How do I run a .vhd file on Windows 8 Pro?
Which is better, VMware or Hyper-V? I prefer a free solution if it exists.
If by "run .vhd" you mean use it in Virtualized client then read the following.
Once you initialize the vhd file in your Disk Management and then disconnect it you can then provide the HD for your VMware Player Guest initial setup. As in the following image:
If you only need to access the files from the vhd you can easily mount the vhd file since that features is already built in Windows 8