A virtual drive can be created and initialized under Windows using standard tools. We’ll show you what to watch out for.
A virtual drive is the emulation of a drive, whereby a virtual CD or DVD drive is usually simulated. The drives created in this way on the computer are not hardware, but are simply interpreted by the computer for the user in the same way as physical drives. In our tips + tricks we explain how you can set up such a drive yourself without additional software in Windows 10.
What are the properties of a virtual drive?
A virtual drive is a piece of software that emulates an actual drive , such as an optical drive (CD and DVD), a floppy disk drive, or a hard disk drive. To other programs, the virtual drive behaves and looks like an actual physical drive, but unlike a normal drive, it is not an actual physical drive.
Virtual drives are used on computers to transfer the contents of optical disks to hard disk drives. This also helps in solving the short lifespan problem of CDs and DVDs and takes advantage of the faster data transfer rate of hard drives. You don’t always have to insert the physical CD, you can mount the image file from the hard drive instead.
This has the advantage that the access times to the virtual drive are significantly shorter than when reading from optical CD or DVD media. Windows creates a VHD file (virtual hard disk) on existing partitions , which stands for the virtual drive. It is also possible to save and copy the VHD file and to integrate it again at another location on another computer. In contrast to virtual machines, VHD files are an integral part of the main system and do not only receive part of the hardware performance.
The biggest disadvantage of a virtual drive is that it takes up the space on the hard drive, since the CD or DVD is copied completely onto the hard drive (e.g. as an ISO file).
How to create a virtual drive in Windows 10
A virtual drive can be created in Windows with in-house resources. Follow our step-by-step instructions or take a look at the quick start guide .
Right click on the Windows logo and select the entry ” Disk Management “. Alternatively, you can also press the key combination [Windows] + [X] and click on the corresponding entry.
Make sure that no disk is highlighted in blue. In Disk Management, click on ” Action ” and then on ” Create virtual hard disk “.
You now need to specify the location of the virtual hard disk. First click on ” Browse “.
Specify the storage location and the file name for the VHD file. Then click on ” Save “.
Back in the previous menu, select the appropriate settings for your virtual drive. Under a size of 2 TB select ” VHD ” and as ” Type of virtual hard disk “> ” Fixed size “. Also set the ” Size of the virtual hard disk “. Here you specify the desired size of the virtual drive depending on the application requirements. In the drop-down menu behind it you can switch between ” MB “, ” GB ” and ” TB “. Confirm with ” OK “.
The virtual drive will now be created and will appear in the lower window of Disk Management. You may need to scroll a little first to find the newly created drive. It now says “Not initialized”. You now have to take a few more steps in order to initialize and use the hard disk. Right click on the disk and choose Disk Initialization.
Select the partition style . MBR for drives up to 2 TB and GPT for larger drives. Confirm your selection with ” OK “.
You must now create the unallocated partition as a volume. Right click on the unallocated partition and select ” New Simple Volume “.
The ” Wizard for creating new simple volumes ” opens . First click on ” Next “.
Set the size of the volume . Then click on ” Next “.
You can now assign a drive letter to the virtual drive . Here you have a free choice. Then you go to the next step via ” Next “.
The partition must be formatted before you can store data on it. Choose a file system, we’ll take NTFS (the standard file system for Windows that can also store files over 4GB). Click on ” Next ” again.
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