Copying, managing, and renaming virtual machines

Copying, managing, and renaming virtual machines

Because virtual machines and virtual disks are stored as files, you can copy, share, and rename virtual machines by simply copying, changing the name, and adding files as shown in the following table. Before taking any of these steps, however, you should note some important points:

  • If you are copying a virtual machine with a saved state, the destination computer should have the same type of processor as the one on which the virtual machine was put into a saved state. For example, a virtual machine that was created on a computer with a Pentium 4 should be copied only to another computer running a Pentium 4.
  • If you copy a virtual machine with a static media access control (MAC) address to another computer that already has a virtual machine with a static MAC address, you must either change the static MAC address of one of the virtual machines or run any virtual machines with identical static MAC addresses at different times. If virtual machines with identical static MAC addresses are run at the same time, virtual machine networking may not work properly. To avoid this problem, we recommend that you use dynamic MAC addresses. If a virtual machine with a dynamic MAC address is copied to another computer running its own instance of Virtual Server, it will be assigned a new, unused MAC address by the new instance of Virtual Server.
Operation Description

Copy a virtual machine to another computer

Copy the folder containing the virtual machine configuration (.vmc) file and the virtual hard disk (.vhd) file to the other computer. If there are any virtual machine saved-state (.vsv) files or virtual machine undo disk (.vud) files associated with the virtual machine you want to copy, be sure to include them as well. The saved-state and undo disk files are stored in the same folder as the virtual machine configuration (.vmc) file. Once all the files are copied, you can add the virtual machine. For more information about adding an existing virtual machine to a computer, see Setting up the first virtual machine in Virtual Server. For more information about copying virtual hard disks, see Copying and moving virtual hard disks.


Do not copy a .vhd that is used by a virtual machine that is configured as a domain controller. Problems may occur with replication because the copied .vhd will be out of sync with the original.


You must use the System Preparation Tool (Sysprep.exe) on a virtual machine if you plan to copy it to another machine. Otherwise, the original virtual machine and its copy will have identical security IDs (SIDs) and identical computer names, which can create problems in Active Directory® directory service domain environments. For more information about Sysprep, see the "Using virtual hard disks" section of Ways to deploy an operating system to a virtual machine.


Guest operating system licenses are not included with Virtual Server. If you make a copy of a virtual machine, you must ensure that you are appropriately licensed for all operating systems and applications that you install on a virtual machine.

Share access to a single virtual machine with multiple users

Store the virtual machine folder in a location to which all of the users have access. By default, virtual machines are stored in the \Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\Shared Virtual Machines folder, which is configured so that all users can access it.


To prevent data corruption, Virtual Server 2005 prevents additional users from accessing a virtual machine configuration file when the virtual machine is running.

Rename a virtual machine

We recommend using the Virtual machine name option to rename a virtual machine. If you manually rename a virtual machine file in Windows Explorer, Virtual Server cannot locate the virtual machine. To correct this problem, add the renamed virtual machine using the Add virtual machine option.

Use the Virtual machine name option to change the name. Renaming a virtual machine changes the name of the virtual machine configuration (.vmc) file, the virtual machine name shown in the list of virtual machines in the Administration Website, and the display name of the virtual machine window, but not the name of the folder containing the virtual machine. If you change the file name of a virtual machine, the new name appears in the Administration Website immediately, but it does not appear in the virtual machine window until you restart the virtual machine.


Changing the virtual machine name will not change the guest operating system name. Each virtual machine must have a unique file name, which cannot contain a colon.


If you are copying a virtual machine, it is important to know whether a virtual machine has been placed into a saved state. If you save the state of a virtual machine instead of shutting it down, all data from the virtual machine's memory is stored in a saved-state file (.vsv file) instead of in a .vhd file. We recommend that you either restore the virtual machine or discard the changes and then shut down the virtual machine before moving or copying a .vhd file.