Windows 7 to have support for Virtual Hard Disks

Windows 7 to have support for Virtual Hard Disks

Summary: Windows super-sleuth Long Zheng keeps his eye on the Microsoft jobs listings and discovers some information about a potential new feature for the thus far super-secretive Windows 7 OS - native support for Virtual Hard Disks (VHDs).


Windows super-sleuth Long Zheng keeps his eye on the Microsoft jobs listings and discovers some information about a potential new feature for the thus far super-secretive Windows 7 OS - native support for Virtual Hard Disks (VHDs):

Do you want to join the team that is bringing virtualization into the mainstream? In Windows 7, our team will be responsible for creating, mounting, performing I/O on, and dismounting VHDs (virtual hard disks) natively. Imagine being able to mount a VHD on any Windows machine, do some offline servicing and then boot from that same VHD. Or perhaps, taking an existing VHD you currently use within Virtual Server and boost performance by booting natively from it.

And so it goes on ...

If this feature actually survives to RTM (and let's face it, that's a very big if ... history is littered with great ideas that never saw light of day) then this will be a really neat feature. In fact, I can think of a good dozen situations where this feature would be dead handy right now.

Anyone want to take bets on whether this feature actually makes it to RTM?


Topics: Windows, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

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  • VHD stands from...

    vaporware HD.It's a just a new marketing ploy meant to keep M$ relevant.
    Linux Geek
    • Dude...

      If this had come from a press briefing, then maybe but the guy it up from some job posting buried in their site.
      Also, is the $ still cool? Didn't that fad pass a few years ago?
      • He's a Troll

        I haven't been on these boards all that long, but it has been enough time to figure out that this Linux Geek is a troll.

        I don't even think he actually reads the stories, just posts in reponse to the headline.
  • But which SKUs will have that support?

    I found out the hard way that different Vista SKUs give you different disk capabilities when I tried to span two hard drives into one volume on Home Premium.
    Michael Kelly
  • Stop doubting this innovation machine...

    If Microsoft says VHD support will be in Windows 7, CONSIDER IT DONE. To be honest, I really don't see the reason for it. I mean, as long as you run the latest and greatest OS on the client side, you don't need virtualization. People will say, what about developers who need server images? To that I say "DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS!". Do the right thing by the developer and give them their own physical server, completely licensed and included in your PSS support contract.
    Mike Cox
    • MS promises + consider it done?

      [i]If Microsoft says VHD support will be in Windows 7, CONSIDER IT DONE. [/i]

      LOL. 8.9 for that notion alone. ;)
  • Support for Virtual Hard Disks (IBM)

    I would say, it is funny to see the old technology coming back. :-)

    In 1990... when I was and admin on an IBM-compatible mainframe I was creating virtual devices (not only virtual disks, but virtual paper punch, virtual card punch, virtual printer, etc.) on VM/370 system. I was generating VM/370 on a virtual machine and running it on this same virtual machine.

    Good ol' days... ;-)
    Solid Water
    • What goes around, comes around

      VM370 wow. Good ol' days is right. :)
  • I was one of the people that asked for this

    The main reason I asked for this is because I work as an OEM system builder and test out virtualized deployment scenarios. In the Windows Vista world, the new WIM imaging format is great, but the next logical step is the bridge the gap between WIM's and VHD's.

    Both are used for storing hard drive data, but they're very different, and the tools for each aren't cross-compatible.

    Imagine being able to test deployments in a virtual environment, and then taking that VHD and deploying it to a real system using easy-to-use deployment tools that are similar to the current WIM deployment options such as WDS, ImageX, and the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit....

    Currently you can only convert hard drive data from a real machine to a virtual machine using the inefficient tools in Virtual PC/Server, but the market for virtual/physical machine interoperability is huge!
  • RE: Windows 7 to have support for Virtual Hard Disks

    That's all nice and dandy, but when will Windows have proper
    support for regular hard disks? Have they fully supported
    plug'n'play or is it still plug'n'pray?
    • Dude plug and play should be taken out and shot

      worst idea since endless backward compatibility.
      Virtual disks will be exactly what they need.
      • There's no such thing.... endless backwards compatibility for Microsoft. Once support ends for a product, they no longer maintain backwards compatibility. They just have longer support lifecycles than other companies, which has been a boon for the corporate world, which upgrades in very long cycles also.
    • WTF are you talking about?

      Seriously? When does a hard drive NOT work? If you plug a hard drive in, you have to partition and format it. End of story. If you've tried plugging a hard drive in while the system is on, your drive controller doesn't support hot-plug. I've NEVER had a USB, 1394, or eSATA (connected to an hot-pluggable SATA/eSATA controller) drive NOT work, and I used to use 1394 drives in Windows ME!! Windows ME supported 1394 hard drives before USB 2.0 was out, and support was better in ME than it was in 98/98SE, which for me, worked flawlessly, unlike 98SE, which was a crapchute (I had WDM drivers for every piece of hardware in my system, unlike most people - that's why it worked well. WDM's are fully 32-bit drivers, whereas the old ones were VxD's which borrow 16-bit legacy code from Windows 3.x!!!).

      If a hard drive isn't detected during Windows Setup, your drive controller isn't supported with the in-box drivers. Blame the chipset manufacturer for not submitting drivers to be included on the Windows disc, or by making it incompatible with existing drivers.
  • RE: Windows 7 to have support for Virtual Hard Disks

    I so hope this makes it, a lot of persons requested it during the Longhorn client beta. So it is most likely. The feature it guarantees is the ability to boot your installation of Windows 7 on any computer (possibly only Windows 7 PCs) I assume, but then again the ability to have access to your "computer", all your files, all your applications and settings would definitely be cool. By the time Windows 7 hits market (around 2010 I bet), most external drives will be 2 to 3 TBs standard. Complete PC Backup in Vista (Ultimate, Enterprise and Business) backup in .VHD format, I think the ability to mount that same VHD on any computer running Windows 7 would make me upgrade to this release on all my computers in a heart beat. What bothers me though is licensing, would Microsoft allow us to have an additional bootable copy of Windows in the .VHD format, since you could have your external drive while at the same time being able to boot it on another computer while still using the same computer from which it was backed up. Unless there is some validation to prevent you from running multiple copies of the system/license at the same time.
    Mr. Dee