Knowledge Base Article

Hyperv Virtual Machine Export Import

When to export and import Hyperv virtual machines to keep business running.


Last Review: June 28, 2019

Product(s): Office 365, Azure

Author(s): John Whinery


A cyberist created this article using the patented Delta Method by modernizing a typical approach.


Hyperv virtual machines (VM) should be exported and imported for migration to new equipment or as failsafe for recovery from updates/upgrades beyond incremental checkpoints. Unlike a checkpoint, exporting a copy of the VM is a full backup in case anything goes wrong. Best practice is having identically configured Hpyerv hosts with the same operating system, drive and memory configuration, network cards, and virtual switch naming conventions.


All requirements should be verified before proceeding to implementation steps:

  • Domain Admin access is required to access the Hyperv Manager on the Hyperv host.
  • VM local administrator password must be verified or reset if unknown in case you must log into the local machine and rejoin the VM to the domain.
  • Hyperv host must have enough disk space disk space and memory or the export will fail and/or the VM will not start with "insufficient memory" error.
  • Virtual switch name and IP address information should be recorded in case connecting to a different virtual switch or a dynamic IP is assigned.
  • Event Viewer errors on the Hyperv host(s) and VM should be resolved before export and import.
  • VM checkpoints must be deleted in Hyperv Manager before export and import.
  • VM export may be performed while the VM is running. However, if the VM contains data a shutdown should be scheduled and downtime announced to users.
  • Export and import of VM(s) is mainly dependent upon copying time so you should schedule a minimum of 1 hour for this task.


  1. Log into the Hyperv host of the VM to export.
  2. Open File Explorer and create a folder called Export on the data partition. If importing the VM on another Hyperv host repeat steps 1 and 2 on the other Hyperv host and map a drive to Export folder on the target Hyperv server.
  3. Export a copy of the VM on both the source and target Hyperv server. Keep a local copy in case of some failure on the target host and you have to fall back to the source Hyperv server.
    • Open HyperV Manager.
    • Initiate the export process by right-clicking on the virtual machine you want to backup and choose Export. The option to Export is also on the side-bar menu on the right as well.
    • Browse and select the Export folder on the Hyperv data volume and follow the prompts to complete the process.
    • Repeat the steps above to export the VM to another Hyperv host browsing to your previously mapped drive.
    • Shutdown the VM in Hyperv Manager before importing into another machine to prevent name/IP conflicts.
  4. Begin the Import process on the target server:
    • Open HyperV Manager.
    • Choose Import Virtual Machine on the right-hand side menu.
    • Follow the prompts, keep the existing unique identifier, and browse to the desired VM in the Export folder on the data volume.
    • Start the VM in Hyperv Manager.
    • Confirm you can connect and login to the VM.


Check for any Event Viewer errors and test functions with user verification. Processor or RAM may need to be increased for better performance depending upon Hyperv workload. Be sure to remove the VM from previous Hyperv host and delete exported VM copies after testing and next VM backup is complete.