How to Backup a Disk to a VHDX, VHD, VMDK, or VDI File

In this post we’ll describe how to backup a disk to a VHDX, VHD, VMDK, or VDI file. You could use the file as a disk image backup and then restore the disk again to a new disk from it, or  you could mount the virtual disk file to Hyper-V, VMware, or VirtualBox, or other compatible system and boot the physical computer as a virtual machine. This  is why the software below refers to it as V2P conversion, it’s also essentially a disk image backup, or “disk backup to file” transfer.

First download and install BackupChain. Once it starts up, you could create a new task, especially if you want to repeat the steps below in the future, or you could do a once-off disk image backup by selecting “Disk Tools” from the main menu, then “Disk Backup and Disk Converter”, then “Copy Physical Disk to Disk Image File (P2V) as shown below:

After that, a new screen opens where you may select the physical disk that you want to backup to a VHDX or other format. Now, select the disk and the target format, for example, VHDX or VMDK for VMware:

After you select the disk in the first box above, select the target folder and file name by clicking Browse (‘Target Disk Image File” box). Below that is a selection of disk formats to choose from. The Target Disk Type may be left at its default value.
That’s all there is to it! Once you click “Start”, the copy process will commence and the disk contents will be copied into a VHDX file.

What to Do With a VHDX Disk Image File?

So you may wonder what are the possibilities once I have copied a disk into a VHDX file? There are in fact quite a few benefits.

Disk Image Backup

You might want to use this method as a disk image backup solution. This means you have a complete, sector-based backup of your disk and you can mount it in Windows to extract files and folders any time you want. You can also copy VHDX to disk and thereby restore your system if the disk ever fails.

Boot from VHDX or VHD in Windows

In the old days, when you wanted to multi-boot several versions of windows, you had to use partitioning software, create separate partitions and install different Windows versions in different partitions. That’s no longer needed. Starting with Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows 7 and later, Windows can now boot directly from VHD or VHDX files. Windows 8 and later supports VHDX. All you need to do is create an boot entry using a Windows command called bcdedit. Hence, there is no need to partition your disk anymore, and it’s just as fast as having a dedicated partition.

Run your PC or Server Inside a Virtual Machine

To backup a disk to VHDX is basically to create a virtual disk from your physical disk. This is often called a P2V conversion. Once you have the VHDX created by BackupChain, you could create a Hyper-V VM and attach it there and boot from it. If you plan to do that, use the option ‘Apply Universal Boot Settings’ in the screen above, so that BackupChain modifies the boot loader. It will then use more compatible settings to work better inside a VM.

But Wait, There’s More!

You may have noticed the first option “Selected Backup Type” is set to “Disk to Image”. This basically means you want to copy a disk to an image file. If you click on the dropdown, you will notice BackupChain also offers the opposite copy mechanism: image to disk (V2P conversion) and other options, too. Hence, once your disk image file is complete you could use it to copy the disk image back to a physical disk or convert it into a different virtual disk format, for example, convert VMDK to VHDX.
You can download the software here.

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