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Difference between copy, clone and export VHD file

Posted on 2014-03-27
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Last Modified: 2014-03-29
Hi, we have a Win2008R2 Hyper-V server running with several VMs.  I would like to copy one of the VM's to an external drive and test it out at home on my home lab.
Can I simply copy the vhd file or what is the difference between copying, cloning and exporting the VM?
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Question by:Soho_Dan
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13 Comments
 
LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:Manjunath Sullad
ID: 39960758
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LVL 35

Assisted Solution

by:Dan Craciun
Dan Craciun earned 664 total points
ID: 39960768
If you want to move the VM to another machine, you need to use export, to preserve the settings and snapshots.
See here: http://www.petri.co.il/importing-and-exporting-your-virtual-machines.htm

Clone creates a copy of the current VM. In Hyper-V you copy/paste/rename the source VHD(X) then attach it to a new VM.
See here: http://www.anotherwindowsblog.com/2013/04/creating-vm-clones-in-microsoft-hyper-v.html

HTH,
Dan
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LVL 11

Accepted Solution

by:
Pradeep Dubey earned 1336 total points
ID: 39960812
Hi,
You need VM to be tested in your home lab so just copy the VHD file ( make sure there is no snpashot of the VM If yes then consolidate then copy) and bring it to your home. At home create a VM and connect this VHD and enjoy with the same VM.
Things to be remember :
In the VM @home make sure disk controller are same.


If your VM have snapshots and you dont want to consolidate them then use export option. This will be doing all the things for you and copy to the destination (used for export) with each and every file along with the VM settings.
@home you have to import this VM and enjoy with the same settings..

Clone and export option is for the VM which is running and you dont want to shutdown it. After cloning it will make same copy of the VM and then export it for you.

Let me know if you have any confusion.
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Author Comment

by:Soho_Dan
ID: 39960823
Pradeep, so you're saying if I copy the vhd file, I have to shutdown the VM first?

If I were to export or clone the VM, will this slow down the VM?  Just want to know if I can do this during the day (working hours).
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 39960827
It will slow down the I/O operations (as you are reading/writting a large amount of data) for the duration of the export operation.

Btw, I recommend to always use export. This way you don't have to remember the old VM settings, it's all there.
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Author Comment

by:Soho_Dan
ID: 39960829
If I use the export feature, can I select the location of the exported VM?  I wish to export to an external USB drive.
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 39960830
Yup.
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LVL 11

Assisted Solution

by:Pradeep Dubey
Pradeep Dubey earned 1336 total points
ID: 39960831
Yes for copying the VHD file VM need to be shutdown as it is in use and will not allow you to copy it.

Export VM will make it slow as Dan already said.

Clone and export will not harm running VM during the clone only it will be slightly slow.

Yes you can specify the path during the export.
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Author Comment

by:Soho_Dan
ID: 39960834
Thanks guys for the answers!  I do have one more.

What does a backup software do when it backs up a VM?
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 39960838
Depends on the guest.

For Windows/supported guests it takes a snapshot and backups that, without shutting down the VM.

For Linux/unsupported guests, it shuts down the VM and backs up a saved state.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:Pradeep Dubey
ID: 39960845
thats depend upon the software.

If you are using a software which installed in the VM will take backup of the VM's internal disk.

If you are using a software which takes VM's backup will copy the VM's disk.

please specify the backup software or start a new question with the backup tags.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Soho_Dan
ID: 39960851
Thank you! I will open a new thread about backing up VMs.
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Author Comment

by:Soho_Dan
ID: 39964501
Just FYI, the export option is not available if the VM is still running.  I have to shutdown the VM.
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