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Virtual hard disk (vhd)

The Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) commonly uses the .vhd extension.

This format is used to store virtual disk images by:

  • Microsoft Virtual PC
  • Microsoft Virtual Server
  • Microsoft Hyper-V Server

VHD support is also integrated into Windows (at least in Windows 7) where "Disk Management" (part of "Computer Management") supports attaching and creating Fixed and Dynamic VHD image files.

Image types

There are multiple types of Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) images:

  • Fixed-size hard disk image; the image contains all data
  • Dynamic-size (or sparse) hard disk image; the image contains used data only
  • Differential (or differencing, or delta) hard disk image; the image contains changes relative to its parent image


Hyper-V has functionality to create snapshots.

These snapshots are stored in Snapshot Differencing Disk (AVHD) files which commonly uses the .avhd extension.

The snapshot can be interdependent on one-another, because they are differential images of the previous snapshot.

See Also



  • libvhdi
  • VHD Data Recovery Help you recover & extract your files from a corrupt or damaged .vhd / .vhdx files. Supports Microsoft Hyper-V, Microsoft Virtual PC, Microsoft Virtual Server virtual machine drive images.