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Create Virtual Hard Disks

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2

The New Virtual Hard Disk Wizard provides you with a simple way to create a virtual hard disk. This wizard creates the following types of disks:

  • Fixed virtual hard disk

  • Dynamically expanding virtual hard disk

  • Differencing virtual hard disk

Many of the options you can use to customize the virtual hard disk differ depending on the type of virtual hard disk you create. In all cases, the virtual hard disk requires a name and a storage location.


Do not create the virtual hard disk in a folder that is marked for encryption. Virtual hard disks are stored as .vhd files. Hyper-V does not support the use of storage media if Encrypting File System (EFS) has been used to encrypt the .vhd file. However, you can use files stored on a volume that uses Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption. To download the white paper Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and BitLocker Drive Encryption see

To create a virtual hard disk

  1. Open Hyper-V Manager. Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Hyper-V Manager.

  2. In the Action pane, click New, and then click Hard Disk.

  3. Proceed through the pages of the wizard to customize the virtual hard disk. You can click Next to move through each page of the wizard, or you can click the name of a page in the left pane to move directly to that page.

  4. After you have finished configuring the virtual hard disk, click Finish.

Additional considerations

  • By default, membership in the local Administrators group, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. However, an administrator can use Authorization Manager to modify the authorization policy so that a user or group of users can complete this procedure. For more information, see Using Authorization Manager for Hyper-V Security (

  • Virtual hard disks are stored as .vhd files, which makes them portable but also poses a potential security risk. We recommend that you mitigate this risk by taking precautions such as storing the .vhd files in a secure location.

  • The virtual hard disk is created when you click Finish to complete the wizard. Depending on the options you choose for the virtual hard disk, the process can take a considerable amount of time.

  • Virtual hard disks cannot be stored in a folder that uses NTFS compression.

  • You can make certain changes to a virtual hard disk after you create it. For example, you can convert it from one type of virtual hard disk to another. You can use the Edit Virtual Hard Disk Wizard to make the changes.

Additional references