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How To Clone Running VMs with Hyper-V and SCVMM

Cloning a virtual machine while it is running is a very handy feature that I have personally used on numerous occasions, especially to test upgrade versions of a production virtual machine.

Sure, there are other ways of testing software, but in my meticulous approach, I always like to test against as close to the real thing as possible. There are other use cases for cloning a virtual machine without powering it off; I just gave you one that I have used in the past.

While vSphere has had this capability for a while, it is a very welcome new feature in Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2.

The action is named differently in Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 than it is in SCVMM 2012 R2. In the latter, the feature is appropriately called "clone." In Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, it's called "export." Same function, different name.

To initiate this action from within Hyper-v Manager on Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2, use these steps:

  1. Open Hyper-V Manager.
  2. Find the running virtual machine that you want to clone.
  3. Right-click on it and click on Export.

To initiate this process on SCVMM 2012 R2, use these steps:

  1. Launch your Virtual Machine Manager console.
  2. Select the virtual machine tab.
  3. Locate the running virtual machine that you wish to clone.
  4. Right-click on it, hover over "create" and select "clone"

It's that easy and simple. Once you start the task, the time it will take to clone the VM depends on the size of the virtual machine. You should also be aware that once you initiate the cloning process, the new VM is created at the point in time when you click on the "clone" or "export" action.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 02/18/2014 at 2:36 PM


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