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Michael Greene

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Another good use for vhdmount, mounting Vista backups

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I just read a great post on MSDN blogs regarding vhdmount, a tool in Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 Beta 2 (that's a seriously long name) that allows you to mount VHD files to the host operating system, and with the registry changes in this write-up you can associate the executable with the file type so when you double-click on a .vhd file it will automount.  Sweet!

Link to Virtual PC Guy's WebLog : Double clicking on a VHD to mount it

So why does this matter to Windows client?  Because in Vista, Windows Backup creates .vhd files when a full backup is performed.  That's right, you can snapshot your machine, online, and it will create a VHD for you.  You can test it yourself through the GUI or using the command line tool wbadmin.  This is not a P2V tool.  You cannot boot to the VHD, however I've been told you can mount the .vhd file on a virtual machine as a data volume if you need to extract just certain files.  Well, this is just too cool not to try, so I gave it a shot this morning.

First, I ran a backup.  I ran this completely online, while doing research and listening to streaming music.  In Vista, Windows Backup leverages Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) so you don't need to use offline tools to backup your OS volume.  I captured 11 GB in around 15 minutes, give or take, to my external HDD.  I plan to post again later about wbadmin, it's a great tool.

Next, I downloaded and installed Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 Beta 2 from Connect.  I found the vhdmount tool in c:\program files\Microsoft Virtual Server\Vhdmount.  I executed vhdmount with a /p and pointed to the VHD file on my external.  Success!  The .vhd file mounted up like a charm and I have full read/write access!

Comments
  • You know, there has been a lot of controversy lately (from developers I respect who should know better)

  • The VirtualPC Guy posted this ROCKIN tip on how to associate VHDs with VHDMount. The result is double-click

  • The VirtualPC Guy posted this ROCKIN tip on how to associate VHDs with VHDMount. The result is double-click

  • The VirtualPC Guy posted this ROCKIN tip on how to associate VHDs with VHDMount. The result is double-click

  • Michael - I am in a vista jamb. My machine is booting to a blank screen with cursor and I have a perfectly good Vista back-up that is not being recognized that could save me a reinstall. Is there anyway to use the vhdmount from a pe disk and mount the VHD file? Not a real tech guy but I have some knowledge of windows.

    Bill

  • It sounds like there may be more issues at play here, possibly a bad drive?

    To more directly answer your question, I doubt PE can load VHDmount since the installation requires driver install and a reboot, however you could use vhdmount to access the backup file from another machine.

  • The original reg file has a problem while unmounting under HYPER-V Systems. This script dismounts either with commit or discard data.

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Virtual.Machine.HD]

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Virtual.Machine.HD\shell]

    @="Mount"

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Virtual.Machine.HD\shell\Dismount - Discard]

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Virtual.Machine.HD\shell\Dismount - Discard\command]

    @="\"C:\\Program Files\\Microsoft Virtual Server\\Vhdmount\\vhdmount.exe\" /d /u \"%1\""

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Virtual.Machine.HD\shell\Dismount - Commit]

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Virtual.Machine.HD\shell\Dismount - Commit\command]

    @="\"C:\\Program Files\\Microsoft Virtual Server\\Vhdmount\\vhdmount.exe\" /c /u \"%1\""

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Virtual.Machine.HD\shell\Mount]

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Virtual.Machine.HD\shell\Mount\command]

    @="\"C:\\Program Files\\Microsoft Virtual Server\\Vhdmount\\vhdmount.exe\" /p \"%1\""

    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.vhd]

    @="Virtual.Machine.HD"

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