Server 2008 Hyper-V: VHDMOUNT Follies

The lack of a VHD mount capability in Hyper-V strikes me as a significant omission, particularly when it was present in Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1. The way to get VHDMOUNT to work with Hyper-V should be pretty straightforward even if you don't already have Virtual Server 2005 installed. The first step is to download the Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 executable from the Microsoft download center. (Choose the 32-bit or 64-bit version as appropriate; I chose the 64-bit version.) Do a custom install and deselect everything except VHDMOUNT. Seems simple, no?

Of course, that won't work, because nothing Microsoft ever does is designed to work the first time. Clearly, something is missing, and because the VHDMOUNT folder contains a couple of INF files, maybe it's a device driver. So I opened the "Add Hardware" control panel, pointed to the VHDMOUNT program folder (it should be C:\Program Files\Microsoft Virtual Server\Vhdmount), and added the "Microsoft Virtual Server Storage Bus" device. No joy there. Hey, there's another INF file, let's try that... AUGH! Blue Screen Of Death! Apparently, installing a Microsoft device driver from a Microsoft product download is enough to crash Server 2008.

After a reboot and another trip to Device Manager, the Virtual Storage Storage Devices node seems to have a problem. I right-click it, choose Update Driver, point to the VHDMOUNT folder, and Device Manager seems to be happier. No blue screen. However, the VHDMOUNT command-line tool won't work like it's supposed to. I have to go to Disk Manager to bring the VHD online and assign drive letters to the volumes. A bit of research turns up KB article 943487, which says (and you won't believe this), "To work around this problem, run the Vhdmount.exe tool together with the /p switch to mount only the VHD file. Then, mount the volumes after several minutes." Now there's a convenient solution! Start the tool, go get a cup of coffee, then come back and finish starting the tool. Alternatively, I can download a hotfix from Microsoft, which the company doesn't actually post anywhere, so there's a ten-minute phone call to Product Support Services.

This whole thing, of course, is quite ridiculous, which is why I'm giving up on VHDMOUNT, and I'm going to see if I can find a third-party VHDMOUNT alternative that actually works on Server 2008. I'll let you know what I find.

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