People have been asking for a while for a way to add a virtual machine configuration file (.XML) directly to an instance of Hyper-V without first needing to export and import it. Well, Robert Vierthaler beat me to the punch and blogged about this a little while ago: http://blogs.msdn.com/robertvi/archive/2008/12/19/howto-manually-add-a-vm-configuration-to-hyper-v.aspx
Some key things that I want to point out about this approach:
- This is in no way supported – and no guarantees are provided.
- It is critical that all the files (.VHDs, .VSVs, .BINs, .AVHDs, etc…) have exactly the same path as they did when the virtual machine was last running under Hyper-V.
- It is also critical that you get all XML files for all associated snapshots added – otherwise you could suffer data loss.
- You *can* use this method to store a virtual machine on a USB disk that you move between multiple servers, but:
- Really, really, really (yada yada yada) not supported.
- You should be careful about taking / deleting snapshots – as links will need to be updated accordingly.
- You will need to restart the VMMS after attaching the USB disk to a Hyper-V server that already knows about the virtual machine in question (don’t worry – this will not effect already running virtual machines).