Use a Windows 7 Virtual Hard Disk as a backup device

You can create a VHD from the Disk Management Console

As you know, using external hard disks as backup devices has become very popular recently due to the fact that they are now relatively inexpensive to purchase or build. I use several of them for backups on my home and test systems.

The other day I was experimenting with Windows XP Mode on my Microsoft Windows 7 test system and was backing up my Windows XP Mode virtual machine and the accompanying virtual hard disk (VHD), when it occurred to me that I could use a VHD as a backup device.

Once I began experimenting with this technique, I knew that it would be perfect complement to my overall backup strategy. I don't trust a single backup device and like to have multiple backups just in case. Using VHDs, I can easily back up my data and then just copy the VHD file to another external device.

In this edition of the Windows Desktop Report, I'll show you how to create and use a VHD as a backup device.

Getting started
Because the technology is built right into the Windows 7 operating system, you don't have to install Windows Virtual PC to create a VHD - you can do it right from the Disk Management Console or even from the command line with the Diskpart command. Let's take a look at the procedure using the Disk Management Console. (I'll go over the Diskpart command procedure at a later time.)

To get started, click the Start button and type Diskmgmt.msc in the Start Search box and then press [Enter]. When the Disk Management Console appears, as shown, you're ready to create your VHD.

This gallery is also available as a TechRepublic blog post and download.

Image created by Greg Shultz for TechRepublic.

By Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.