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Dave's MCT Stuff - Booting Windows 8 from .VHD on Windows Server 2008 R2
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# Friday, September 23, 2011

Last night at the Montgomery Windows IT Professional Group meeting, I demonstrated booting Windows 8 and Windows Server 8 from a .vhd file.  Some asked how I set this up.  So let me show you how.  Now, please note you can boot from a .vhd in Windows 7 also, but I haven’t done this—only from a Windows Server 2008 R2 machine.  I am in the process of testing out the .vhd boot on Windows 7, and will show y’all how to do this soon, as soon as my tests are done.  Suffice to say it is easier (for me at least) to do this from Windows Server 2008 R2 (RTM won’t work), because you can have Hyper-V on it and make the virtual machines in the first place, which store their data in a .vhd file on that server.

So, I started off by making two virtual machines in Hyper-V,  one for Windows 8 (64-bit—don’t use 32 bit if you can help it!) Developer Preview, and the other using Windows Server 8 (ONLY comes in 64-bit) Developer Preview.  Once I got them installed and configured, I shut them down and took a snapshot.

First .vhd boot I did was on Windows 8, as follows:

1.  From Server Manager (remember , this is on the Windows Server 2008 R2 parent platform running Hyper-V), expand Storage.

2.  Right-click Disk Management, select Attach Virtual Hard Disk dialog box, click Browse.

3.  Browse to the location of the .vhd file for Windows 8, which in my case was d:\Program Files\Microsoft Learning\Windows8, and select the .vhd file, in my case I had named it windows8.vhd.  Click  windows8.vhd, open, then OK.  note the drive letter that Windows associates with the attached .vhd.  In my case, it was F:\.

4.Click Start, go to Command Prompt, right-click it and select Run as AdministratorYes, if required, to the UAC pop-up.

5.  At the command prompt, type bcdboot F:\windows  Note I used the drive letter Windows assigned in 3 above.

6.  At the command prompt, type bcdedit /set {default} Description Windows 8

At the command prompt, type shutdown /r /t 0  The system reboots.

 

Now here is where it got interesting.  The above steps swapped out my Windows Server 2008 R2 boot loader with the Windows 8 Developer Preview boot loader, so when the system came back up, the boot loader was a nifty Windows 8 green with two tiles, one for Windows 8 and the other for Windows Server 2008 R2.    I tested both by repeatedly booting and selecting each one and then logging on.  all worked fine.

 

Now I proceeded to set up the Windows Server 8 boot to VHD.  Same as above, but substitute the .vhd file for Windows Server 8 in step 3 above.  As follows, here’s how I did it (changes in red):

3. Browse to the location of the .vhd file for Windows Server 8, which in my case was d:\Program Files\Microsoft Learning\WinServer8, and select the .vhd file, in my case I had named it winserver8.vhd. Click winserver8.vhd, open, then OK. note the drive letter that Windows associates with the attached .vhd. In my case, it was G:\.

4.Click Start, go to Command Prompt, right-click it and select Run as Administrator. Yes, if required, to the UAC pop-up.

5. At the command prompt, type bcdboot G:\windows Note I used the drive letter Windows assigned in 3 above.

6. At the command prompt, type bcdedit /set {default} Description Windows Server 8

At the command prompt, type shutdown /r /t 0 The system reboots.

The interesting thing now is that the boot menu went back to the older boot loader (I guess that’s what Windows Server 8 uses) so the colorful, er, Green boot loader menu was short lived.  I tested out booting to all three and everything worked just fine.

DaveF

 

Friday, September 23, 2011 8:20:25 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0]    | 
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