How to create virtual drive (VHD, VHDX, Dev Drive) on Windows 11

The Settings app on Windows 11 now allows you to create and attach virtual drives, and in this guide, you will learn how.

Windows 11 create virtual drive
Windows 11 create virtual drive
  • To create a virtual drive on Windows 11, open Settings > System > Storage > Advanced storage settings > Disks & volumes, and click “Create VHD.” Then, choose a name, location, drive size, format (VHD or VHDX), type (fixed or dynamic), continue with the “GPT” option, and choose the format settings.
  • To create a Dev Drive, open Settings > System > Storage > Advanced storage settings > Disks & volumes, click “Create Dev Drive,” and select “Create new VHD.” Then, choose a name, location, drive size (equal or larger than 50GB), format (VHD or VHDX), type (fixed or dynamic), continue with the “GPT” option, and choose the format settings.

On Windows 11, you can now create virtual hard disks (VHD or VHDX) through the Settings app, and in this guide, you will learn how. Starting on version 23H2 and higher releases, the “Disks & volumes” settings page receives an update to create and manage virtual drives in two ways, including a traditional virtual drive and the new “Dev Drive.”

Similar to using the “Disk Management” tool, the “Disks & volumes” settings include a guided wizard to create and attach a virtual hard disk using the VHD or VHDX format and fixed size or dynamically expanding type. Also, you can choose the file system that best suits the drive.

On the other hand, the “Dev Drive” option allows you to create storage volumes designed specifically for developed workloads. The wizard provides the option to create virtual drives using the Resilient File System (ReFS) technology and includes file system optimizations and features that enable developers to better manage their performance and security profile.

In other words, the option to create traditional virtual drives is meant for general consumer workloads, such as document libraries, installing packaged applications, or non-developer tools, while the “Dev Drive” option has been designed to meet a developer’s needs to host project source code, working folders, and package caches.

This guide will teach you the different ways to create a virtual drive on Windows 11.

Create virtual drive on Windows 11

To create a virtual drive (VHD or VHDX) on Windows 11 23H2, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 11.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click the Storage tab.

  4. Under the “Storage management” section, click “Advanced storage settings.”

  5. Click the Disks & volumes setting.

    Disks & volumes

  6. Click the Create VHD button.

    Create VHD

  7. Confirm a descriptive name for the drive.

  8. Confirm a location to store the virtual drive.

    Quick tip: Usually, you can want to store the “VHD” or “VHDX” on a secondary drive for better performance.
  9. Specify the size of the virtual drive. You can choose the size in megabytes, gigabytes, or terabytes.

    Create and attach virtual hard disk

  10. Check the VHDX option.

    Quick note: Although you can use the “VHD” option, the “VHDX” option is a more suitable choice since it supports drives up to 64TB and is more resilient to power failures.
  11. Check the Dynamically expanding option to allow the drive to grow as more data is written.

    Quick note: The “Fixed size” will allocate the maximum size when the drive is created.
  12. Click the Create button.

  13. Select the “GPT (GUID Partition Table)” option to assign a partition style to the drive.

    Initialize disk

  14. Click the Initialize button.

  15. Confirm a label for the virtual drive.

  16. Choose the drive letter.

  17. Select the “NTFS,” “FAT32,” or “REFS” option in the “File System” setting.

    Virtual drive format settings

  18. (Optional) Use the default size specified in the setting.

  19. Click the Format button.

Once you complete the steps, the virtual drive will appear as a traditional drive in File Explorer.

Create Dev Drive on Windows 11 

To create a virtual drive for development on Windows 11 23H2, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 11.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click the Storage tab.

  4. Under the “Storage management” section, click “Advanced storage settings.”

  5. Click the Disks & volumes setting.

    Disks & volumes

  6. Click the Create Dev Drive button.

    Create Dev Drive

  7. Select the “Create new VHD” option.

    Create Dev Drive

  8. Click the Next button.

  9. Confirm a descriptive name for the drive.

  10. Confirm a location to store the virtual drive.

    Quick tip: Usually, you can want to store the “VHD” or “VHDX” on a secondary drive for better performance.
  11. Specify the size of the virtual drive as equal to or larger than 50GB.

    Create and attach Dev Drive

  12. Check the VHDX option.

  13. Check the Dynamically expanding option to allow the drive to grow as more data is written.

    Quick note: The “Fixed size” will allocate the maximum size when the drive is created.
  14. Click the Create button.

  15. Select the “GPT (GUID Partition Table)” option to assign a partition style to the drive.

    Initialize Dev Drive

  16. Click the Initialize button.

  17. Confirm a label for the virtual drive.

    Format Dev Drive

  18. Choose the drive letter.

  19. (Optional) Use the default size specified in the setting.

  20. Click the Format button.

After you complete the steps, the Dev Drive will be created and accessible from File Explorer on Windows 11 23H2.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me. Email him at [email protected].