Booting Windows 8 from a virtual disk

I have now installed Windows 8 developer preview on my main machine. I did this by looking at a couple of blog posts from primarily Scott Hanselman.

During this process I did run into a few problems.

First I did not have a USB key big enough for the 64-bit installation (all downloads here) with Visual Studio pre installed, my biggest was 4 GB. So I followed the instructions to make a 10 GB part of my USB hard drive bootable.

Then I found out that I can’t copy a 4.2 GB file to a FAT32 file system. I also found out that my computer do not want to boot from a partition formatted with NTFS or exFAT.

My solution was to use the iso without Visual Studio pre installed. On that iso the biggest file was only 3.6 GB, so it worked with FAT32.

I then downloaded and installed the VS 11 preview from MSDN, which unfortunately requires an MSDN subscription.

Finally a short step by step description:

  1. Create a virtual disk, 60 GB, dynamically growing.
  2. Create a restore point, and make back ups (I didn’t do this, but one should).
  3. Burn the iso to a DVD or copy the content of the iso a bootable USB device.
  4. Boot from the media in point 3.
  5. When the installation comes to selecting partition to boot from, press Shift+F10 to get a console
  6. run diskpart
  7. DISKPART> select vdisk file=d:VMsWin8.vhd
  8. DISKPART> attach vdisk
  9. return back to installation and refresh list of disks.
  10. select your virtual disk and install Windows 8 onto it.
  11. ready to run.

I did run into some trouble, when I booted back to Windows 7, I got a temporary desktop. But I reverted back to a system restore point (created by Windows update), and then it worked great again.

1 Comment

  1. I have installed both Windows Movie Maker 2.6 and Windows Movie Maker 6 on my Windows 7. So you can run both veisrons side by side on Windows 7 and Windows Vista. But 2.6 and 6 does not work at all on Windows XP. Andrea Borman.

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