This simple method shows how to clone virtual machine in virtual pc 2007 within a Minute. Do you know what’s the deal in it? Cloning option is not available in Virtual PC console. So the following trick will help to create multiple VMs in short time and less disk space.
We will use ‘differencing disk’ technology to clone virtual machines. This method is similar to ‘ Linked’ clone in VMware. Find out more information about VMware linked clone here.
How cloning works in Virtual PC in this method?
Lets assume, I have a running virtual machine which is having expanded 5GB hard disk and I like to create similar 5 VMs of it. If cloning is not available then I have to either copy full had disk VHD file or install again everything 5 times. Finally I will spend time and 5 x 5GB = 25GB disk space on host computer.
By this cloning method in Virtual PC 2007 with differencing disk technology, we can create 5 VMs very quickly and with very less space. We will set existing Virtual machine’s hard disk as ‘parent disk’ and create 5 differencing disks for 5 new VMs.
Important Note – You must shut down the original virtual machine which belongs to parent disk and make the parent disk VHD file as ‘ Read Only’ in Windows explorer properties. Because cloned Virtual machines should not modify the parent disk.
Now create new Virtual machine with same OS type and different configurations with selecting this differencing disk as main hard disk.
After powering on, you will get the exact machine which is in parent disk. Further changes on newly created machine will be saved on differencing disk. Repeat the same steps for another 4 machines.
I’m illustrating the steps for one VM here.
Clone Virtual machine in Virtual PC 2007 in a Minute.
I have a opensuse 11.3 VM on Virtual PC 2007, installation is slightly not straight forward and took some time. So I don’t want to repeat the same again to prepare one more VM, lets clone it. VHD location is as shown below.
1) Go to VHD location and make it Read only.
2) Create a new differencing VHD disk which should point to above disk as parent disk.
Go to Virtual Disk Wizard, select create new disk wizard and A Virtual hard disk option.
3) Browse for the location to save new VHD file. Select differencing option in next option.
4) In next screen, point the parent disk you made it read only in earlier step.
5) Once disk is created successfully, create a new virtual machine, select existing disk option and browse the newly created disk.
6) That’s it, click finish and start virtual machine now. My differencing disk took just 120MB and opensuse 11.3 is up and running, its a cloned and different VM.
I’m sure these simple steps will be helpful to clone virtual machines in Virtual PC 2007 without reinstalling or copying disk files. It saves time and huge space on host computer.
These machines will work as normal VMs, you can do anything. But make sure to NOT touching Parent VHD disk. If you delete or move or modify the parent disk then all virtual machines running with differencing disks will stop working.
Share your comments and issues on this method.