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I am studying for MCSA and have got myself so confused. What is the difference if any?

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VHD is a HDD image file format, virtual disk is a device.

There are many formats for virtual HDD images and VHD is just one of them (VirtualBox uses VDI, VMware has VMDK etc.). These are images, not devices.

Virtual disk is a device that doesn't exist physically, so an emulated (or virtualised) HDD, CD-ROM or something like that.

In some contexts VHD and virtual disk can be synonymous, but if you're pedantic then these two are competely different things. It's like saying that JPEG is a photo - JPEG isn't a photo, it's a compression algorithm used in EXIF files that can be used to compress photos.

  • Thanks for getting me back. I have one question which wants me to order the steps of creating a virtual disk and the other on create and mount a VHD. I am guessing from what you have said the VHD is a file which which can be added to a virtual machine and taken away like a usb stick? I am thinking a virtual disk is what is created from a storage pool in windows server 2012? I am not sure though still – topcat Mar 28 '13 at 21:41
  • topcat: Yes, a VHD is a file which can be added to a virtual machine and taken away like a USB stick. That was the original intended use of the VHD file format. Later versions of Microsoft Windows have supported the ability to mount VHD files directly. This answer's second paragraph is exactly right. – TOOGAM Feb 3 '18 at 8:56
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I will tell you that one has three letters and one has eleven; Seriously, VHD stands for Virtual Hard Disk/Drive, they are one in the same. There are differences with how each vendor creates/implements them, but since your studying for the mcsa it's safe to so it's likely talking about MS technology unless the book/exam specifically says otherwise. The difference between a VHD and a physical drive is that the VHD is just a file that sits on a physical drive, but to a virtual machine appears as a physical drive. There is also software that can make a vhd appear as a physical drive to a regular workstation, enabling you to operate on it as if it were a real disk, without having to attach it to a virtual machine.

  • Thanks for getting me back. I have one question which wants me to order the steps of creating a virtual disk and the other on create and mount a VHD. I am guessing from what you have said the VHD is a file which which can be added to a virtual machine and taken away like a usb stick? I am thinking a virtual disk is what is created from a storage pool in windows server 2012? I am not sure though still – topcat Mar 28 '13 at 21:22
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    I don't know about a storage pool, but you create a virtual disk using the virtual disk wizard typically, the file can either be created on a local hard drive or a flash drive, the latter would give you better performance, with the drawback of a different drive letter upon re-insertion, and also limited lifetime read/writes. – MDMoore313 Mar 28 '13 at 23:35
  • I know this is an old comment I'm replying to, but still... if anybody is wondering about Server 2012, feel free to create a different question. New questions in SuperUser are free to create. But asking new questions withone one of these "question" web pages is generally frowned upon, unless you're basically asking for some clarification (which it looks like might be what you're doing). If you want to clarify the order of operations, that's really a separate topic, so make sure to ask a separate question. And please accept an answer to this question if any one of these answers helped. – TOOGAM Feb 3 '18 at 8:57
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A VHD is a virtual disk. VHD is short for virtual hard disk.

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A VHD is a Virtual Hard Drive and is a file that emulates a hard drive. A virtual disk is a collection of physical disk space from one or more physical disk that appear as one physical disk.

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I found this question looking for the same answer, but in terms of Powershell commandlets. There is a difference and it seems to be:

PS commandlets using VirtualDisk (New-VirtualDisk) work within StoragePools.

IE: Use New-VirtualDisk to create a virtual disk within a StoragePool.

PS commandlets using VHD (New-VHD) work with VHD & VHDX files.

IE: Use New-VHD to create a virtual disk (VHD or VHDX) file.

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