Working with Virtual Hard Drives.
How you can create some great virtual systems and virtual configurations by using some very common and not so common methods.
Actually, the not so common methods are very common but just more creative when it comes to working in virtual environments.
Like my favorite setup is the "Attached VHD with User Login" talk about keeping your data in order. Having a VHD on a server assigned to a desktop connected from any network is so simple to keep updated, backed up and cleaned from all the junk people store in their work Documents folder.
The Attached VHD by Login also offers some good security practices and can help those that are interested in keeping data separated from the actual physical machine.
For some additional reading and if you are attempting to attach network VHD here's some resource links to get you moving along.
Scripts will make things easier and if you are new to running login scripts, editing your local policy and other IT stuff I'll get into be sure to read the resource links I provide. I don't want you getting lost to quickly.
If you are asking "What can a VHD do for me?" or "Why would I use a VHD on my computer?" I have a simple and short example.
I started programming in 1982 and saved everything on 5.25 inch floppy disks. When the 3.5 inch came out I transferred everything, then CDs and I transferred again. Found CDs didn't like heat or light so I transferred them to hard drives. Today I have single hard drives with virtual hard drives on each. As many VHD's as I can load up on the biggest drive I can find. Think of it as running one 2TB drive with a bunch of 80Gb drives you can add and remove in a single mouse click.
Now that's what I call quick access and if you are like me, one day you're going to be browsing a VHD of a 15 year old hard drive and discover a script or project that might be perfect for something you are working on today. I know I did.
Some of the software I will be referencing is paid software. I'm sure there are open source projects that have the same software so use what you feel works for you.
Using Bitlocker to encrypt Virtual Hard Drives (VHD) that attach as Document Libraries. This process was needed to protect saved information on a shared computer. Login information is not good enough when you have uncontrolled access. Systems used by many users can not have custom VHD document libraries with individual passwords. You can also backup and dismount the drives when not needed. This in my opinion will protect the information from some very selective viruses that attempt to encrypt your files. AKA Ransom Virus. I have not completed the tests but in theory this is a very simple method to put into place. Storing the encrypted VHD on 4Gb DVDs makes for a good archive solution as well.
Bitlocker is really a good thing for more than just protection from unwanted disclosure. It will keep those little hands off things they don't need to see. I often share my workstations and laptops which is why I have VHD encrypted drives that I mount when needed and dismount when not needed. This article is the basic setup prior to running the Bitlocker enabled virtual drives.