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The time has come for me to configure a new windows server machine. This time though, It would be great if I could run it in a virtual machine and eventually upload the vm to some host somewhere, say, windows azure but other suggestions are welcome.

Is there any kind of VM software I can download that will spit out some kind of image file that hosts would accept to reconstruct my machine?

Thank you!

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I build virtual machine images for Azure using Hyper-V, of course. The primary thing to worry about is that you have to use a VHD disk rather than a VHDX disk. For Windows, you need to sysprep the image, and for Linux you need to install the Windows Azure agent in the guest.

See also Microsoft's documentation on creating a Windows image for Azure and creating a Linux image for Azure

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That's neat, so I can install the hyper-v server and play around with my VM's and transfer them between physical machines? That would be liberating if so. –  IsaacB Nov 26 '13 at 19:17
    
Yes, with only the small few caveats noted here and in Microsoft's documentation, you can pretty much freely move a Hyper-V VHD into Azure. –  Michael Hampton Nov 26 '13 at 19:25
    
Just for information, why not provisioning a new VM on azure, customizing it and then capturing the image ? This way you don't have to upload anything –  Nicolas Dorier Dec 21 '13 at 12:56
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