Read time 7 minutes

Summary: This blog guides users in opening VHD and VHDX files, explaining their formats and offering steps for VirtualBox use. It also recommends the Kernel VHD/VHDX Viewer tool for an easier, efficient alternative.

Are you attempting to access and work with data within your VHD file? You’re in the right place. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of opening your VHD file, whether you choose to use VirtualBox or not. It’s worth noting that Microsoft now offers official downloads of their operating systems in VHDX/VHD format.

Hyper-V is Microsoft’s server virtualization hypervisor for which VHD files are most importantly made for.

What are VHD AND VHDX files?

Before moving on to the topic, let’s discuss the VHD and VHDX files we are going to work with.

  • VHD: This file is a virtual hard disk image commonly associated with Windows Virtual PC. Although it’s an older format, it’s quite compatible and straightforward to use when attached within VirtualBox.
  • VHDX: This file is a Windows 8 Virtual Hard Drive (VHDX) file, which functions similarly to a physical hard drive. VHDX is a relatively newer file format. When attempting to open a VHDX file in VirtualBox, it typically opens in a read-only mode, ensuring that the original file remains unchanged.
How to open a VHD/VHDX file in VirtualBox?

Opening VHD files can be a straightforward process, especially when done correctly. One efficient way to accomplish this is by utilizing Oracle VirtualBox. Additionally, significant time savings can be achieved by using pre-installed virtual machine disk files, eliminating the need to download and install ISO files. Let’s dive into the steps to make this process smooth and efficient:

Read Also : Convert VHD to VHDX File

  • Open VHDX file in VirtualBox

Before proceeding with the VHD file opening process in VirtualBox, it’s essential to convert it into the VDI format. While various options exist for opening VHD files, utilizing the built-in functionality of VirtualBox is often the most straightforward and preferred approach.

  1. Search for the Command Prompt in the search box and run it as Administrator.
  2. Now, trace the VirtualBox installation location, which is mostly at:
    C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox
  3. Once you are at the given location and have found the VirtualBox. Execute the command we are going to mention below:
    VBoxManage.exe clonemedium disk “D:\Windows2019.vhd” D:\Windows2019.vdi –format vdi

This will take a few minutes to convert the file, wait for it, and you are done.

  • Open VHD file in VirtualBox

Now, let’s open VHD files with VirtualBox by following the below-mentioned steps:

  1. As the VirtualBox main window opens on your screen, click on the New button. As you do this, a Create New Virtual Machine wizard opens.
  2. In that wizard, select the Operating System as per the VHD. Also, mention the base memory.
    Note: When you are specifying the memory of your host machine, make sure it matches the value of the required memory of the virtualized OS.
  3. Now, when the virtual Hard Disk page appears, you need to click on the folder icon you see there. This will open the Virtual Media Manager on your screen. This is when you will specify the VHD.
  4. Once done, you will need to click on the Next button.
  5. Now, review the summary that you will get on your screen, and click on the Finish button.
  6. Now, you will be on the VirtualBox main Window; there you will need to click on the Start button.

After this, the virtual machine should boot on your screen. If not, you might need to adjust the environment settings. In such a situation, you can follow the below-mentioned steps:

  1. Go to the VirtualBox main Window and select the virtual machine.
  2. Once done, click on the Settings option.
  3. Now, select the system. Once selected, try all of the options given below:
    a. Enable the IO APIC by clicking on the motherboard.
    b. Enable 1/multiple CPU’s and disable PAE/NX features on the processor.
    c. Configure VHD as a SATA device. Even if the VHD was configured as a SATA device in the original machine, try reconfiguring it.
Open VHD/VHDX Files with a Free Viewer

If the previous steps seemed confusing or time-consuming, there’s a convenient alternative. You can use the Kernel VHD/VHDX Viewer to open and view VHD/VHDX files quickly and effortlessly. Let’s walk through the straightforward process of opening and viewing VHD files using this tool:

  1. Once the tool is properly downloaded and installed, click on the Select button on the home screen of the tool.
    home screen of the tool
  2. Now, select a VHD file that you want to open and view and click on the Open button.
    select a VHD file
  3. Now, select the mode of the scan. Depending on your requirement, you can choose from either one. Here we are going for Quick Scan.
    select the mode of the scan
  4. As you proceed, the tool will show you the Virtual Disks available on your system. Please select the one that is required, and click on the Next button.
    tool will show you the Virtual Disks
  5. Now, for a better understanding and experience, the tool will ask you to select the partition type. Please select between Use existing partition info and Search Partition. Click on Ok after making a choice.
    Search Partition
  6. In your Virtual Disk, select the partition and click on the Scan button.
    select the partition
  7. As you proceed to the next step, the tool will suggest you switch the scanning mode in order to achieve the best result. If you do not find all your items listed, better go for the different mode and try again. If not, click on the Ok button.
    click on the Ok
  8. Finally, click on the individual files one by one to have the preview of the contents in it.
    preview of the contents

Indeed, opening VHD/VHDX files using the Kernel VHD/VHDX Viewer tool is a breeze. By following these straightforward steps, you can access your VHD files effortlessly. This tool is adept at opening VHD files while preserving all available data, including images, documents, PDFs, and more. Moreover, it can handle severely corrupt files and offers a search feature for easy file retrieval.


In this blog, we have delved into the world of VHD files and provided guidance on how to open them. We began by explaining the concepts of VHD and VHDX files. While we explored the option of opening VHD files with Oracle VirtualBox, we acknowledged that the manual process to open VHD files can be somewhat challenging and time-consuming.

To streamline and simplify the process, we introduced an alternative approach. We recommended using the Kernel VHD/VHDX Viewer tool, which allows for effortless VHD file access. This tool not only simplifies the process but also ensures that your VHD files are easily accessible.

We hope this blog has been informative and assists you in your VHD file management tasks.

Kernel for VHD Viewer