Deploying Virtual Hard Disks

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2

This topic contains information about deploying VHD images by using Xcopy or Windows Deployment Services.

  • Deploying a bootable VHD by using Xcopy

  • Deploying VHDs by using Windows Deployment Services

Deploying a bootable VHD by using Xcopy

The following procedure outlines how to deploy a bootable VHD without using a managed deployment solution. This is useful for IT administrators who want to develop a custom deployment solution.

To deploy a bootable VHD

  1. Save a bootable VHD on a computer or network share.

  2. Insert a Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 product DVD into the destination computer and boot to the DVD.

  3. Configure the disk and select where to install Windows by using the disk configuration screen.

  4. Press Shift+F10 to launch a Command Prompt window.

  5. In the Command Prompt window, run Startnet to start networking.

  6. To copy the VHD from the network file share to a destination on the local computer (that is, the version of Windows that you configured in step 3), use the following syntax:

    xcopy <source> <destination>


For more information about this command, see Xcopy (

  1. Use DiskPart to select and attach the VHD.

  2. Prepare the boot environment by following the steps in Preparing Virtual Hard Disks for Boot.

Deploying VHDs by using Windows Deployment Services

You can deploy bootable VHDs by using Windows Deployment Services. To do this, you must first install and configure the Windows Deployment Services server role on a computer that is running Windows Server 2008 R2. For instructions, see the Windows Deployment Services Getting Started Guide (

Then you use the WDSUTIL command line tool to catalog VHDs to the Windows Deployment Services image library. For additional information, see the following: