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It's quite easy to backup a real drive to VHD, e.g. with Sysinternal's Disk2VHD on XP or with Windows Image Backup on Windows 7. But how do I copy that file back?

It's possible by booting a recovery CD or the Windows installation DVD. But can it also be done from a running operation system? Can it be scripted?

We want to clone a drive to another drive daily using this.

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You just want to use the VHD as an exchange format? Without ever running it in a virtual machine? Then use imaging software like Clonezilla, Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image. –  mailq Aug 2 '11 at 15:57
    
Microsoft chose VHD as it's image format for any kind of activity: They use it for backups and in Win 7 you can mount them directly. The question how to RESTORE a backup is surely okay! –  Christian Aug 4 '11 at 6:35
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3 Answers

There are at least two similar questions that got accepted answers:

http://superuser.com/questions/40294/copying-a-vhd-to-a-physical-disk

Vdisk (vhd) to physical

But you can't do it from a running OS.

It would be a hard thing to script this. Following the Linux dd aproach one could say that everything is possible. Boot from PXE, locate the VHD, locate the physical disc, dd from V to P, when finished reboot.

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Not aware of a free way but I know one of Acronis's products ('True Image'?) can do this.

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qemu-img command which is part of the QEMU emulator package supports VHD according to its manual page (though I have never needed this myself). I do not know if this works on Windows but on Linux at least it does (I suppose it does not matter as you did not tag your desired platform?).

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