Create a VM from a VHD by using the Azure portal

There are several ways to create a virtual machine (VM) in Azure:

  • If you already have a virtual hard disk (VHD) to use or you want to copy the VHD from an existing VM to use, you can create a new VM by attaching the VHD to the new VM as an OS disk.

  • You can create a new VM from the VHD of a VM that has been deleted. For example, if you have an Azure VM that isn't working correctly, you can delete the VM and use its VHD to create a new VM. You can either reuse the same VHD or create a copy of the VHD by creating a snapshot and then creating a new managed disk from the snapshot. Although creating a snapshot takes a few more steps, it preserves the original VHD and provides you with a fallback.

  • Take a classic VM and use the VHD to create a new VM that uses the Resource Manager deployment model and managed disks. For the best results, Stop the classic VM in the Azure portal before creating the snapshot.

  • You can create an Azure VM from an on-premises VHD by uploading the on-premises VHD and attaching it to a new VM. You use PowerShell or another tool to upload the VHD to a storage account, and then you create a managed disk from the VHD. For more information, see Upload a specialized VHD.

Don't use a specialized disk if you want to create multiple VMs. Instead, for larger deployments, create an image and then use that image to create multiple VMs.

Copy a disk

Create a snapshot and then create a disk from the snapshot. This strategy allows you to keep the original VHD as a fallback:

  1. From the Azure portal, on the left menu, select All services.
  2. In the All services search box, enter disks and then select Disks to display the list of available disks.
  3. Select the disk that you would like to use. The Disk page for that disk appears.
  4. From the menu at the top, select Create snapshot.
  5. Enter a Name for the snapshot.
  6. Choose a Resource group for the snapshot. You can use either an existing resource group or create a new one.
  7. For Account type, choose either Standard (HDD) or Premium (SSD) storage.
  8. When you're done, select Create to create the snapshot.
  9. After the snapshot has been created, select Create a resource in the left menu.
  10. In the search box, enter managed disk and then select Managed Disks from the list.
  11. On the Managed Disks page, select Create.
  12. Enter a Name for the disk.
  13. Choose a Resource group for the disk. You can use either an existing resource group or create a new one. This selection will also be used as the resource group where you create the VM from the disk.
  14. For Account type, choose either Standard (HDD) or Premium (SSD) storage.
  15. In Source type, ensure Snapshot is selected.
  16. In the Source snapshot drop-down, select the snapshot you want to use.
  17. Make any other adjustments as needed and then select Create to create the disk.

Create a VM from a disk

After you have the managed disk VHD that you want to use, you can create the VM in the portal:

  1. From the Azure portal, on the left menu, select All services.
  2. In the All services search box, enter disks and then select Disks to display the list of available disks.
  3. Select the disk that you would like to use. The Disk page for that disk opens.
  4. In the Overview page, ensure that DISK STATE is listed as Unattached. If it isn't, you might need to either detach the disk from the VM or delete the VM to free up the disk.
  5. In the menu at the top of the page, select Create VM.
  6. On the Basics page for the new VM, enter a Virtual machine name and either select an existing Resource group or create a new one.
  7. For Size, select Change size to access the Size page.
  8. Select a VM size row and then choose Select.
  9. On the Networking page, you can either let the portal create all new resources or you can select an existing Virtual network and Network security group. The portal always creates a new network interface and public IP address for the new VM.
  10. On the Management page, make any changes to the monitoring options.
  11. On the Guest config page, add any extensions as needed.
  12. When you're done, select Review + create.
  13. If the VM configuration passes validation, select Create to start the deployment.

Next steps

You can also use PowerShell to upload a VHD to Azure and create a specialized VM.