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Summary: This article explores VMDK to VHD conversion, highlighting reasons for the transition from VMware to Hyper-V, introducing Microsoft’s Virtual Machine Converter, and addressing challenges with corrupt VMDK files, suggesting Kernel VMDK Recovery as a solution.

Virtualization has emerged as a highly favored solution for organizations worldwide, enabling them to maximize the efficiency of their hardware resources. While a multitude of virtualization tools exists in the market, two prominent contenders that have garnered widespread acclaim are VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V.

Each of these applications possesses its unique specifications and strengths, and they are not inherently compatible with one another. VMware software employs the VMDK file format for storing virtual disks, while Microsoft Hyper-V relies on the VHD format. Consequently, situations may arise where there is a need to convert VMDK files to the VHD file format.

In this article, we will discuss VMDK and VHD files, and how you can convert VMDK files to VHD format. But, before that let’s see what VMDK and VHD file is.

What is VMDK?

VMDK, short for Virtual Machine Disk, is a file format generated by VMware virtual machines. Virtual machines are capable of emulating complete computer systems and provide the functionalities of physical computers. A .vmdk file can contain the entirety of a hard drive’s data and serve as a conventional storage device or backup repository for critical information. VMDK files can accommodate up to 2 terabytes (TB) of data. Nevertheless, when utilizing VMware vSphere, the storage capacity can be extended to a maximum of 62 gigabytes (GB). Numerous VMware products employ the VMDK file format, including:

  • VMware Workstation
  • VMware ESX
  • VMware ESXi
  • VMware Fusion
  • VMware Server
  • VMware Player

Also, there are some third-party tools that use the same file format.

Read Also: Difference Between VHD and VMDK Files

What is VHD?

A VHD file, which stands for Virtual Hard Disk, was initially introduced by Connectix for virtualization purposes. However, in 2003, Microsoft acquired this technology, and in 2005, the VHD format was made accessible to third-party developers under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise. A VHD is capable of functioning just like a conventional physical disk, enabling the installation of operating systems, creation of files and folders, and the execution of applications, among other functions. Furthermore, the size of a VHD is adaptable and can be dynamically managed and controlled through a virtualization manager.

Reasons to Convert VMDK to VHD

There are numerous scenarios that may necessitate the conversion of VMDK to VHD. For instance, if you intend to transition from a VMware environment to Microsoft Hyper-V, converting VMDK files to VHD becomes essential. Similarly, if you are leveraging Azure cloud services and need to migrate VMware workloads to the cloud, converting VMDK to VHD is a crucial step in the process.

Managing tasks on Windows Server is often perceived as more straightforward, as users typically do not require additional training. Furthermore, Microsoft Hyper-V is integrated as an inherent feature within Windows Server, eliminating the need for additional expenses associated with VMware licensing.

Additionally, there is a significant demand from users who seek to convert VMDK files to VHD formats in order to safeguard their data against potential loss or to maintain it as a reliable backup. Consequently, numerous queries are submitted on Microsoft forums seeking guidance on how to perform this conversion without encountering corruption or data loss issues.

Methods to Convert VMDK to VHD

Indeed, while various third-party solutions are available for VMDK to VHD conversion, they often come with associated costs. To address this, Microsoft offers a free solution known as the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter, which enables users to perform VMDK to VHD conversions using PowerShell commands. This utility provides a cost-effective alternative for users seeking to accomplish this task without incurring additional expenses.

Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0

The Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter is a stand-alone software designed primarily for IT professionals and solution providers. It serves as a valuable tool for those looking to transition from Virtual Machine Disks to Microsoft’s Hyper-V hosts and Azure. Additionally, individuals interested in converting physical machines and disks to Hyper-V hosts can also leverage this utility to facilitate the migration process.

It’s worth noting that the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter supports Windows PowerShell, enabling users to automate conversion tasks and integrate them seamlessly into data center automation workflows. This latest version of the Virtual Machine Converter also introduces the capability to perform online conversions of physical machines into virtual hard disks, providing an enhanced and versatile solution for various conversion scenarios.

However, before installing the tool, make sure your system meets the following requirements:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 operating system
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 or 4 if you’re installing MVMC on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 if you’re installing MVMC on Windows Server 2012 or Windows 8
  • Feature Bits Compact server
  • Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2012 Update 1

Now, let’s have a look at the working process of this machine.

  1. Download and install Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter on your system.
  2. After installing Microsoft Conversion kit, start PowerShell and use the below cmdlet to import the following module:
  3. Import-Module “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter\mvmcCmdlet.psd1”
  4. Once the module is imported, you can use the below cmdlet to convert the VMDK to VHD.
  5. PS C:\>ConvertTo-MvmcVirtualHardDisk -SourceLiteralPath E:\SERVERNAME\SERVER
    NAME.vmdk -VhdType DynamicHardDisk -VhdFormat vhdx -destination E:\VHD\
  6. Once the VMDK file is converted to VHD, you can create a new VM in Hyper-V manager and select an existing disk. If you have more than one disk, then create VM with one disk, and then add other disks.

Converting healthy and normal VMDK files to VHD might be easy, but if the VMDK files are corrupt, then it’s not possible to convert them. However, there are some free methods to repair corrupt VMDK files. But, there is no guarantee that you’ll able to convert VMDK files with manual methods even after repairing them. So, what you can do is use a VMDK recovery software that offers flawless VMware recovery of VMDK files – Kernel VMDK Recovery.

How to recover a corrupt VMDK file – Kernel VMDK Recovery

It is an efficient tool that allows quick VMware recovery of VMDK files. With Kernel VMDK Recovery tool, you can recover VMDK files of every VMware Workstation, VirtualBox, etc. Also, the user interface of the tool is very simple; even non-technical users can use it. It is embedded with some excellent features, such as:

  • Recovering all types of VMDK files like VMware Workstation & VirtualBox
  • Offer preview of VMDK files before saving the file
  • Capable of restoring every data type like audio files, docs, media files, etc.
  • Restore even permanently deleted items of VMDK files
  • Allow searching specific files with the Find feature

A trial version of the tool that allows you to save up to 250 MB of data is available.


Converting VMDK to VHD becomes essential in cases of file corruption or when transitioning from VMware to Hyper-V. However, if VMDK files are corrupt, the conversion process can be challenging. In such scenarios, you may need to utilize tools like Kernel VMDK Recovery to recover and repair the corrupt VMDK files before proceeding with the conversion. This blog post explores the steps involved in converting VMDK files, including those that may be corrupt, into the VHD format.

Kernel for VMDK Recovery