Native VHD Boot to Windows 10 Technical Preview Dual Boot with Windows 7 or Windows 8

There are a number of ways to try out the new operating systems. You can run it either on a separate spare box sitting around in your home of office, or as a virtual machine inside your current system, or dual-boot side-by-side with your primary OS. The best way of all, at least seems to me, is to use the combination of the virtual machine and dual-boat setup to build a native VHD boot side by side with any current system you use, Windows 7 or Windows 8. Why? because it doesn’t compromise on anything you are currently using while still fully consuming all the computer power you have.

So, even though the process is almost the same as in Windows 8, let’s go over it again to see how we can make it.

Step 1: Get and prepare your own bootable installation media

First, head straight over to Windows Insider Program, sign it up, and download the ISO file that you can use to install the preview.

Then, if you are going to use USB drive, you can use this free portable tool called Rufus to build your own bootable Windows 10 Technical Preview installation USB drive.

Rufus - 2014-10-01 10_58_14

Step 2: Prepare your VHD file

You can do so straight from Disk Management GUI.

1. Click on Action from the top menu, and select Create VHD.

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2. Specify the location and the size of the VHD file. Be sure you have enough free space left in that drive.

2014-10-01 12_05_40-Create and Attach Virtual Hard Disk

3. Click OK to start. You will have the brand new VHD file ready a few minutes later.

Step 3: Boot to the bootable Windows 10 media

Follow the installation wizard appearing on the screen, choose Custom: Install Windows Only at a screen asking Which type of installation do you want?

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At next screen where it asks which partition to install the operating system, instead of picking one listed on the screen, hit Shift+F10 to open a Command Prompt window, and type the Diskpart command to attach and mount the VHD file we created previously.

Diskpart:>select vdisk file=e:\vms\win10tp.vhd
Diskpart:>attach vdisk

Make sure to swap out the location and file name of the VHD file with your own.

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Close out the Command Prompt window, refresh the partition list, and select the VHD one on the list, and go Next to carry on the installation.

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Once the installation process finished and the computer rebooted, which happened to me only a few minutes later, you automatically get prompted to this awesome bootload that provides you the choice of both Windows 10 Preview and Windows 7/8, whichever you are using as your primary OS.

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Now, let’s rock.

Kent Chen

Microsoft MVP, IT Professional, Developer, Geek, and the co-founder of Next of Windows.

Last updated: 10/01/2014

Posted in: Virtualization , Windows 10
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