You can deploy virtual hard disk (.vhd) images of Windows Server 2008 R2 to a physical (not virtual) computer using Windows Deployment Services. In general, you deploy .vhd images in the same way that you deploy .wim images. However, using WDSUTIL at the command line is the only supported method of adding and configuring the images. In addition, the deployment must be part of an unattended installation.

To deploy .vhd images, follow the steps at This guide will walk you through configuring your installation. First, you create an image group and add images to it. Then, you create two unattend files and configure the server. After that, you will be ready to deploy a .vhd image. Optionally, you can also configure the images to be deployed using multicasting.

Prerequisites for deploying virtual hard disk images

To deploy .vhd images, you need the following:

  • A configured Windows Deployment Services server. For information about installing and configuring your server, see the Windows Deployment Services step-by-step guide (

  • Familiarity with WDSUTIL. The only way to import and configure these images is to use the WDSUTIL command-line tool. For information about the commands in this topic, run WDSUTIL /?. You can also download the WDSUTIL command-line reference at

  • A supported .vhd image. The only supported operating systems are Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7 Enterprise, and Windows 7 Ultimate. Fixed, dynamic, and differencing .vhd images are supported. However, note that a supported image cannot contain the following:

    • More than one operating system.

    • More than one partition.

    • Applications or data (instead of an operating system).

    • A 64-bit operating system that is partitioned with a GUID partition table (GPT).

Additional information

For more information about .vhd images, see the following: