.VMCZ File Extension
Hyper-V Compressed Virtual Machine
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What is a VMCZ file?
A VMCZ file contains a compressed virtual machine (VM) created by Microsoft Hyper-V, a Windows virtualization program. It stores the state, data, and hardware configuration of a VM at the time of the file creation in a Zip-compressed package. VMCZ files are exported by Hyper-V to share and copy virtual machines to other computers or servers.
Microsoft Hyper-V allows users to run multiple operating systems as virtual machines in Windows, as well as create and manage virtualized software and hardware components. Hyper-V software also comes with Hyper-V Manager, which is a tool that provides a friendly user interface (UI) for interacting with Hyper-V. Hyper-V Manager is available as an optional program built into Windows systems that support Hyper-V.
Microsoft introduced the VMCZ file type when it added the virtual machine export capability to Hyper-V Manager with the release of the Windows 10 Insider Build of 16226 in June 2017. The feature was introduced through the addition of a "Share" button to the UI of Hyper-V Manager that allows users to export a Hyper-V VM as a compressed VMCZ file.
The Share feature makes it easier for users to copy virtual machines and transport them to other locations. After moving a VMCZ file to another system with Hyper-V installed, a user can simply double-click the file to import it into Hyper-V.
Since a VMCZ file is a Zip-compressed package, a user can also manually extract the contents of the package with a Zip-decompression utility, such as Microsoft File Explorer, Corel WinZip, 7-Zip, or WinRAR. The contents typically include a VM hard disk drive .VHD or .VHDX file, a VM configuration .VMCX file, and a VM run state VMRS file.
To export a virtual machine in Hyper-V Manager as a VMCZ file, select the "Share" button in the toolbar or right-click a virtual machine, then select Export.
NOTE: Hyper-V was first released with Windows Server 2008 and has been made available for free beginning with Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. It is available in 64-bit versions of Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education.