John Howard - Senior Program Manager in the Hyper-V team at Microsoft

Senior Program Manager, Hyper-V team, Windows Core Operating System Division.

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Edit VHD, VUD and VFD files directly

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Gilles Vollant of WinImage fame contacted me a few weeks ago to have a look at the latest beta of WinImage. I've been playing with it for a while now and it's been acting flawlessly. Why would this be of particular interest to me? One very good reason - the beta supports mounting VHD (Virtual Hard Disk), VUD (Virtual Undo Drives) and VFD (Virtual Floppy Disk) files. The VHD file format is available under license, and I'm guessing that this beta is using that interface to support that capability? If you're lucky enough to work at Microsoft, you have a raft of internal tools at your fingertips. One of these allows you to mount a VHD file directly as a disk on the host. It uses a device driver to do this, but unfortunately I've never been able to get it to work under Windows Server 2003 which I run on my laptop. Great under XP though. Hence, for me there's always been an option to boot into XP and mount VHDs, alter them accordingly and not need to boot the Virtual Machine itself.

Although WinImage doesn't expose the VHD as a drive in that way, I can still add/delete files & folders from within it's interface, including drag-and-drop. For me, one less reason to have to boot back to my spare XP partition - the WinImage beta runs fine under Windows Server 2003 for me. Great stuff - really useful and has a raft of other formats it supports and other useful functionality. Now for that cold patching capability I alluded to a few months ago. Please, somebody :-)

Please remember that the version of WinImage I'm using is still a beta - I've only been testing it out on copies of VHDs, not masters. Be safe out there!

 

Comments
  • John has posted about a beta version of WinImage that allows editing of VHD, VUD and VFD files (as...

  • This is cool, but it doesn't *yet* provide exactly what's required.

    The crucial limitation (not mentioned in your write-up) is that NTFS support is READ-ONLY. So unless people are using FAT32 in their vhds they wont actually be able to "add/delete files & folders" as described.

    Come on MS - VMWare have had "DiskMount" available for over a year now ! - customers need this ability and MS should be providing an equivalent with MSVS out of the box or as a free download.

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