Frequently asked question about Windows Virtual Machines

This article addresses some common questions about Windows virtual machines created in Azure using the Resource Manager deployment model. For the Linux version of this topic, see Frequently asked question about Linux Virtual Machines.

What can I run on an Azure VM?

All subscribers can run server software on an Azure virtual machine. For information about the support policy for running Microsoft server software in Azure, see Microsoft server software support for Azure Virtual Machines.

Certain versions of Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 are available to MSDN Azure benefit subscribers and MSDN Dev and Test Pay-As-You-Go subscribers, for development and test tasks. For details, including instructions and limitations, see Windows Client images for MSDN subscribers.

How much storage can I use with a virtual machine?

Each data disk can be up to 32,767 GiB. The number of data disks you can use depends on the size of the virtual machine. For details, see Sizes for Virtual Machines.

Azure Managed Disks are the recommended disk storage offerings for use with Azure Virtual Machines for persistent storage of data. You can use multiple Managed Disks with each Virtual Machine. Managed Disks offer two types of durable storage options: Premium and Standard Managed Disks. For pricing information, see Managed Disks Pricing.

Azure storage accounts can also provide storage for the operating system disk and any data disks. Each disk is a .vhd file stored as a page blob. For pricing details, see Storage Pricing Details.

How can I access my virtual machine?

Establish a remote connection using Remote Desktop Connection (RDP) for a Windows VM. For instructions, see How to connect and sign on to an Azure virtual machine running Windows. A maximum of two concurrent connections are supported, unless the server is configured as a Remote Desktop Services session host.

If you're having problems with Remote Desktop, see Troubleshoot Remote Desktop connections to a Windows-based Azure Virtual Machine.

If you're familiar with Hyper-V, you might be looking for a tool similar to VMConnect. Azure doesn't offer a similar tool because console access to a virtual machine isn't supported.

Can I use the temporary disk (the D: drive by default) to store data?

Don't use the temporary disk to store data. It is only temporary storage, so you would risk losing data that can't be recovered. Data loss can occur when the virtual machine moves to a different host. Resizing a virtual machine, updating the host, or a hardware failure on the host are some of the reasons a virtual machine might move.

If you have an application that needs to use the D: drive letter, you can reassign drive letters so that the temporary disk uses something other than D:. For instructions, see Change the drive letter of the Windows temporary disk.

How can I change the drive letter of the temporary disk?

You can change the drive letter by moving the page file and reassigning drive letters, but you need to make sure you do the steps in a specific order. For instructions, see Change the drive letter of the Windows temporary disk.

Can I add an existing VM to an availability set?

No. If you want your VM to be part of an availability set, you need to create the VM within the set. There currently isn't a way to add a VM to an availability set after it has been created.

Can I upload a virtual machine to Azure?

Yes. For instructions, see Migrating on-premises VMs to Azure.

Can I resize the OS disk?

Can I copy or clone an existing Azure VM?

Yes. Using managed images, you can create an image of a virtual machine and then use the image to build multiple new VMs. For instructions, see Create a custom image of a VM.

Why am I not seeing Canada Central and Canada East regions through Azure Resource Manager?

The two new regions of Canada Central and Canada East are not automatically registered for virtual machine creation for existing Azure subscriptions. This registration is done automatically when a virtual machine is deployed through the Azure portal to any other region using Azure Resource Manager. After a virtual machine is deployed to any other Azure region, the new regions should be available for subsequent virtual machines.

Does Azure support Linux VMs?

Yes. To quickly create a Linux VM to try out, see Create a Linux VM on Azure using the Portal.

Can I add a NIC to my VM after it's created?

Yes, this is now possible. The VM first needs to be stopped deallocated. Then you can add or remove a NIC (unless it's the last NIC on the VM).

Are there any computer name requirements?

Yes. The computer name can be a maximum of 15 characters in length. See Naming conventions rules and restrictions for more information around naming your resources.

Are there any resource group name requirements?

Yes. The resource group name can be a maximum of 90 characters in length. See Naming conventions rules and restrictions for more information about resource groups.

What are the username requirements when creating a VM?

Usernames can be a maximum of 20 characters in length and cannot end in a period (".").

The following usernames are not allowed:

  • 1
  • 123
  • a
  • actuser
  • adm
  • admin
  • admin1
  • admin2
  • administrator
  • aspnet
  • backup
  • console
  • david
  • guest
  • john
  • owner
  • root
  • server
  • sql
  • support_388945a0
  • support
  • sys
  • test
  • test1
  • test2
  • test3
  • user
  • user1
  • user2

What are the password requirements when creating a VM?

There are varying password length requirements, depending on the tool you are using:

  • Azure portal - between 12 - 123 characters
  • Azure PowerShell - between 8 - 123 characters
  • Azure CLI - between 12 - 123
  • Have lower characters
  • Have upper characters
  • Have a digit
  • Have a special character (Regex match [\W_])

The following passwords are not allowed:

abc@123 iloveyou! P@$$w0rd P@ssw0rd P@ssword123
Pa$$word pass@word1 Password! Password1 Password22

For additional information and restrictions for password creation reference this password guidance documentation.