VMFS Recovery™
Recover data from damaged or formatted VMFS disks or VMDK files
Recover data from damaged or formatted VMFS disks or VMDK files
Last updated: Jan 16, 2024

VHD Recovery Software - Recover Corrupt or Deleted VHD Files

Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) files are integral for storing data within virtual machines in virtualization platforms. However, like any digital file, VHDs can become corrupt or damaged, resulting in data inaccessibility. The silver lining is the availability of several VHD recovery tools that can restore these compromised files. In this piece, we'll shine a spotlight on some of the industry's leading VHD recovery tools.
A standout in this domain is DiskInternals VMFS Recovery. Tailored to retrieve data from corrupted VHDs and other virtual machine file systems like VMFS and VMDK, it's renowned for its intuitive design and sophisticated recovery techniques. This makes it a favored choice for both beginners and experts aiming to salvage VHD data.
Join us as we delve deeper into some premier VHD recovery tools, evaluating their functionalities, cost structures, and ease of use. By journeying through the entirety of this article, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to select the VHD recovery solution that aligns with your requirements. Dive in for a wealth of insights and guidance.

What is a VHD?

A Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) is a file format used to represent a virtual hard disk drive. It is a container that emulates the functionality of a physical hard disk drive within a virtual machine environment.

VHDs are commonly used in virtualization software, such as Microsoft's Hyper-V and Oracle's VirtualBox, to store the operating system, applications, and data of a virtual machine. By using VHDs, virtual machines can be easily created, managed, and moved between physical machines without requiring any changes to the underlying hardware.

VHDs are also used in cloud computing, where they allow users to create virtual machines in the cloud and store them as VHDs.

Overview of VHDX/VHD Corruption

VHDX (Virtual Hard Disk v2) and VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) are file formats representing virtual hard disk drives used with virtual machines. These formats are commonly associated with Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization platform and are essentially containers that store the contents of a virtual machine's hard disk drive.

Corruption in VHDX or VHD files can occur due to various reasons, leading to difficulties in accessing the virtual machines. Here are some common causes and characteristics of VHDX/VHD corruption:

  • Improper Shutdowns: If a virtual machine or the host system is not shut down properly, it can lead to corruption of the VHDX or VHD file. This can happen due to power failures, system crashes, or abrupt termination of the virtualization software.
  • Hardware Failures: Issues with the underlying hardware, such as bad sectors on the physical hard drive where the VHDX/VHD file is stored, can lead to corruption. This is especially true if the hardware issue affects the parts of the disk where the VHDX/VHD file is located.
  • Virus or Malware Attacks: Malicious software can corrupt or modify the contents of VHDX/VHD files, making them inaccessible or unusable.
  • Software Bugs or Incompatibilities: Bugs in the virtualization software or compatibility issues between different versions can lead to file corruption. This can occur during operations such as migration, cloning, or conversion of virtual disks.
  • Network Issues: If the VHDX/VHD files are stored on network-attached storage or are being accessed over a network, network interruptions or errors can cause file corruption, especially during data transfer operations.
  • Human Error: Accidental deletion of critical files related to the virtual machine or incorrect modifications to the VHDX/VHD file structure can result in corruption.
  • Fragmentation and Over-provisioning: Excessive fragmentation of the VHDX/VHD file or over-provisioning of storage space can lead to performance issues and potential corruption.

To prevent VHDX/VHD corruption, it's important to maintain a stable and secure computing environment, ensure regular backups, use reliable hardware, and keep virtualization software updated. In case of corruption, specialized recovery tools or techniques may be required to retrieve data from the corrupted VHDX/VHD files.

Where are VHD files stored?

VHD files are stored on the host machine or storage device that is running the virtualization software.

In a typical virtual machine setup, the VHD file is created and stored on the physical hard drive of the host machine or on a network-attached storage (NAS) device. The virtual machine software then maps the VHD file to the virtual machine as a virtual hard disk.

In cloud computing, VHD files are typically stored in a cloud storage service provided by the cloud provider, such as Azure Blob Storage or Amazon S3. The cloud provider's virtualization software then maps the VHD file to the virtual machine running in the cloud.

Benefits of VHD Recovery Software

  • Virtualization: VHDs are commonly used in virtualization software to store the operating system, applications, and data of a virtual machine. This allows users to create and manage multiple virtual machines on a single physical machine, making it more efficient to run multiple operating systems or test applications in different environments.
  • Backup and Recovery: VHDs can be used to create backup images of a physical machine or a virtual machine. In the event of a system failure, the VHD can be restored to the original or a new physical or virtual machine, allowing for quick recovery.
  • Portability: VHDs are portable, meaning they can be moved between physical machines or cloud environments without requiring any changes to the underlying hardware. This makes it easy to transfer virtual machines and their data between different environments.
  • Disk Management: VHDs can be used as a disk management tool, allowing users to partition and format virtual hard disks as they would a physical hard disk. This can be useful for testing new disk configurations or partitioning schemes before implementing them on a physical machine.

6 Best VHD Recovery Tools

1. DiskInternals VHD Recovery

DiskInternals VMFS Recovery is a powerful software tool designed to recover data from virtual machines, including VHD files. VHD files, or virtual hard disk files, are used to store data in a virtual environment.

Here are some key features and benefits of DiskInternals VMFS Recovery as a VHD recovery tool:

  • VHD Recovery Tool: DiskInternals VMFS Recovery is specifically designed to recover VHD files. The tool can restore VHD files even if they have been corrupted, damaged, or lost due to hardware or software failures.
  • Support for Multiple Formats: The software can recover VHD files created with popular virtualization software, such as Hyper-V, VirtualBox, VMware, and others.
  • User-Friendly Interface: The software has a simple and easy-to-use interface that allows users to recover VHD files without any technical knowledge.
  • Preview Functionality: DiskInternals VMFS Recovery provides a preview function that allows users to view the content of VHD files before recovery. This can help users to identify the files they need to recover and ensure that they are recovering the right files.
  • Advanced Scanning Options: The software uses advanced scanning algorithms that can recover data from even the most severely damaged VHD files. Users can choose from several scanning options, including Quick Scan, Full Scan, and Raw Recovery.
  • Customizable Recovery: The software allows users to customize their recovery options to suit their needs. Users can choose to recover specific files or folders, and they can also select the location where recovered files will be saved.
  • Fast and Efficient: DiskInternals VMFS Recovery is a fast and efficient tool that can recover VHD files quickly, saving users time and effort.

Overall, DiskInternals VMFS Recovery is an excellent virtual disk recovery tool that can help users to recover lost or damaged VHD files with ease. Its user-friendly interface, advanced scanning options, and customizable recovery make it a powerful tool for anyone who needs to recover data from virtual machines.

2. Bitrecover VHD Recovery Wizard

Bitrecover VHD Recovery Wizard is a software tool designed to recover data from virtual hard disk (VHD) files. The tool can restore data from corrupt, damaged or inaccessible VHD files created with popular virtualization software such as Hyper-V, VirtualBox, and VMware. It features a simple and intuitive user interface, preview functionality to view content before recovery, advanced scanning algorithms that can recover data from severely damaged VHD files, customizable recovery options, and fast recovery speeds. Overall, Bitrecover VHD Recovery Wizard is a reliable tool that can quickly and easily recover lost or damaged VHD files.

Unlike some other VHD recovery tools, Bitrecover VHD Recovery Wizard doesn't offer a free version. Users must purchase a license to use the software. Compared to some other VHD recovery tools, Bitrecover VHD Recovery Wizard has relatively limited features. For example, it doesn't have options for creating disk images, cloning disks, or repairing file system errors.

3. Kernel for VHD Recovery

The software allows users to customize their recovery options to suit their needs. Users can choose to recover specific files or folders, and they can also select the location where recovered files will be saved. Kernel for VHD Recovery is a fast and efficient tool that can recover VHD files quickly, saving users time and effort. While the software offers technical support, the support options are somewhat limited compared to other VHD recovery tools. Like Bitrecover VHD Recovery Wizard, Kernel for VHD Recovery does not offer a free version. Users must purchase a license to use the software. The software does not offer some advanced features found in other VHD recovery tools, such as disk cloning or the ability to repair file system errors.

4. Recoverit Data Recovery

If you have deleted or lost VHD files, you can use Recoverit Data Recovery to scan your hard drive or storage device and locate the VHD files. The software can also recover data from VHD files that are corrupt or inaccessible due to file system errors.

However, Recoverit Data Recovery may not be able to recover data from severely damaged VHD files or if the VHD file itself is corrupted beyond repair. In those cases, you may need a specialized VHD recovery tool like those mentioned earlier, such as DiskInternals VMFS Recovery or Kernel for VHD Recovery.

5. Aryson VHD Recovery

Aryson VHD Recovery offers two recovery modes - Standard and Advanced - to suit different user needs. The Standard mode is ideal for recovering common VHD file errors, while the Advanced mode is designed for more complex recovery scenarios. The software allows users to recover data from VHD files that have been severely corrupted or damaged using RAW recovery. This feature bypasses the file system and directly reads the disk sectors to recover data. While the software offers technical support, the support options are somewhat limited compared to other VHD recovery tools. Aryson VHD Recovery does not offer a free version. Users must purchase a license to use the software.

6. Sysinfo VHD Recovery

The software can recover data from VHD files created using Hyper-V, VirtualBox, and other virtualization software. SysInfo VHD Recovery supports RAW recovery, which allows users to recover data from severely corrupted or damaged VHD files. The software includes a preview feature that allows users to preview recovered files before saving them. This can help users to ensure that they are recovering the correct files. SysInfo VHD Recovery does not offer advanced scanning options, such as sector-level scanning or deep scanning, which may limit its effectiveness in some recovery scenarios.

Comparison of Demo and Full Version of DiskInternals VHD Recovery Software

  1. 1. Demo Version (or Trial Version):

    • Purpose:
  • Familiarization: Users can familiarize themselves with the software's interface, functionalities, and ease of use without any financial commitment. This helps in reducing the risk of dissatisfaction after purchase.
  • Validation of Claims: Many software products make claims about their capabilities. A demo or trial version lets users validate these claims and see if the software actually delivers what it promises.
  • Risk Reduction: Instead of buying software blindly, users can test its features and see if it fits their needs. This reduces the risk of investing in a product that might not be suitable.
  • Comparison: When users are considering multiple products, trying out demo versions of each can help them make a more informed decision on which one to eventually purchase.
  1. 2. Full Version:

    • Purpose:
  • Complete Functionality: The full version unlocks all features and functionalities, allowing users to make the most out of the software.
  • Long-Term Use: Unlike demo versions that might be limited by time or features, the full version is designed for long-term use, allowing users to integrate the software into their regular workflows or systems.
  • Support and Updates: Purchasing the full version usually entitles users to receive updates and patches, ensuring the software remains compatible with other evolving technologies and systems. It also often comes with customer support to assist with any issues or questions.

How to Recover Deleted VHD/VHDX file

Recovering deleted VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) or VHDX (Virtual Hard Disk version 2) files involves several steps and can be achieved using various methods. The approach to recovery largely depends on the circumstances of the deletion and the availability of backups or recovery tools. Here's a general guide on how to recover deleted VHD/VHDX files:

1. Check the Recycle Bin

  • First Step: If the deletion was recent and you haven't emptied the Recycle Bin, the VHD/VHDX file might still be there. Check the Recycle Bin and if you find the file, right-click on it and select "Restore".

2. Use File Recovery Software

  • Specialized Tools: If the file is not in the Recycle Bin, you'll need to use file recovery software, like DiskInternals VMFS Recovery.
  • Scanning Process: Run a deep scan with the recovery software on the drive where the VHD/VHDX file was stored. This process might take some time depending on the size of the drive.
  • Recovering the File: Once the scan is complete, look for your VHD/VHDX file in the list of recoverable files. Select it and choose a safe location to save the recovered file (preferably a different drive).

3. Utilize Backups

  • Regular Backups: If you have a regular backup system in place (like Windows Backup or a third-party solution), check your backups for a copy of the VHD/VHDX file.
  • Restoring from Backup: Follow the specific procedure provided by your backup solution to restore the VHD/VHDX file from the backup.

4. Use Previous Versions (Shadow Copies)

  • Windows Shadow Copy: Windows creates shadow copies that can sometimes be used to recover deleted files. Right-click on the folder where the VHD/VHDX file was stored, select "Properties", go to the "Previous Versions" tab, and see if there are any restorable versions available.

5. Contact a Professional

  • Data Recovery Services: If the above methods do not yield results and the data is critical, consider contacting a professional data recovery service. These services can sometimes recover data when all other methods fail, but they can be costly.

Tips for Successful Recovery

  • Stop Using the Drive: To avoid overwriting the deleted file, stop using the drive where the file was stored immediately after deletion.
  • Choose a Different Drive for Recovery: Always recover the file to a different drive to prevent overwriting other lost data.
  • Regular Backups: Implement a robust backup strategy to avoid data loss in the future.

Remember, the chances of recovery depend on how quickly you attempt the recovery after deletion and whether the space on the drive where the VHD/VHDX file was stored has been overwritten or not.

Data Recovery Service for VHD Recovery DiskInternals

  • Download and install DiskInternals VMFS Recovery on your computer.
  • Launch the software and select the drive or disk where the VHD file was stored.
  • Click on the "Scan" button to start the scanning process. The software will scan the selected drive or disk for deleted VHD files.
  • Once the scan is complete, you can preview the recoverable files by clicking on them.
  • Select the deleted VHD file that you want to recover and click on the "Recovery" button.
  • Choose a location to save the recovered VHD file and click on "OK".
  • DiskInternals VMFS Recovery - preview files content.
  • Wait for the software to complete the recovery process. This may take some time, depending on the size of the VHD file.

Once the recovery process is complete, you can check the saved location for the recovered VHD file. It is important to note that the recovered file should be saved to a different location than the original VHD file to prevent overwriting the lost data.

Are VHD files viruses?

No, VHD files are not viruses. A VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) file is a type of file format used to store the contents of a virtual machine's hard disk. It is not inherently malicious or harmful.

However, like any other file format, VHD files can be used by malicious actors to store and distribute viruses or other forms of malware. It is always important to be cautious when downloading or opening files from unknown or untrusted sources, regardless of their file type.

If you suspect that a VHD file or any other file may contain a virus or other malicious code, you should always run an up-to-date antivirus software to scan the file before opening it.

Are VHD files safe?

VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) files are generally safe when used properly. VHD files are commonly used in virtualization environments to store the contents of a virtual machine's hard disk, and they are also used to create disk images for backup and recovery purposes.

However, as with any file format, VHD files can be used to distribute malware or other malicious code. It's always important to be cautious when downloading or opening files from untrusted sources, even if they are in the VHD format.

In addition, VHD files can be vulnerable to data corruption or loss if not properly managed or backed up. It's important to ensure that VHD files are stored on reliable storage media and that proper backup and recovery procedures are in place.

Overall, VHD files are safe to use as long as they are obtained from a trusted source and managed properly to prevent data loss or corruption.

What is VHD boot?

VHD boot is a feature in Windows operating systems that allows you to boot the computer from a VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) file. This means that instead of booting from the physical hard drive installed in the computer, the operating system can be installed and run from a virtual hard disk file.

This feature is particularly useful for testing new operating systems or applications without the need to install them directly on the physical hard drive. It allows you to create a virtual environment that is isolated from the host operating system, making it easy to test and experiment with new software without risking damage to the host system.

To use VHD boot, you need to create a VHD file containing the operating system or application you want to test, and then configure the computer to boot from the VHD file. This can be done using the Disk Management tool in Windows, or through the command line using the BCDEdit utility.

VHD boot is supported in Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 operating systems.

FAQ

  • What file types does your VHD Recovery tool support for recovery?

    VMFS Recovery is designed to recover VMFS-formatted drives, which are used with VMware virtualization products. This tool primarily aims to recover VMDK (Virtual Machine Disk) files, which are the disk files for VMware virtual machines.

  • How can I recover VHD/VHDX files with VHD Recovery tool?

    • Download and Install the Software: Get the recovery software from the official DiskInternals website and install it on your computer.
    • Launch the Software: Open the recovery tool.
    • Scan the Affected Drive/Storage Medium: Choose the drive or the storage device where the VHD/VHDX file was stored and scan it.
    • Search for VHD/VHDX Files: Once the scan is complete, browse through the recoverable files and locate your VHD or VHDX files.
    • Recover the File: Select the VHD/VHDX file(s) you want to recover and follow the tool's instructions to recover them.
    • Save the Recovered File: Ensure you save the recovered file to a different location to prevent potential overwriting.
  • What is the difference between VHD and VHDX?

    1. 1. Size Capacity:

      • VHD: Supports virtual disks up to 2TB in size.
      • VHDX: Supports virtual disks up to 64TB in size.
    2. 2. Internal File Structure:

      • VHDX: Has a more resilient internal structure that reduces the chance of data corruption due to power failures or system crashes. It logs updates to the VHDX metadata structures, which improves data integrity.
    3. 3. Block Allocation:

      • VHD: Uses fixed-sized blocks.
      • VHDX: Allows for dynamic or user-specified block sizes, which can optimize the structure based on the workload.
    4. 4. Performance:

      • VHDX: Generally offers better performance, especially with dynamic and differencing disks. This is due in part to the alignment of the virtual hard disk format to work well on large sector disks.
    5. 5. Support for Additional Metadata:

      • VHDX: Supports storing custom metadata about the file, which could be useful for recording the operating system version or patches applied to the installed software.
    6. 6. Disk Footprint:

      • VHDX: Offers the ability to reclaim unused space from the physical medium (known as TRIM/UNMAP), which can help in reducing the overall disk footprint.
    7. 7. Compatibility:

      • VHD: Supported by a wider range of platforms due to its age, including both Microsoft's Hyper-V and other virtualization platforms.
      • VHDX: Primarily designed for Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 and later versions. However, it's worth noting that over time, other platforms and tools have added support for VHDX due to its benefits.
    8. 8. Protection Against Disk Corruption:

      • VHDX provides protection against data corruption during power outages by logging updates to the VHDX metadata structures.
  • My VHD file is heavily corrupted. What should I do?

    If your VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) file is corrupted, the priority is to recover the data. Here's a step-by-step approach to help you with the process:

    1. 1. Backup First: Before you attempt any recovery actions, create a backup of the corrupted VHD file. This ensures you have an original copy in case any recovery attempts exacerbate the problem.

    2. 2. Check Host System: Sometimes, the host system's issues, such as hardware problems, can result in VHD corruption. Ensure that the physical storage (HDD or SSD) where the VHD resides is in good health. Use tools like chkdsk on Windows to scan for and fix any system-level errors.

    3. 3. Use Native Tools:

      • Hyper-V Manager: If you're using Hyper-V, sometimes simply creating a new VM and attaching the corrupted VHD file can help.
      • Disk Management: You can also try mounting the VHD directly in Windows using the Disk Management tool. Once mounted, you can use chkdsk to repair the file system within the VHD.
    4. 4. Third-Party Recovery Tools: If native solutions don't work, several third-party tools specialize in VHD recovery.

    5. 5. Data Extraction: If recovery seems impossible and the focus is on extracting data, consider using specialized software that can explore and extract files from corrupted VHDs.

    6. 6. Forensics and Professional Help: If the data is critical and you're unable to recover it using standard tools, you might want to consider professional data recovery services. They have specialized hardware and software tools, along with expertise that can increase the chances of recovery.

    7. 7. Avoid Future Corruption:

      • Regular Backups: Always maintain up-to-date backups of your VHD files and any other critical data.
      • Avoid Abrupt Shutdowns: Ensure that virtual machines are shut down properly to prevent file corruption.
      • Monitor Health: Regularly monitor the health of the storage and host system to identify potential issues before they lead to corruption.
  • Is it possible to restore formatted VHD file data using this tool?

    If you are set on recovering a formatted VHD file:

    1. 1. First and foremost, stop any write operations to the storage where the VHD was located. The more data written to the storage after the format, the higher the chance of the original data being overwritten and permanently lost.
    2. 2. Acquire a suitable data recovery tool, such as DiskInternals VMFS Recovery.
    3. 3. Follow the software's instructions to scan the drive for recoverable files and attempt the recovery.

    Always remember that data recovery, especially from formatted drives, isn't always guaranteed. The success depends on various factors like how much new data has been written to the drive after formatting and the capabilities of the recovery tool.

  • What might be the causes responsible for corruption of VHD files?

    1. 1. Improper Shutdown: Abruptly shutting down the host system or the virtual machine can lead to VHD corruption, especially if read/write operations were being performed on the VHD file at the time.

    2. 2. Physical Disk Failures: Since VHD files are stored on physical drives, any issues with the underlying hardware (like bad sectors or drive failures) can cause corruption of files, including VHDs.

    3. 3. Virus or Malware Attacks: Malicious software can alter, corrupt, or delete files on a system, including VHD files.

    4. 4. Software Conflicts: Conflicts between different software or faulty third-party tools that manage or manipulate VHDs can lead to corruption.

    5. 5. Disk Fragmentation: Excessive fragmentation of the hard drive where the VHD file is stored might cause the VHD to malfunction, especially if the disk is nearly full.

    6. 6. Header Corruption: The header of a VHD file contains crucial metadata about the file. If it gets corrupted, the entire VHD can become inaccessible.

    7. 7. Network Issues: If you're accessing or storing VHD files over a network, any interruptions or issues in data transmission can cause partial or complete corruption of the VHD.

    8. 8. File System Corruption: Errors or corruption in the file system where the VHD is stored can lead to issues with the VHD itself.

    9. 9. Storage Over-Provisioning: Overallocating storage beyond the physical capacity (over-provisioning) without proper management can sometimes result in data loss or corruption.

    10. 10. Snapshot Issues: Improper management or corruption of snapshots in virtualization platforms can lead to VHD corruption.

    11. 11. Incompatible Disk Management Operations: Sometimes, disk operations performed on the VHD using disk management tools not compatible with the VHD format can cause corruption.

  • What are the different recovery modes provided by the VHD Repair software?

    1. 1. Fast Recovery Mode: This mode quickly scans the VMFS drive and is used for straightforward recovery scenarios, such as when files are accidentally deleted. It's less intensive and faster compared to full recovery.

    2. 2. Full Recovery Mode: This is a more comprehensive and deeper scan mode. It's useful for more complicated scenarios, such as formatted partitions, corrupted file systems, or situations where fast recovery doesn't yield satisfactory results.

    3. 3. Reader Mode: This mode allows users to access and read VMFS partitions directly without performing actual recovery. It's useful when you want to access files on a VMFS partition from a system that doesn't natively support VMFS.

    4. 4. Search for Partitions: In cases where the VMFS partition is lost or deleted, this mode allows the software to search for and recover the lost partition.

  • Can I evaluate the capabilities of your VHD Repair tool before purchasing it?

    Yes, DiskInternals typically offers a trial or demo version of their VMFS Recovery software, as they do with many of their products. This trial version allows you to evaluate the tool's capabilities before making a purchase. Here's what you can generally expect:

    1. 1. Scanning and Preview: The trial version will usually allow you to scan the VMFS partitions and preview recoverable files. This helps you determine whether the software can indeed find and access the data you want to recover.

    2. 2. Recovery: Explore which files can potentially be retrieved.

    3. 3. Purchase for Full Recovery: If you're satisfied with the preview results, you can purchase the full version to unlock all features and recover your data.

    By offering a trial version, DiskInternals lets potential users determine if the software meets their needs before committing to a purchase. It's always a good idea to utilize such trial versions when available, especially for data recovery software, to ensure that the software can handle your specific recovery scenario.

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