Creating a virtual hard drive in windows

How to

Virtual hard disks, when mounted, behave just like physical hard disks. This section describes how to create a virtual hard disk in Windows using the built-in tools.

Most people don’t know this, but Windows allows you to create virtual hard disks using the Disk Management tool.

Table of Contents:

What is a virtual hard drive?

You may not know this, but a virtual hard disk is just like any other file. However, it is possible to mount a virtual hard disk. When you do this, it appears and functions as a partition of the hard disk. Typically, Windows creates virtual hard disks using the VHD and VHDX formats.

Virtual hard disks work just like physical disks and can store all kinds of files, including documents, video and image files. An operating system can also be installed if needed.

The best part is that when you are done using the virtual hard disk, you can take it out. This way it will not show up as a partition in File Explorer.

Uses of virtual hard disks

Virtual hard disks have several use cases that can make your life easier.

  • Easy storage and portability.
  • OS installation and dual-booting without modifying existing partitions.
  • Ability to use virtual hard disks for storage virtualization.
  • Replication, backup, and deployment can be done quickly and easily.
  • Supports virtualization platforms such as Hyper-V and VirtualBox.
  • Ability to encrypt and password protect data as a single file.
  • etc.

The following procedure works the same in Windows 10 and 11.

Steps to create a virtual hard disk in Windows

You can create a virtual hard disk in Windows using the disk management tool built into Windows. No third party software is required.

  1. Open “Run” with “Start key + R”.
  2. Type “diskgmt.msc” in the space provided.
  3. Press “OK” button.
  4. Select “Action >Create VHD.”
  5. Click the “Browse” button.
  6. Navigate to any folder/drive.
  7. Enter any name in the “File Name” field.
  8. Click the “Save” button.
  9. Select “GB” from the “Virtual Hard Disk Size” pull-down menu.
  10. Enter the amount of space you wish to allocate in the space provided.
  11. Click the “OK” button.
  12. Select “VHDX” in the “Virtual Hard Disk Format” tab.
  13. Under the “Virtual Hard Disk Format” tab, select “Dynamically Extend”.
  14. Click the “OK” button.
  15. Right-click on the newly created disk.
  16. Select “Initialize Disk.”
  17. Select “GPT” and click the “OK” button.
  18. Right-click on the newly created disk.
  19. Select “New Simple Volume.”
  20. Click “Next.”
  21. Agree to the initial settings and click “Next.”
  22. Set the drive letter and press “Next.”
  23. Select “NTFS” from the “File System” drop-down menu.
  24. Check “Perform Quick Format.”
  25. Click the “Next” button.
  26. Click the “Finish” button.
  27. Exit the disk management application.
  28. The creation of the virtual hard disk is now complete.
  29. Open File Explorer to view the newly created VHD.
  30. Select the drive and click the “Eject” button at the top of the file explorer to eject or unmount the drive.

Detailed instructions:

First, launch the Windows “Disk Management” tool. To do so, use the “diskgmt.msc” run (Win + R) command or search for “Create and Format Hard Disk Partitions” in the Start menu.

Once the disk management application is open, select the “Action > Create VHD” option. This will open the Create VHD wizard.

First, click the “Browse” button.

Navigate to the folder or drive where you want to save the VHD file, enter any name in the “File Name” field, and click the “Save” button.

Next, select “GB” from the “Virtual Hard Disk Size” heading and enter the amount of hard disk space you wish to allocate in the blank field next to it. If 10 GB is allowed for the virtual hard disk file

Select “VHDX” and “Dynamic Extension” and click “OK”.

This will create the VHD file.

Right click on the newly created disk and select the “Initialize disk” option.

Select “GPT (GUID Partition Table)” and press “OK” button.

Right click on the disk again and select the “New Simple Volume” option.

Click the “Next” button in the Simple Volume Wizard.

Accept the default settings in the Volume Size window and click “Next”.

Select “Assign the following drive letter” and choose a drive letter from the drop-down menu. Click “Next” to continue.

Select “NTFS” from the “File System” drop-down menu, select the “Perform Quick Format” checkbox, and press the “Next” button to continue. Optionally, you may enter a user name in the “Volume Lable” field. This name will appear as the disk/partition name in File Explorer.

Press the “Finish” button.

That is all. Exit the Disk Management application. Open File Explorer and you will see the new drive.

You will find the VHD file in the location you just selected.

When you are done using the virtual hard disk, select the drive in File Explorer and press the “Eject” button.

You are done. Creating a virtual hard disk in Windows is very easy.

We hope this simple and easy guide to working with Windows will help.

If you get stuck or need help, send us an email and we will do our best to help.

YouTube video: Creating a virtual hard drive in Windows


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