A couple of guys at work pointed this out to me last week, so I’m a bit late posting about it, but I think it’s worth mentioning all the same.
Disk2VHD is a great little tool from Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell, two of the guys behind Sysinternals (now part of Microsoft). What it does is is pretty simple, copy a physical hard disk into a virtual hard disk (VHD). There are loads of tools to do this, but what makes Disk2VHD different is that it can run on a live, online disk. To do this is makes use of the Volume Snapshot capability that’s be in Windows since WinXP to create a point-in-time snapshots.
Being able to create a VHD from an online disk opens up a couple of news possibilities, for example it would make a pretty good tool for creating bootable backups of machines. In fact when I get a chance I’ll be seeing if I can knock up an automated way of creating a VHD backup of an XP computer before it’s trashed and upgraded to Windows 7. If it works, combined with Windows 7’s native boot to VHD functionality it’ll be a pretty good way of providing an instant recovery back to a users old XP computer. Hopefully they’d never need it, but it may be worth the effort to add an extra level confidence.
Check out Disk2VHD here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/ee656415.aspx