Windows 7 VHD Native Boot without any Hosting Operation System

VHD native boot is a big thing in Windows 7. Despite the fact that the guest OS has to be on either Windows 7 or Windows server 2008 R2, the host operating system can be either Windows 7, Vista, or even nothing. If you don’t believe it, follow the steps below, and tip your hat to Vineet, if the trick works.

To get started you will first need to create a Windows 7 WinPE USB Disk (this can be done using the Windows 7 AIK)

  1. Boot the machine from the USB Drive into WinPE
  2. Format C: /q   — This is optional, but make sure you delete c:\bootmgr
  3. Copy Windows 7 VHD file to any location on the hard disk [In this case I copied it to C:\VHD\Win7.vhd]
  4. Copy Bootmgr from the USB disk – Very important step, only the windows 7 Bootmgr will allow boot from VHD
  5. Type the following commands in the WinPE command window
    • C:\>DISKPART
    • DISKPART>SEL VDISK File=C:\VHD\Win7.vhd
    • DISKPART>LIST VOL (This lists the drive letters and mappings, assuming F: maps to the VDISK)
    • DISKPART>Exit
    • C:\>Bcdboot F:\Windows

Now the system is ready, just Reboot the system and this will take you straight into your VHD.

For the step 1, as Vineet pointed out in the comment, you can also do it by booting from Windows 7 DVD, when it comes to the first screen, press SHIFT+F10 and you will get the comment window, and you can do the rest from now on.

Credit also should go to Mark Wilson for sharing it by commenting on 7 things about Windows 7 native boot VHD, which you also should be checking out if you want to know more about VHD native boot.

Last updated: 08/04/2014

Posted in: Virtualization
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