the given below instructions to convert your existing Windows 10 installation into a virtual hard disk with the help of Disk2VHD. This software and procedure work with previous versions of Windows as well.
Create virtual hard disk from existing Windows 10 installation
Step 1: The first step is to download the latest version of Disk2VHD. Visit this page of Microsoft TechNet to download the zip file of Disk2VHD.
Extract the zip file to get Disk2VHD executable. Double-click on the Disk2VHD executable to see the license agreement and then except the same to start using the program.
Step 2: Once Disk2VHD is running, select the physical drive(s) that you want to convert to virtual hard disk, and then choose a location to save the virtual hard disk (.vhdx file). The destination location can be either on your internal hard drive or on an external USB drive.
As you can see, with default settings, Disk2VHD uses the VHDX format to save the virtual hard disk. However, you can save the virtual disk in VHD format by unchecking the Use VHDX option. For those who are not aware, VHDX is Microsoft’s new virtual disk format and has many advantages over the legacy VHD.
Step 3: Finally, hit the Create button to begin snapshotting the selected drive. Depending on the size of the selected drive(s) and your PC’s hardware, the time required to complete the job will vary from a few minutes to hours.
Do let us know if you’re experiencing any issues while following this guide by leaving comments.