Upload a generalized VHD and use it to create new VMs in Azure

This topic walks you through using PowerShell to upload a VHD of a generalized VM to Azure, create an image from the VHD and create a new VM from that image. You can upload a VHD exported from an on-premises virtualization tool or from another cloud. Using Managed Disks for the new VM simplifies the VM managment and provides better availability when the VM is placed in an availability set.

If you want to use a sample script, see Sample script to upload a VHD to Azure and create a new VM

Before you begin

Generalize the source VM using Sysprep

Sysprep removes all your personal account information, among other things, and prepares the machine to be used as an image. For details about Sysprep, see the Sysprep Overview.

Make sure the server roles running on the machine are supported by Sysprep. For more information, see Sysprep Support for Server Roles


If you are running Sysprep before uploading your VHD to Azure for the first time, make sure you have prepared your VM before running Sysprep.

  1. Sign in to the Windows virtual machine.
  2. Open the Command Prompt window as an administrator. Change the directory to %windir%\system32\sysprep, and then run sysprep.exe.
  3. In the System Preparation Tool dialog box, select Enter System Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE), and make sure that the Generalize check box is selected.
  4. In Shutdown Options, select Shutdown.
  5. Click OK.

    Start Sysprep

  6. When Sysprep completes, it shuts down the virtual machine. Do not restart the VM.

Get the storage account

You need a storage account in Azure to store the uploaded VM image. You can either use an existing storage account or create a new one.

If you will be using the VHD to create a managed disk for a VM, the storage account location must be same the location where you will be creating the VM.

To show the available storage accounts, type:

Get-AzureRmStorageAccount | Format-Table

Upload the VHD to your storage account

Use the Add-AzureRmVhd cmdlet to upload the VHD to a container in your storage account. This example uploads the file myVHD.vhd from "C:\Users\Public\Documents\Virtual hard disks" to a storage account named mystorageaccount in the myResourceGroup resource group. The file will be placed into the container named mycontainer and the new file name will be myUploadedVHD.vhd.

$rgName = "myResourceGroup"
$urlOfUploadedImageVhd = "https://mystorageaccount.blob.core.windows.net/mycontainer/myUploadedVHD.vhd"
Add-AzureRmVhd -ResourceGroupName $rgName -Destination $urlOfUploadedImageVhd `
    -LocalFilePath "C:\Users\Public\Documents\Virtual hard disks\myVHD.vhd"

If successful, you get a response that looks similar to this:

MD5 hash is being calculated for the file C:\Users\Public\Documents\Virtual hard disks\myVHD.vhd.
MD5 hash calculation is completed.
Elapsed time for the operation: 00:03:35
Creating new page blob of size 53687091712...
Elapsed time for upload: 01:12:49

LocalFilePath           DestinationUri
-------------           --------------
C:\Users\Public\Doc...  https://mystorageaccount.blob.core.windows.net/mycontainer/myUploadedVHD.vhd

Depending on your network connection and the size of your VHD file, this command may take a while to complete

Other options for uploading a VHD

You can also upload a VHD to your storage account using one of the following:


If you are using AzCopy uploading your VHD to Azure, make sure you have set /BlobType:page before running upload script. If the destination is a blob and this option is not specified, by default, AzCopy creates a block blob.

Create a managed image from the uploaded VHD

Create a managed image using your generalized OS VHD. Replace the values with your own information.

First, set the some parameters:

$location = "East US" 
$imageName = "myImage"

Create the image using your generalized OS VHD.

$imageConfig = New-AzureRmImageConfig `
   -Location $location
$imageConfig = Set-AzureRmImageOsDisk `
   -Image $imageConfig `
   -OsType Windows `
   -OsState Generalized `
   -BlobUri $urlOfUploadedImageVhd `
   -DiskSizeGB 20
New-AzureRmImage `
   -ImageName $imageName `
   -ResourceGroupName $rgName `
   -Image $imageConfig

Create the VM

Now that you have an image, you can create one or more new VMs from the image. This example creates a VM named myVM from the myImage, in the myResourceGroup.

New-AzureRmVm `
    -ResourceGroupName $rgName `
    -Name "myVM" `
    -ImageName $imageName `
    -Location $location `
    -VirtualNetworkName "myVnet" `
    -SubnetName "mySubnet" `
    -SecurityGroupName "myNSG" `
    -PublicIpAddressName "myPIP" `
    -OpenPorts 3389

Next steps

Sign in to your new virtual machine. For more information, see How to connect and log on to an Azure virtual machine running Windows.