I've seen a lot of guides on how to do physical -> VHD, but is there any way to easily move a VHD image to a physical disk easily? Or should I just attach the disk and go to town with GNU DD?

6 Answers 6


The dd approach works, but only if the destination physical disk can be trashed and entirely overwritten, and is at least as big as the maximum growth size of the virtual disk. This can also end up taking a long time if the virtual disk isn't "full".

An alternative approach is to use an imaging tool like Ghost or ImageX to efficiently capture the file contents of the virtual disk's partitions into some sort of extractable archive files and then extract their contents onto a partitioned physical disk.

  • clonezilla live disk to disk also could help. Aug 11, 2015 at 16:43
  • 1
    I dont think dd will work directly, VHD is not a RAW format. Might have to use qemu-img to convert it to an IMG file first. Dec 9, 2015 at 7:02
  • 2
    @limbenjamin The suggestion was to mount the VHD, and then use dd. You're absolutely correct that you can't directly use dd against the unmounted VHD image file.
    – Reuben
    Dec 10, 2015 at 2:51
  • Converting a Qemu2 file to raw and dd:ing it into SSD did the trick for me. Jul 5, 2020 at 9:04

I use the Windows only freeware tool HDD Raw Copy Tool to write .vhd images to physical media.

HDD Raw Copy Tool Screenshot

My use case is using Windows 7 to replicate FAT32 partitions onto micro SD cards but it can support a wide range of interfaces/media types.

It has a portable version available for one-off or nomadic use, or an installer if you prefer that kind of thing.

The GUI is quite straightforward:

  1. Select source (drive or file)
  2. Select destination (drive or file)
  3. Copy
  • 1
    Looks like a great app!
    – Ana Betts
    Oct 12, 2015 at 19:21
  • 1
    Can single partition be selected as target in Raw Copy Tool? I see it allows only overwriting the whole disk
    – Suncatcher
    Apr 21, 2019 at 17:23
  • 1
    @Suncatcher In my experience I don't think so
    – marijnr
    Nov 2, 2020 at 10:00

The following operations are performed on knoppix (live linux) from terminal.

  modprobe nbd
  qemu-nbd -r -c /dev/nbd0 -f vpc <vhd_file_name>

if VHDX fromat

  qemu-nbd -c /dev/nbd0 -f VHDX <vhdx_file_name>
  ddrescue -v -f /dev/nbd0 /dev/sda  >>>> image to /dev/sda writing

only one partition writing

  qemu-nbd -P 2 -r -c /dev/nbd2 -f vpc <vhd_file_name> 
  ddrescue -v -f /dev/nbd2 /dev/sda2 >>>> part2 of image to /dev/sda2 writing

partition mount

  qemu-nbd -P 2 -r -c /dev/nbd2 -f vpc <vhd_file_name> >>> -P 2 part2 of image 
  mount /dev/nbd2 /mnt 

unmount and disconnect image file

  unmount /mnt 
  qemu-nbd -d /dev/nbd2
  • Interesting use of NBD... also interesting qemu-nbd--- which i didi not know of... Thanks
    – ZEE
    Aug 21, 2018 at 15:37

If you prefer to do it using Windows based tool (but the same tool works on Linux too) you can do this:

Savepart is a tool (free but not open source, available for both Windows and Linux) that can be used to image partitions. Once the VHD is attached it can be restored to a physical partition by savepart as if it were a physical partition.

UPDATE 2021: here is the expansion of the original answer for less experienced users.

First, http://www.partition-saving.com contains a subset of utilities for working with partitions, mostly commandline, for the above concrete task you need to go to Download section and download http://damien.guibouret.free.fr/savepart.zip.

After the unpacking of archive you will see this list

enter image description here

spartw64.exe is the one you need, if you are on the recent W10 version (1903, 2004 or 20H2).

Important! you must launch the executable with elevated privileges (as Administrator), otherwise you will not see all the disks in your system.

I describe only VHD-to-Disk copy, other tasks this utility is capable of are out of the scope here.

  1. First, attach the VHD in Disk management, so that it becomes visible as a usual disk in the system. After you attach it will be visible in console blue-colored, like this

enter image description here

  1. Then close the console, and launch the savepart executable under admin account like was highlighted above and you will see the following start window

enter image description here

as our task is to copy VHD to disk, here we select Copy an element

  1. Then it shows you the available disks in the system where you should select the source disk

enter image description here

As one can see, there are other types of devices there, including RAW file, so maybe VHDs are even directly can be attached to savepart, but I decided to stick to a more conservative approach and attached VHD beforehand.

  1. So here you select the attached VHD (remember the letter?) as source and then it suggests you to use disk sector-by-sector copy if this is one-partition-disk

enter image description here

or you can select a partition and it will propose to make also sector-by-sector, or only occupied space

enter image description here

  1. So finally when all preparations are done you press OK several times, I used mouse bcz for some reason keyboard pressing didn't work for me in this old-school UI, and you end up in the copy process

enter image description here

Conclusion: copying of 167Gb partition into 300Gb target took 52m for me, but I did it from external drive and this drive had exFAT filesystem, so you numbers may be smaller.

  • 3
    Please exercise caution when recommending software. As written, your answer may be seen as spam. Your answer should include a description of the software and how it addresses the question. More information: How do I recommend software in my answers?
    – bwDraco
    Aug 11, 2015 at 17:12
  • Well, this definitely works. The whole app is very weirdy, the UI is like from 90s, the UX is not comfortable and the procedure is not obvious but, but despite my initial doubts it just works.I'll extend your answer
    – Suncatcher
    Jan 24, 2021 at 19:09
  • Thanks to Suncatcher for the very detailed instruction on how to use savepart.
    – tst
    Jan 26, 2021 at 6:34
  • How to select the target drive? It seems that it writes the VHd into disk 0 which on my system is the boot disk.
    – mans
    Jul 12, 2022 at 23:36

Attach the VHD to a virtual machine (you can use MS Virtual PC, VirtualBox or any other virtualization software that supports VHD). Then boot the VM with the Acronis True Image ISO mounted in a virtual CD drive and create TIB image, then boot the physicl computer with the same CD (this time burned on a disk) and recover the TIB image to the physical HDD using Sector-by-sector.

This supports the recovery of multiple partitions from the same image.

  • create TIB image and where to save it? To virtual HDD? What if VHD 200 or more Gb? This solution is not applicable
    – Suncatcher
    Apr 21, 2019 at 17:30

I have done this myself on the system disk using Acronis and that worked. This was a Windows 8.1 with Hyper-V and I needed to move it to the physical disk to upgrade to Windows 10.

This is how I did it: I connected the SSD to another PC and mounted the VHD. I then cloned from the mounted VHD to another SSD (I was going to replace it anyway). I chose "Manual" and default settings, but it might work with "Auto" as well.

When I booted up with the new SSD Windows wounldn't start, so I rebooted with a Windows install disk and chose "Repair". Windows started as normal directly from the disk.

The only problem after that was an error when starting a virtual machine telling me that the Hypervisor was not running. Solved this by running the following command from an elevated MS-DOS prompt and reboot: "bcdedit /set hypervisorlaunchtype Auto".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.