Windows 7 Forums

Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.

Windows 7: How to Copy a Virtual XP machine

05 Aug 2009   #1

Windows 7 RC
How to Copy a Virtual XP machine

I have tried to make a copy of a virtual XP machine for backup purposes, but the new Virtual machine will not open. Any Ideas on the correct procedure to make a copy of an existing virtual machine?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

05 Aug 2009   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Hello, jpgailey, and welcome to SevenForums, The Ultimate Windows 7 site.

Every virtual hard drive (vhd) created with Virtual PC consists of three files if it is turned off, or of four files if it is hibernated or running. The file extensions for these files are:
  • .vhd = Virtual Machine virtual hard drive image
  • .vmc = Virtual Machine settings file
  • .vsv = Virtual Machine saved state file
  • .vmcx = Virtual Machine description and registration settings
First three files are located in C:\Users\Your_Username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Virtual PC\Virtual Machines, the last one in C:\Users\Your_Username\Virtual Machines. The two latter files are created automatically; to make a copy of a Virtual Machine we only need .vhd and .vmc files. In this example we call the original virtual drive Windows XP Mode, and the copy we create Windows XP Mode- Copy. You can name all your virtual drives as you like, as long as you remember to modify the settings file as described here.

Copying Virtual XP or any other virtual hard disk created with Virtual PC is very easy and fast. Here's what you have to do:
  1. Turn off your Virtual XP, do not hibernate it
  2. Open Folder Options, choose Show hidden files, folders and drives. Uncheck Hide extensions for known file types
    Name:  Hide_Extension.PNG
Views: 473
Size:  51.9 KB
  3. Goto C:\Users\Your_Username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Virtual PC\Virtual Machines
  4. Copy Windows XP Mode.vhd and Windows XP Mode.vmc files. To be sure you copy the right files you can open Folder Options and uncheck "Hide extensions for known file types" and click OK
  5. Paste files to the same folder. Windows adds word Copy to both filenames, so now you have two new files: Windows XP Mode - Copy.vhd and Windows XP Mode - Copy.vmc
  6. Open Windows XP Mode - Copy.vmc with Notepad. It is a xml-file, so you can edit it normally with Notepad
  7. Find the following string containing virtual drives name: <drive_type type="integer">1</drive_type>
  8. Under the <drive_type...> change the vhd-file name to Windows XP Mode - Copy.vhd both in <absolute type="string"> and <relative type="string">
  9. Find the following place under <virtual_network> containing MAC-adress for Virtual XP's ethernet adapter: <id type="bytes">
  10. To allow two copies of Virtual XP to connect to network simultaneously , we have to change the MAC-adress of the ethernet adapter to avoid MAC-adress conflict. Adress is given in hex, 0-9 and A-E. It is enough to change one bit. In this example we have changed the last bit from 1 to 0
  11. Save and close the file
  12. Go to C:\Users\Your_Username\Virtual Machines , copy Windows XP Mode.vmcx and paste it to same folder
  13. Open the file Windows XP Mode - Copy.vmcx with Notepad
  14. Change the vhd-file name to Windows XP Mode - Copy.vhd both in <primary_disk1 type="string"> and <vmc_path type="string">
  15. Save and close the file
  16. Open Folder Options and choose Don't show hidden files, folders or drives. Check Hide extensions for known file types and click OK.
That's it. Now you can run two Virtual XP's simultaneously.


Have fun,


My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Aug 2009   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Here is how I do it
1). Shut down original machine
2). Copy the large virtual hard drive file to another location
3). Create a new VM and give it a new hard drive of any size
4). Copy the large virtual hard drive file from the backup location into the new folder
5). Go into the new VM and delete it's hard drive from the hard drive
6). Choose add hardware, add an existing hard drive and point at the file that you just copied over
7). Start the new VM.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

08 Aug 2009   #4

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers

Hi there
If you use a product like vmware just power off the vm and then on the menu choose CLONE VM>

You can either make a "linked" clone or a full clone. the full clone is what you need as the "linked" clone will still require access to the state of the original vm.

(I think virtual box has this facility as well).

Another method is to install acronis true image on your VM and back it up.

Then create another vm. install acronis true image and restore your original vm.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2009   #5

Windows 7 RC 64bit

will this let you have more than 1 XP vm, if you copy the "xp mode" vm?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2009   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by s0me0ne View Post
will this let you have more than 1 XP vm, if you copy the "xp mode" vm?
Yes. I have currently 3 separate, individual Virtual XP's for test purposes. Come back if you have any problems.

Three separate Virtual XP's starting, same time on same computer:

Name:  starting_virtual_machines.PNG
Views: 141
Size:  42.1 KB

Three different users logging each on own XP:


Three XP's running:



My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2009   #7

Windows 7 RC 64bit

Sweet. So copying XPMode wont mess things up? I was worried it might confuse win7 since you could pull apps from 3 different xpmode vms
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2009   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Guten abend, s0me0ne. Willkommen in das SevenForum.

Of course every virtual session uses a lot of your computers resources, other than that there are no problems.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Nov 2009   #9
Mick Mickle

Windows 7 Professional


I was able to follow your directions, but the copy of the WinXP Mode has greyed out login credentials in the settigs. That makes me feel that it's not a fulluy independent virtual session. Is it necessary to duplicate the parent disk as well? My purpose is to test potential malware and be able to just delete one copy if need be and revert to a backup virtual XP. (I am aware of the undo disk feature, but I'd feel more comfortable simply having a full second clean copy.)

My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Nov 2009   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Hi Mick, welcome to the Seven Forums.

I'm running three separate XP virtual machines for testing purposes and they are all working well, indepently. Any copy of XP Mode is always looking the base (or parent) drive in C:\Program Files\Windows XP Mode and it should remain there. It is not necessary to copy the base when copying the XP Mode.

A bit more "easy to read" tutorial is found here.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 How to Copy a Virtual XP machine

Thread Tools

Similar help and support threads
Thread Forum
Windows Virtual PC - Connect Virtual Machine to Network
How to Connect Windows Virtual PC to the Network This will show you how to connect Windows Virtual PC to your network so that your created virtual machine or XP Mode will be able to access the internet. For more information, see: Networking in Windows Virtual PC - Windows Virtual PC -...
Virtual XP Machine - Copy
How to Copy a Virtual XP Machine in Windows 7 Notice please: This tutorial was written when we were still using first beta versions of Virtual PC and XP mode. This method to copy a VPC virtual machine was the most practical at that time. It still is a fully working and secure way to copy a...
Development Programming in Virtual Machine vs Host Machine
Hi guys, I have been around this problem for some time now and want to know you opinions. I am running on HP notebook: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz, 64bit Windows 7 Professional, 4GB Ram, ATI Graphics. I want to ask your opinions about doing developments, is it better to be in the host...
Can I retrieve files on virtual machine even if cannot start Virtual
I installed Windows XP mode on my PC 14 months ago. Everything was working fine . One dayabout 6 months ago, I could not start my virtual machine. I stupidly reinstalled XP mode. Result I lost all my files of the programs running in XP (autosketch). My installation allowed me to reinstall...
Using .vhd file from one virtual machine to other virtual machine
Hi, I am using MS Virtual PC v6.1.7600.16393. I had created a virtual machine on my system, which has been deleted now, but I have .vhd file created for that virtual machine. Now I am trying to create a new virtual machine by using the previous .vhd file. Unfornunatly, when I start...
batch file to copy from virtual machine to USB
If C:\ is the root of the virtual machine and U:\ is the USB stick, I can PERFORM "copy C:\folder\** U:\folder", but that line in a batch file does not work. How can I fix that ?

Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

© Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:55.

Twitter Facebook Google+

Windows 7 Forums

Seven Forums Android App Seven Forums IOS App