Most of the latest Microsoft Operating Systems with added packages/applications are available for download officially as VHD pre installed images. Even though these VHD files are mainly made for Microsoft’s server virtualization hypervisor: Hyper-V and desktop virtualization software: Virtual PC, but still you can use them on Oracle VirtualBox. By using pre installed virtual machine disk files, we can save considerable amount of time. We do not need to download installable ISO file and do the installation. This simple guide shows how to open and run Microsoft VHD files on Oracle VirtualBox on a desktop computer.
Obviously the method is very simple and straight forward, because VirtualBox supports VHD files very well. You do not need to make any changes or conversion to make it work.
Basically you need to create a virtual machine with proper OS type which you downloaded from Microsoft or other sites as VHD. Fine tune the basic configuration of virtual machine as you like, for example processor cores, RAM etc. But instead of creating a new virtual hard disk, you need to open the existing hard disk.
1) After downloading the pre installed virtual machine VHD file (it comes as a compressed EXE file) from Microsoft, make sure to extract it by opening the EXE file.
In this example, I have downloaded Windows 2012 pre installed VHD file which will be used to open on VirtualBox on my Windows 8 computer. The good thing about downloading these VHD files from Microsoft is, it comes with 180 days trail validity. This 6 months time should be enough for the experiment or to buy the license.
Read Also: Free Microsoft VHD files
2) Create a Windows 2012 server virtual machine on VirtualBox as below. Make sure to select ‘Use an existing… disk’. Click on the browse button and browse the extracted VHD file.
3) That’s it, now you can switch on the virtual machine. That will be running on the VHD file you have downloaded.
It’s a great advantage of Oracle VirtualBox which supports multiple virtual hard disk formats like VHD, VMDK and HDD.
Here is the working Windows 2012 Virtual machine on VirtualBox which was downloaded from Microsoft site as a pre installed VHD image.