Create and attach a VHD in Windows 7

One of the features introduced in Windows Vista and enhanced in Windows 7 is the support for virtual hard disks (VHD). A virtual hard disk is an image file of a hard disk just like an ISO file is a CD/DVD image file. In Windows 7, you can create a VHD and attach it to your system. It would act as if you have attached a new hard disk to your system. Here is how :

  1. Press the key combination Windows Key + R to bring up the Run dialog. Type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter. This would open the Disk Management window.
  2. In the Disk Management window, select Action → Create VHD from the menu as shown :

  3. Click on the Browse button and choose a location and file name for your VHD file. Choose the VHD size as much as you want. This should not exceed the available size of your hard disk. Also choose if you want a dynamically expanding VHD which would expand in size as per needed, or a fixed size VHD which would stay same size. Click OK to proceed. In the following picture I have choosen E:data.vhd and the size of the VHD as 100 MB.

  4. As soon as you press OK, Windows would start to create the desired VHD. When it finished, you would a message that Microsoft VHD HBA installed. as shown below

  5. You would be able to see the newly create VHD in the Disk Management window. But this is not formatted. You need to initialize it. Right click on the disk icon of the newly created VHD and select Initialize as shown

  6. Now that your VHD is initialized, you need to create a partition on it. Right click on the newly created VHD’s graphical view (not on the disk icon this time) and select New Simple Volume as shown to start the New Simple Volume Wizard.

  7. Follow the instructions of the New Simple Volume Wizard and you would be able to access the newly created VHD through Windows Explorer. The New Simple Volume Wizard would create one or more partitions (volumes), format them and assign a drive letter to them.