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I'm in the process of moving a number of virtual machines that are homed on shared storage (a file share, though shared cluster disk would work as well) to a new VM host with access to the same shared storage. The new host is a different build version (moving from Windows Server 2012 Beta to Windows Server 2012 RC - though this same process could be used with migrations of Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 to Windows Server 2012 as well), so I cannot migrate the machine with inbox tooling.

I need to remove the VM from management of the source Hyper-V host in order to import the VM to the new Hyper-V host. I want to retain the configuration file, so I can import the VM as it stands and not need to reconfigure it.

The VHD files are rather large and they are staying on the same file share, so I'd rather not duplicate them during the move process.

2 Answers 2

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It is called configuration only export / import. Did you check this article by Ben Armstrong, Hyper-V Program Manager? Similar solutions are also described here and here.

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It's insane that this is not built into HyperV manager, or at least as a flag to the Remove-VM commandlet.

I use a set of VMs produced by a co-worker. He exports them from his server and then I import them into my dev machine. When he has a new version, I want to import that but keep the old version around until I know the new one works. They have the same GUID so I can't have them in HyperV manager side-by-side.

What I do is go to the VM folder and just create a copy of the Virtual Machines. Then I delete the VM from hyper-v, which cause the config files from that folder to be removed. Then I just copy them back from my copy of the folder.

In my case this is not too hard, because each VM is fully contained in a single folder:

VM1
  - Virtual Hard Disks
  - Snapshots
  - Virtual Machines   (this is the folder to backup)
VM2
  - Virtual Hard Disks
  - Snapshots
  - Virtual Machines   (this is the folder to backup)

If your VMs config files are kept somewhere else you have to find the GUID of it and make a backup of it. This works as good, but is a bit more work

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