By Ivy / Last update October 28, 2021

What is VHD file?

VHD stand for virtual hard disk, which is a common disk image (also called a virtual machine) format used as part of the Hyper-V feature of Windows Server 2008 (R2). It can store files, folders, file system, and disk partitions and encapsulate these data in a single file.

Vhd File

Why you cannot find the backup image?

Sometimes, users choose to backup files to network drive via VHD. However, some users cannot find the backup image from VHD file when they try to restore the computer using installation disc. Here, I’ll give you the clear idea. 

The regular Network Adapter in Hyper –V requires drivers under Server 2008 (R2), that’s to say, you cannot see the network under the Windows Recovery Environment unless you have these drivers installed. If there are no drivers, the Windows Recovery Environment cannot use Network card and you cannot find the image on the network.

Thus, before restoring VHD files, you need to go back to the Hyper-V Manager console, delete the existing network adapter and add a Legacy Network Adapter in your virtual machine.

How to restore VHD file in Windows 2008 (R2) Server

Now, let's have a closer look at how to restore VHD to physical disk correctly in Windows Server 2008 (R2). You just need to follow the steps below.

Restore VHD to physical disk correctly

Step 1. Get the VHD locations that contains backup. For example: \\\share\backup.

Step 2. Confirm both your computer and the backup on the same network.

Step 3. Insert the installation disc into your computer, set boot priority to this disc and press any key to boot from it when prompted.

Step 4. In the first screen, set up language and other preference and click Next.

Step 5. Click Repair your computer > Troubleshoot > System Image Recovery in order and then select your operating system listed in the window.

Step 6. Click Cancel to stop your computer restore to a previous date.

Step 7. Click Next > Advanced > Search for a system image on the network, then click Yes to connect to the network and re-image your computer.

Step 8. It will ask you to specify the location of your backup image, because it cannot find the VHD file. You need to click Cancel twice > Troubleshoot > Command Prompt.

Step 9. Type the following commands and hit Enter to run it.

  • net use \\\share\backup(this command is used to connect the network share that contains the VHD file. Type user name and password if needed.)

  • diskpart

  • select vdisk file=”\\\share\backup\backup.vhd”

  • attach vdisk

Step 10. Type exit twice to exit Diskpart and Command Prompt window.

Step 11. Select Troubleshoot > System Image Recovery and then choose Windows Server 2008 (R2). Now, you are able to find the latest backup image. Just tick Select a system image and follow the prompt to finish the rest of the steps.

Easier Way to backup and restore image in Windows 2008 (R2) Server

The process of restoring VHD file in Windows Server 2008 (R2) is complicated. The worse thing is that you may not find your backup image on network share. Thus, I think you may need an alternative backup and restore software like AOMEI Backupper Server. It's very easy-to-use, even for a beginner. It does not cause you any trouble. 

In addition, it has many useful features you may need: 

  • Daily/weekly/monthly: These backup settings help you backup your system regularly, including the latest updates, newly installed apps, modified files etc.

  • Event triggers: To backup system without any interference, you could use "System Shutdown" in event trigger backup.

  • Incremental or differential backup: To only backup changed files, incremental backup or differential backup is recommended. Because it can save your backup time and disk space.

  • USB plug in: This feature helps you backup image to a recognized USB drive whenever you connect it to your computer and the task will automatically start. No human intervention.

  • Backup Scheme: This feature bring much convenience to users who create schedule backup continuously. With it, you can delete old backup images based on a specific role, and the process is automatic.

Creating a backup in Windows Server 2008 (R2)

Download, install and open AOMEI Backupper Server, click Backup and select System Backup, then select destination path and click Start Backup. For destination, you can backup image to external hard drive, network drive, NAS, internal hard drive, Google Drive, etc. 

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Restoring backup with AOMEI Backupper Server

Once you have a backup, you can restore your system backup at any time. To restore system image, you can click Restore and Select Task, then select a system image backup and tick Restore this system backup, finally choose a destination path and click Start Restore to move on. 


If your backup does not on the same computer, you can copy your backup to USB disk and then restore backup from external hard drive. If both computers are on the same network, you can use Universal Restore feature. It allows you to restore image on a different computer, even with dissimilar hardware.

Wrapping thing up

To restore VHD file on Windows 2008(R2) Server, you need to delete the exiting network adapter and add a legacy network adapter on Hyper-V Manager console first. If not, you may not find the system image on the network share. And all the process is complicated. That's why I recommend you a third-party backup and restore software AOMEI Backupper Server as instead. 

Thanks to its clear interface and user-friendly design, most users can finish the entire process effortlessly with a step by step guide. What makes it stand out is its outstanding features, including, daily backup, weekly backup, monthly backup, USB plug in, incremental and differential backup, scheme, and so on. 

If you want more advanaced features or an easier way, AOMEI Backupper Server is worth a shot. And you may be pleasantly surprised.