A Native Boot VHD is a VHD (Virutual Hard Disk) that can be used as the running OS on designated hardware without a parent operating system hosting it. It’s a virtual machine running directly on bare-bone hardware just like regular Windows operating system that takes full access to all devices and file system volumes on the physical computer. It’s one of the features I love the most since Windows 7, and one of the best options to dual-boot Windows 7 or 8 side-by-side with each other or other operating systems.
However, building a native boot VHD with Windows 7 or 8 isn’t straightforward. You can follow up this step-by-step instruction to build a Windows 8 native boot VHD side-by-side with Windows 7, but you can also use this free portable tool called Bootable Image Creator to simplify the process.
Download it from its webpage, and launch it by double-clicking the executable file extracted from the downloaded zip file.
- Pick the Windows 7 or 8 ISO image file.
- Select a new VHD file on your local file system.
- Define the size of the VHD file, and
- Specify the title of this boot that will be used in Boot Menu.
Click Next when ready, and verify all the information you provided in step above.
Check the option I accept, and go Start.
If everything goes well, you will have a bootable Windows system ready to boot next time when you restart the computer. Bootable Image Creator automates all the steps involved in the process, creating VHD, attaching VHD, creating partition, installing system, and manipulate the boot menu.
And if unfortunately it fails in the middle for some reason, no damage will be made. You can simply move back to the manual process to finish the installation.