Converting VHD/VMDK to ISO

Have you ever heard about or used a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD)? What about a Virtual Machine disk (VMDK)? Do you know the difference between the two? Well, today you’re in luck. We will take a look at both of them. We will find out how to convert both formats to ISO and review the advantages and disadvantages of conversion. We will look at some of the solutions you might use and get my two cents on the matter. Then conclude with a discussion on whether the conversion from VHD or VMDK to ISO is worth it.

What is VHD/VMDK?

VHD is the initials for Virtual Hard Drive. It is a file extension used for virtual hard drives on Microsoft virtual server.

VMDK, on the other hand, is a file format for virtual hard disk drives which are used in virtual machines. Confusing? Think of it as a virtual disk, storing all the virtual machine’s hard disk drive contents. In short, both of them function as a virtual file repository. They also have the feature of booting a computer from files on a virtual hard drive.

How hard is the conversion process?

The manual way is a bit of a challenge because all the set parameters must be spot on. Luckily, freeware is here to save the day.

Will my files become unstable?

It all depends on how meticulous you are. If you rush through it without taking note of your input details, your final ISO file might be affected. As they say, garbage in — garbage out!

What does the conversion cost?

Monetary wise, not a dime. The software you need comes free of charge. However, we do advocate that you donate to the development team. It shows we like their stuff and helps them make even better versions.

2 Methods to Convert VHD/VMDK to ISO

Ok, so now you’re sold on the benefits of converting VHD to ISO. Here are some of the solutions at your disposal.

1. The good old way

This method could be quite tricky to follow for those of us that aren’t that tech-savvy. It involves opening up the disk management tool and selecting ‘more actions’ under the actions pane to the RHS.


Then selecting the ‘attach VHD’ option, which opens a dialog window. You will then have to configure some parameters and use some specific tools. This comprehensive way of converting a virtual hard drive to an ISO file has been illustrated in detail by Jake Billing, and I encourage you to check it out.

2. Download a conversion software

Most mainstream Operating systems support a conversion utility or software. For windows users, ISOBuster has proven to be a practical choice. Microsoft Virtual PC is also capable but not as widely known. Once you’ve selected your preferred software, you proceed to download, install, and run it on your pc.

You then select the VHD you want to convert. Then from the file manager, open the file to view to contents of the disk image. Click on the file button and select save as. Enter a suitable name for the file and select the .iso extension. You can then save the ISO file to a folder of your choice.

My top solution

On a good day, I’d rather go the long way and manually do it myself. However, the ease, precision, and time saved by using dedicated software still wins. Go for software.


I am a very avid supporter of file conversion. I do respect those of us who maintain the original format, but file conversion makes so much sense. The converted file can be shared, used as a back-up for redundancy if the original file gets damaged, and provides that extra layer of security. I’d advise you to convert your VHD or VMDK files to ISO format and be sure to follow all the procedures involved.

Do you convert your files, or you tend to leave them in their original format? Do you know of a solution we might have missed?

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