How to move or migrate Hyper-V virtual machines – Export & Import

You can move Hyper-V virtual machines in a Windows failover cluster or on a stand-alone Hyper-V host. Moving virtual machines is a fairly easy process, without having to do too much work at the file level, it’s mostly an export and import process.

In this example, I will cover how to move virtual machines in a Hyper-V failover cluster environment, which is very similar to a stand-alone Hyper-V host. This will cover off moving the .VHD and .XML configuration files together.

Export process

  1. Power down the Virtual Machine you plan on moving
  2. Export the Virtual Machine to the top level folder of where you want the new Virtual Machine to go (for example c:\CSV). Select the virtual machine, choose the option to Export.
  3. The export process will create a new folder with the name of the Virtual Machine under the top level folder you chose to export to (c:\CSV). The folder structure will look like this c:\CSV\<VM_Machine_Name>. It will then create 3 more folders under this level:
    1. Virtual Machines
    2. Virtual Hard Disks (With the actual .VHD file )
    3. Snapshots
  4. The export process will take a little while, it has to copy the virtual hard drive.
  5. Upon export completion, confirm all the files exist in the new location under c:\CSV\
  6. Delete the Virtual Machine’s cluster service from Failover Cluster Manager (ignore if using a stand-alone Hyper-V host)
  7. Delete the Virtual Machine in Hyper-V manager; this deletes the previous Virtual Machine’s .XML Configuration file, leaving behind an empty folder shell.

Import process

  1. Import the Virtual Machine back in using Hyper-V Manager
  2. Using Hyper-V Manager, right click one of the Hosts and Import the Virtual Machine.
  3. Browse to the location of the newly copied Virtual Machine configuration files which contains the .XML file and the .VHD file. (C:\CSV\<VM_Machine_Name>)
  4. Choose the option to Move or Restore, click on Import
  5. Ignore this step if you have a stand-alone Hyper-V host. Configure the imported Virtual Machine for High Availability, right click Services & Applications and Configure a Service or Application.
  6. Choose Virtual Machine


  7. Select Virtual Machine and Finish
  8. Power on the imported virtual machine to confirm it works.
  9. Delete the old VHD file.


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