You may come across the requirement to convert an .ova (Open Virtualization Format) virtual hard disk file to a .vhd file, so that it can be used on a Hyper-V virtual machine.

This KB article focus on how to achieve the above conversion task, easily.

What is an .ova file?

An .ova file is simply a .tar archive file containing the Open Virtualization Format directory. It contains an .ovf file, which has information about the Virtual Machine settings in XML format and a .vmdk file, which is the Virtual Hard Disk file of the Virtual Machine. (.vmdk file is an open format used by VMware and VirtualBox).

How to get the .vmdk file from the .ova file.

Simply open and extract the contents of the .ova file using a decompression tool, which supports .tar extension (WinRAR, 7-Zip, etc.).

Extract the available .vmdk file to a folder.

Converting the .vmdk file to a .vhd file.

There are several ways to do this conversion. However, the use of VBoxManage.exe tool that comes bundled with the VirtualBox software is the easiest and the most cost-effective (free) method.

If you haven’t already, you need to download and install the VirtualBox (free and open-source level 2 Hypervisor software) from their website.

The following is the download URL at the time of writing this KB article:

Once you install VirtualBox, open a command prompt as an administrator and change the directory to “C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\”

Let’s assume that the extracted .vmdk file is in the X:\ partition.

Run “VBoxManage.exe” tool with the below parameters:

C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox>VBoxManage.exe clonehd –format vhd X:\disk1.vmdk X:\disk1.vhd

After several minutes (depending on the size of the .vmdk file) a .vhd file would be created on the file path you specified based on the .vmdk file.

You can then create a Hyper-V VM based on the converted .vhd file.

Written by: Janaka Dissanayake

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