How to copy blobs or VHDs between different Windows Azure subscription

(An updated version of this post is available in both English and fran├žais)

First of all, why would you want to copy Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) or a blob from a Windows Azure subscription to another? It could be for: doing backups, because your Windows Azure trial is ending, to get a copy of a client’s VM to investigate a problem. So, when one of my client asked me if it was possible to do it, my answer was: “Yes it is, using command line tools”. But since he was looking for a simple solution, I wrote him a little script that I will share here so everyone can enjoy it.

Get Started

To do the copy, you only need to do one PowerShell command. But, in order to execute this command, you need to have Windows Azure command-line tool already installed. At the end of this post, the script to install the Windows Azure command-line tool will be provided.

The command

Having installed the required tool, you can execute this one line of code from the Windows Azure command-line:
azure vm disk upload <source-path> <target-blob-url> <target-storage-account-key>

Get the source

In this command, you must replace <source-path> by the url of the VHD or blob that you want to copy from.
You can get this url through the Windows Azure Portal, using your account where you want to copy from.

  1. On the left side of the screen click on the Storage icon.
  2. Then click on the storage name.
  3. From the top of the screen click on Containers
  4. And when the container list appears click on the name of the container to get the details view.


Get the destination

2012-11-11_0803Now that the "from" as been identified, we need to specify the “to”. We must replace the <target-blob-url> by the url of the Windows Azure Storage container in the destination Azure subscription. If the Blob container already exists, just connect to this account and follow the previous steps. Otherwise, you need to create a new one by using the “+” imbutton on the bottom left of the screen.

2012-11-11_0754_Public_ContainerThe easiest way is to set the container with a public access at the time of the transfer. You can set this option when creating or editing the container using the button at the bottom of the screen.

Then specify the access propriety to Public Container.

Get the key

2012-11-11_0821Last part but not the less important we must specify the storage account key and replace the <target-storage-account-key> with it. You can find it by accessing the Manage Keys button from the dashboard of the Storage. You can use either the primary or the secondary access key.


Install the Windows Azure command-line tool

2012-10-13_0826Here is a little script that you should put in a “.cmd” or “.bat” file. It will install the Windows Azure command-line tool with Node.js and Chocolatey. After running the script, a console window that looks like this should be open.

@powershell -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy unrestricted -Command "iex ((new-object net.webclient).DownloadString(''))" && SET PATH=%PATH%;%systemdrive%\chocolatey\bin
@powershell "cinst nodejs.install" && SET PATH=%PATH%;%ProgramFiles(x86)%\nodejs
@powershell -ExecutionPolicy unrestricted "npm install azure -g" && SET PATH=%PATH%;%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\npm\
@powershell azure


  • Windows Azure command-line tool
  • Node Packaged Modules or Node.js
  • Chocolatey 


    1. where is the actual command?
      Above section "The Command" does not provide actual command but merely shows an empty space:

      "The command
      Having installed the required tool, you can execute this one line of code from the Windows Azure command-line:

    2. Hi,
      Sorry to read about that, the command is there... What browser are you using? I will try to fix that.

      I a mean time, here is the command:

      azure vm disk upload < source-path> < target-blob-url> < target-storage-account-key>


    3. My source subscription is disabled, Is there any way to get backup or migrate from that disabled subscription?

    4. You don`t have Read only access?
      If not, then you must reactivate the subscription to get access to your data.

    5. Thanks for this article, Frank. Using the CLI to copy blobs between subscriptions was what I was looking for and your commands work perfectly. Right now it is copying my vhd. But I have a question though. I would suppose that the copy works on the cloud and not via my machine. Is that right? I ask this as it is going very slow.
      Thanks again for a concise yet precise blog which would help people like me finish their task without having to look anywhere else.