Transfering Files to Azure Virtual Machines

This spring Microsoft released some important changes to Windows Azure.  One of the new features is Azure Virtual Machines.  These virtual machines are full virtual machines that are durable and now make it possible to host some of your business applications in the Azure data center that were not possible before.  Creating a new virtual machine is very straight forward using the management console of Windows Azure and it will spin up a new virtual machine for you in just a few minutes.  Once that machine is ready for you, your next step will be to install your custom software and configure the machine to suit its role.  To do that you will have to transfer files to the Azure virtual machine and this blog article will show you a quick and easy way to do that.

This spring Microsoft released some important changes to Windows Azure.  One of the new features is Azure Virtual Machines.  These virtual machines are full virtual machines that are durable and now make it possible to host some of your business applications in the Azure data center that were not possible before.  Creating a new virtual machine is very straight forward using the management console of Windows Azure and it will spin up a new virtual machine for you in just a few minutes.  Once that machine is ready for you, your next step will be to install your custom software and configure the machine to suit its role.  To do that you will have to transfer files to the Azure virtual machine and this blog article will show you a quick and easy way to do that.

  1. Log into your Azure management portal at https://manage.windowsazure.com.
  2. Click on Virtual Machines from the left navigation menu and select your virtual machine.
  3. Look to the bottom of the screen and click the Connect button.  This will prompt you to download an RDP link.
  4. Click on the Save button (or the dropdown and Save As).  Store the link on your desktop or somewhere else you can easily find it.
  5. Minimize your browser windows and locate the RDP settings file on your desktop (or wherever you stored it).  Right-click and select edit.
  6. Switch to the Local Resources tab and click the More button in the local devices section.
  7. Select the drives (or shares) that you want to be available in your RDP session. Click OK.
  8. Click Connect.  This will warn you that you are connecting to a remote machine from an unknown publisher.  Select the don't ask me option and click Connect.
  9. Enter your credentials to log into the machine.
  10. Open up Windows Explorer.  You will notice your local drives in the list of drives on the remote server.
  11. Simply Copy/Paste or drag and drop files between your local workstation and Windows Azure.

A note on Azure Drives

Please note that the D: drive, or temporary storage drive on Windows Azure is for temporary storage only - do not store anything on that drive that you intend to keep.  This drive is not backed by Azure blob storage and can be reprovisioned when your VM is touched by the Azure fabric controller.  The swap file for the operating system goes here, and it is a good location for temporary installation media that you do not intend to keep after you complete the installation of your application.  Also note that the operating system drive (drive C:) is not very large and it is recommended that you attach a separate data drive to install your applications or data onto.  In my example, I have already mounted a data drive as E: and that is where I would place my permanent files on that Azure virtual machine.