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Is it possible to mount the VHD files created by the Windows Server 2008 backup utility onto a Windows 7 (release) client?

Following an array failure I was very worried that there was a problem with both the backup sets on different USB drives as attaching the VHD to a Win 7 box did not show the expected structure (instead they behaved like unformatted disk space).

Subsequently, I've attached the backup drive to a 2008r2 machine that I'd intended to be the replacement and the backup set can be browsed without issue (seemingly). When the new disks arrive I'll go through the recovery process and see where we are, but it looks promising so far.

Is it simply the case that you can't take server created VHD's and mount them on desktop machines?

(Rather than hyper-ventilating at the thought of years of lost photos and email, I'm now just mildly curious)

Edit:One thing that has confused things is that the backup utility on Win7 is more restrictive about restoring from external devices than the equivilent on 2008r2. With r2, I can restore files 'from another server' and browse to external storage. Win7 only allows the back to be located on a network share. Once my box of new disks arrive and I've got something to restore onto, I'll move the smaller of the backup VHDs onto network storage reachable by Win7 and see if the VHD is readable.

I haven't read up on the VHD process used by the backup app - I'm assuming it's a base VHD and differencing files used for incremental backups and that the restore app understands this.

Finally: In retrospect the question should have been, 'can I restore a 2008r2 backup set via a Win 7 client'


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Check out… – Evan Anderson Oct 29 '09 at 7:19

VHDs are simply virtual hard drives, as the name suggests. I can't see why it matters where or how they were created.

In fact, this link talks about why it should be working.

EDIT: Have a look at disk2vhd from SysInternals.

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Me neither - I think I'm experiencing the issue described here:… – Simon Devlin Oct 29 '09 at 8:06

You can do it with diskpart. This web page has instructions for mounting the VHD. As for restoring it, you should be able to simply extract the VHD to the machine's HDD and then restore the boot sector using diskpart. Voila!

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