I have a situation where I need to deploy hundreds of thousands of files (~700Gb in 100k files), putting these files onto a machine takes more than 24 hours. The little files and directories being the problem.

I need to deploy this information to 35 machines and may need to do this monthly - at a remote site but one that is isolated/secure, so a physical presence is needed.

One thought I have is that I can generate a VHD containing these files and mount the VHD (Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 comes with a mount-driver). This will mean that my copy operations should complete much quicker. Now I need to experiment/benchmark my theory. This is not a virtual-machine environment, the VHD will be a virtual-drive on the host OS.

So, I know how to mount the VHD, how do I create it in the first place?

I know this is possible in Windows7 but it isn't my target platform!


There is a tool to quickly create fixed-size vhd files without virtual pc installed:

VHD Creation Tool


Use virtual PC, create a VHD containing your OS image (this will be a one-time only op), then add a second VHD to it and copy your files into there. Shut down the VPC and copy off the VHD.

You can accomplish the same using ImageX and a WIM - just because it's used for PC images doesn't mean it has to store a PC image.


If you're talking 700 gigs of information per machine, a VHD doesn't sound like a very good idea. If you run into trouble with that, you may want to consider just getting a high speed disk cloner and clone 35 hard drives, then on the workstations have a hot-swap drive bay or external encloser that is easy to swap drives out of.

  • We have been separately looking into a disk-cloner, but we have a small complication. The target machines have 2x 1TB disk (the O/S and the Data). Recently we've been contracted to host an additional source that we need to put that onto the C-drive [only place big enough], without changing the hardware.
    – Ray Hayes
    Jul 9 '09 at 8:36
  • So, to add to the last post, each machine has 1 of these data stores (no commonality) each of which is 750Gb, a drive clone will work for the D-drive but the data on the C-drive can't be cloned as there will be other local data on the machines.
    – Ray Hayes
    Jul 9 '09 at 8:38

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