Windows 7 Ultimate can mount a .VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) file as a hard disk. So you can browse the files in the vhd file. You can also use virtual hard disks to boot your computer. This is called native vhd support for Windows 7. This means, you can create vhd files by command line, you can boot your computer to a vhd file without a hyper-visor. This method can be used as a backup system, all depending to the situations. In this tutorial, I will only show you how to mount a VHD file. The file that I'm going to use is coming from one of my old Server 2008 backup. So, if you are using the "Backup & Restore" feature of Windows 7 (all versions of Windows 7 has that feature), you might want to go back in your backup files and find just a little Word document that you deleted last week! Windows 7 built in feature can only back-up or restore. It cannot browse the backup files. It's right here that I'm going to help you. Just to be clear, this option is available only in Windows 7 Ultimate versions.


  1. From Windows menu, right click on "Computer", from the drop down menu, click on "Manage" or simply press the "Windows" + "r" (Run) and type "compmgmt.msc" than click "OK".
  2. In the left pane of the "Computer Management" window, click to choose the "Disk Management" item under the "Storage" menu. Here you can see all the (virtual & physical) disks attached to your computer.

  3. From the main menu on the top of the Computer Management window, click on "Action" and choose "Attach VHD" option. As shown in the following picture.

  4. This will open up the "Attach Virtual Hard Disk" window and you have to browse to your vhd file and choose it in order to mount it. As shown in the following picture. You can even check the "Read-only" checkbox to make sure that you don't modify anything in the vhd file. If you do so you may be unable to initialize the disk or explore the file with "Explorer" additional procedure may be required with this option selected.

  5. After choosing your VHD file and clicking the "OK" button, you will see that a new drive will appear in your "Disk Management" console. The disk will have a blue hard disk icon to show you that this is a virtual disk! Usually this icon is gray.

  6. Your disk is mounted and ready for you to explore and copy your files from your backup file (.VHD) or from one of your existing Microsoft virtual machines. Simply open a Windows "Explorer" window and you will see the newly added disk. You can even make changes on the disk and saved them to the vhd file.

  7. To detach the vhd file, return to the "Disk Management" console and right click to the area of the blue hard disk icon (previously explained), from the menu, select "Detach VHD". This will open the "Detach Virtual Hard Disk" window. Just click the "OK" button with the default settings and this will be enough to unmount the VHD. Be careful with the "Delete the virtual hard disk after removing the disk." checkbox. Selecting this option will delete your mounted vhd file after the unmount process. As shown in the following picture.

    If you experience any kind of problems or if you have better/other methods of doing these operations, please contact me or leave me comments.

Kubilay Elmas


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