spacesurfer

Boot Windows 7 from VHD - an amazing concept

120 posts in this topic

Can you run the virtual disks from within virtual PC or is the only purpose of this to not require a new separate partition for win7?

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Spacesurfer, this is awesome.Are the vdisk files dynamic in size, or can you set them to be one huge size initially to avoid fragmentation?
I haven't explored the options when creating the vdisk using diskpart. I set mine to 6.8 gb and it turned out to be a fixed disk. I do believe it creates a fixed disk. If fragmentation occurs, I imagine you can boot to Vista and use Wincontig to make it contiguous.
Can you run the virtual disks from within virtual PC or is the only purpose of this to not require a new separate partition for win7?
You can run it from Virtual PC but you'll have a problem with the HAL. Remember that this is not a virtual install. It's a real physical install, where the installation is contained within a virtual HDD. And yes, the advantage is that you don't have to repartition your HDD to install Win 7. Therein lies the greatest advantage.

If you want to get rid of it, just edit bcd and remove the entry for Windows 7 and delete the vhd. That's it as far as I know.

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Any idea if the VHD can be turned into a real partition? So I could use it as a backup for my installations? Possibly with the ability to add drivers to it offline like was done in the video.

I'd love to have an offline installation that I can easily update and use to restore my system when it gets corrupted.

Also, is it possible to add programs using the offline tool or would I have to mount it?

Can you do a quick test to see if mounting the VHD using disk managment allows you to resize it?

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I do believe you have to mount it (or "attach" it as MS calls it). Mounting is not supported in Vista AFAIK so I can't test it. You have to test it from Windows 7 which supports mounting VHD. Or use some other program that allows mounting VHD.

I know WinImage opens VHD's and it can also mount ISO's using filedisk utility but I'm not sure if it can mount VHD as a drive, which is what you need for offline servicing.

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I do believe you have to mount it (or "attach" it as MS calls it). Mounting is not supported in Vista AFAIK so I can't test it. You have to test it from Windows 7 which supports mounting VHD. Or use some other program that allows mounting VHD.

I know WinImage opens VHD's and it can also mount ISO's using filedisk utility but I'm not sure if it can mount VHD as a drive, which is what you need for offline servicing.

VHDmount from Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 SP1 can mount VHD's

http://www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=2220

post #9

"static", NOT "growable" VHD's can be mounted with IMDISK (giving it the offset to the bootsector) or possibly with VDK (giving it the offset to the MBR or that of the bootsector).

I am not familiar with VHD format, searching for the byte patterns with a file/disk hex viewer/editor on an actual image usually you can find them in a matter of minutes:

http://www.boot-land.net/forums/index.php?...c=2220&st=3

jaclaz

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I like to give it a go to see when you get it install make a backup copy of the VHD file.

then I lke to make my system die then put the backup VHd in place of the old one that was dead and see if the system will boot up and work like before it die.

cause if that work then that be a great one to do a backup of my system.

only thing I don't now what would happen if the MBR die I guest that it still would kill the hole system.

what you thin? worth a try out?

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I'm not talking about a Live CD here, or firing up Qemu for a VM to run Linux from inside Windows (VHD boot is *not* a virtual machine) - what are you speaking of, and where's the documentation? I cannot find any, nor do I remember ever finding this in BeOS, specifically, either. I'd like to see some documentation if I'm wrong.

I wasn't talking about LiveCDs or VMs either. Back in 1999 my PC had one FAT32 partition (Win95), onto which I installed QNX, BeOS and Mandrake. These 3 operating systems each created a file of around 500MB, which was a HD image. The bootloader/kernel and/or some other essential parts were launched from inside Win95, which was then shut down and the alternative OS booted.

Your Google skills must be poor, I found this info about BeOS on the second page of results.

For details about QNX, the first page of results throws up the necessary info.

Well, that's proved me right, I won't bother finding something that proves Mandrake used the same technology.

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I stand corrected, looks like Be did this in 2000. The QnX one I knew about, but it requires DOS to load and a few drivers, so it's not self contained. Be appears to be, however, so it counts.

And my google-foo is good, it's just that all 8 people who used BeOS didn't really document anything in depth regularly, and the Be archives aren't exactly easily searchable.

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The instructions have been updated to include

Adding an existing VHD to boot menu,

Enabling Vista to be able to boot VHD, and

Removing VHD boot entries

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Two quick questions

  1. Can I install a Win7 x64 VHD into a Vista x86 OS root.
  2. Can I install it into C:\VHDs
    e.g. C:\VHDs\Windows7.vhd (if so can/does that directory have system/hidden attributes?)

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Two quick questions…

  1. Can I install a Win7 x64 VHD into a Vista x86 OS root.
  2. Can I install it into C:\VHDs
    e.g. C:\VHDs\Windows7.vhd (if so can/does that directory have system/hidden attributes?)

I don't see why you couldn't place the VDH in the OS root. I'm got mine placed in C:\Shared\ folder in Vista.

As far as x64 vs x86, I'm going to try that on my sis's laptop, which has x86 vista pre-installed. Will post findings here.

The directory will not have hidden/system attributes on it's own. Of course, you won't be able to delete the VHD file while you've got Windows 7 loaded. When in Vista, however, you can delete that file accidentally. I'm sure you can make it system/hidden on your own while in Vista though.

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Just to answer my own question, Yes you can run a 64bit Win7 VHD located in a 32bit OS.

Just one question I have with the running VHD, System Properties doesn't show any installed RAM, is this usual?

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That's unusual. Mine shows the amount installed.

Also, after build 7068, as far as I can see, WEI cannot be calculated for VHD installs.

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I'm not sure about earlier incarnations, since this is my first VHD version but yes for the WEI I get a message telling me that it is unable to assess storage whilst in a VHD, as part of the WEI calculation and exits.

For the installed RAM, I know it's not a major thing, the RAM shows correctly as 4096 MB in the Task Manager Performance window, so I'm sure it's all working, it is just that I hate to see the empty field in that window.

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I'm not sure about earlier incarnations, since this is my first VHD version but yes for the WEI I get a message telling me that it is unable to assess storage whilst in a VHD, as part of the WEI calculation and exits.

For the installed RAM, I know it's not a major thing, the RAM shows correctly as 4096 MB in the Task Manager Performance window, so I'm sure it's all working, it is just that I hate to see the empty field in that window.

If you're on a newer build (7068 or higher) you can use resmon to look at the memory and get an accurate picture, just a thought.

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