What Is a VHDX File?

Open, Edit, and Convert VHDX files

What to Know

  • A VHDX file is a Windows hard disk image file.
  • Open one in Windows by double-clicking it.
  • Convert to VHD with Hyper-V Manager, or to VDI with VirtualBox.

This article describes what a VHDX file is and how it's used, plus how to open one on your computer or convert one to a different format like VHD, VDI, IMG, or VMDK.

What Is a VHDX File?

A file with the VHDX file extension is a Windows hard disk image file. It acts like a real, physical hard drive, but is stored in a single file that's located on a physical disk like a hard drive. One can be created from scratch in Windows, but some backup software, like Disk2vhd, produce them as their save format.

VHDX files can contain an entire operating system for purposes such as testing software or running older or newer software not compatible with the host operating system, or simply to hold files like any other storage container.

VHDX files in Windows

VHDX files differ from VHD (Virtual PC Virtual Hard Disk) files in that they can be larger than 2 TB (up to 64 TB), can withstand power failure events, and provide performance enhancements.

How to Open a VHDX File

As long as you're running a version of Windows newer than Windows 8 or Server 2012, you can open VHDX (and VHD) files without the need to download any programs or tools. Just right-click the file and choose the Mount option, or double-click it.

Another way to open it is with Disk Management through the Action > Attach VHD menu. Learn how to open Disk Management if you're not sure how to get there.

Disk Management attach virtual hard drive prompt

If you go the second route through Disk Management, you can optionally open the VHDX file in read-only mode by checking that option before you open the file. This approach reads data off the file but it won't let you or any program write information to it—which is useful if you're concerned that the host computer is infected with malware or that you'll make unintended changes to the data.

Eject/close a VHDX file through File Explorer by right-clicking the mounted virtual hard drive and choosing Eject.

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open VHDX files, learn how to change which program opens the file by default.

How to Convert a VHDX File

Hyper-V Manager is built-in to some versions of Windows. It converts VHDX to VHD. Install the program through the Windows Feature section of Control Panel.

StarWind V2V Converter converts VHD files to VMDK (Virtual Machine Disk) for use in VMWare Workstation. You can make it a growable image file or one that has a pre-set size. You can also use this program to convert the VHD file to IMG or another VHD file that has a fixed or dynamic size.

If you need the file to be a VDI file (VirtualBox Virtual Disk Image) to work with VirtualBox, install the VirtualBox program and then run this command:

VBoxManage.exe clonehd "location-of-the-VHDX-file.vhdx" where-to-save-the-file.vdi --format vdi

Converting VHDX to ISO isn't very helpful since an ISO file is normally stored on a CD for booting purposes, and putting the VHDX content in that format would be unnecessary. However, for storage purposes, you can convert the file to ISO by first saving VHDX file to IMG using the method above, and then using IMG to ISO to complete the change.

Still Can't Open It?

Double-check the file extension if your file doesn't work with the programs mentioned above. A VHDL file looks like it says VHDX, but it's really unrelated and cannot open with the programs from above. VHDL files are actually plain text files that can open in a text editor.

Was this page helpful?