Native Boot VHD on a Windows XP Computer [Virtualization]

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First, it’s Native Boot VHD on Windows 7, and then on Vista, and without any hosting OS, now it can be done on a Windows XP machine too. Thanks to Mark Wilson and his team for finally figuring it out.

To recap,

To begin, boot your computer using your Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 installation media.

When you reach the Install Windows screen, select your preferences in the Language to install, Time and currency format, and Keyboard or input method boxes, and then click Next.

Do not click Install now. Instead, click Repair your computer.

The search for supported operating systems will fail, and the System Recovery Options dialog box appears with the Restore your computer using a system image that you created earlier option selected. Click Next.

The Re-image your computer tool will fail to find a system image and will display a dialog informing you of this. Click Cancel on the dialog, and then Cancel again on the main tool window.

The System Recovery Options menu appears. Click Command Prompt.

To write the new Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 bootloader:

BOOTSECT /NT60 C: /FORCE /MBR

To create a BCD store from the Windows VHD:

DISKPART
SELECT VDISK FILE=C:\BOOTVHDS\W2K8R2ENTX64.VHD
ATTACH VDISK
ASSIGN LETTER=X
EXIT
BCDBOOT X:\WINDOWS /S C:

Set up the VHD native boot:

BCDEDIT /SET {default} DEVICE VHD=[LOCATE]\BOOTVHDS\W2K8R2ENTX64.VHD
BCDEDIT /SET {default} OSDEVICE VHD=[LOCATE]\BOOTVHDS\W2K8R2ENTX64.VHD
BCDEDIT /SET {default} DETECTHAL ON

Set up the legacy boot:

BCDEDIT /CREATE {ntldr} /d "Chain Legacy Bootloader"
BCDEDIT /SET {ntldr} DEVICE PARTITION=C:
BCDEDIT /SET {ntldr} PATH \ntldr
BCDEDIT /DISPLAYORDER {ntldr} -ADDLAST

To put things back to normal, should you ever need to:

BOOTSECT /NT52 C: /FORCE /MBR

Note that I just quote the whole steps from Mark’s original post in case someone who look for this information in no time. If you need more inside, I recommend you head over to that for details.

Also, note that I haven’t had chance to test this method out but the process does look making sense to me. If you use it and run into any problems you can comment here but I can’t guarantee that I can help you out. Other than that, enjoy.

Native boot from VHD on a Windows XP computer [via Mark Wilson]

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Maybe the letter X is in use. Just guess. You can actually do the same thing in disk manager. All the first part is mount a VHD and assign a driver letter to it.

    Hope it helps.

    Cheers.

    • VHD native boot is a new feature introduced first in Windows 7. check the following post for detail.

      http://www.windows7hacker.com/index.php/2009/08/7-things-about-windows-7-native-boot-vhd/

      Comparing to legacy dual-boot, VHD native boot boots off an OS from a VHD file while legacy boot boots off an OS from a partition.

      Cheers.

  2. Are ” Repair your computer” and ” Restore your computer using a system image that you created earlier” steps required? According to your another post (
    http://www.windows7hacker.com/index.php/2009/08/windows-7-vhd-native-boot-without-any-hosting-operation-system/ ), the Command Prompt can be opened by Shift+F10.

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