Considerations when importing virtual machines

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 25 June 2014 / Last Updated on 25 June 2014]

This tip describes some things to consider when importing virtual machines on Hyper-V hosts.

The following issues might be important to consider when planning the import of virtual machines onto your hosts:

  • When you import a virtual machine, you have the choice of either of the following approaches:

    • Registering the virtual machine in-place, and assigning the GUID of the existing virtual machine to the new virtual machine (the default). You can choose this option if the virtual machine’s files are already in the location where they need to be in order to run on the target host, and you just want to begin running the virtual machine from where it is located.

    • Restoring the virtual machine, and assigning the GUID of the existing virtual machine to the new virtual machine. You can use this option if the virtual machine’s files are stored on a file share or removable storage device and you want to move them to the default storage location on the target host.

    • Copying the virtual machine, and generating a new GUID for the new virtual machine. You can use this option if you want to use the existing virtual machine as a template that you will be importing multiple times to create new virtual machines—for example, for test or development work.

  • If you are migrating the virtual machines from a host running an earlier version of Windows Server 2012, you can use the Compare-VM cmdlet to generate a compatibility report that lists any incompatibilities that the virtual machine might have with the target host. You can then use this report to take steps to resolve such issues so that when you use the Import-VM cmdlet later, the import process will go smoothly.

  • If you are importing virtual machines from a nonclustered host to a clustered host, there might be additional considerations, such as whether you need to import the virtual machines to the shared storage used by the failover cluster.

The above tip was excerpted from Mitch Tulloch's book Training Guide: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 from Microsoft Press.

Mitch is a nine-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award and a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization.  For more information see

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The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a well-known expert on Windows Server administration and cloud computing technologies. He has published over a thousand articles on information technology topics and has written, contributed to or been series editor for over 50 books.

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