Try out Windows 7 without messing up your XP/VISTA installation

I just love Windows 7 RC… It runs much better than VISTA, and has lots of super nice features.  (Get it here http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/ )

One of these features is the ability to boot from a VHD, which actually means that I can run Win7 on my laptop, without having to reinstall my existing OS, mess around with partitioning or having to install some boot manager in order to run it a dual boot environment. 

So what does this mean exactly!! Well for me it means that I can still have my Vista installed PC where I know my Microsoft training material works for when I’m teaching, and where i can always find a working driver for my hardware. further more, i don’t have to worry about the Windows 7 installation once the final release is out, as i can just remove the VHD from my hard disk.

Her is a Step by Step guide on how to do it.

image From your existing Vista /XP machine boot Your Windows 7 CD.
Once the Install Windows box appears, press SHIFT F10 to open a command prompt.
image Crate a folder called VHD on your hard disk

NOTE: this folder you will contain the Win7 virtual disk, so make sure there is space enough. At least 15 GB.

image You will now create the VHD to install Win7 on. This is done from DISKPART. Start diskpart by typing diskpart in the prompt.
image type:
create vdisk file=C:VHDWin7.vhd type=fixed maximum=15000

Note: This will create a fixed size virtual disk. If you leave out type=fixed the VHD will be a dynamical expanding disk.

image You must now select the newly created disk, and attach it to to system.

select vdisk file=C:vhdWin7.vhd

attach vdisk

image Exit DISKPART by typing exit, and the close the prompt.

in the Install Windows box choose your language settings, and the click NEXT

image click Install now
image Accept the license terms, and click Next
image In the “which type of installation do you want?” box make sure to choose Custom.
image Choose the virtual disk you created, and click Next

Just ignore the warning saying that windows cannot be installed to the disk.
image

Note: It should be easy to identify by looking at the size, that should be almost the same size you choose when you created the VHD.

image The installation will now run trough the normal setup process. and once finished, it will automatically create a dual boot setup, wit your old OS.
image To change the Boot order start a Command prompt with elevated privileges.

Right click Command Prompt and click Run as administrator

image type BCDedit /v to list entrees in the boot store.

NOTE: this must be done from the Win7 installation

image

Change the description for your VHD installation to say.  "Windows 7 VHD"

bcdedit /set {xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx} description "Windows 7 VHD"

Replace xxxxx… the Win7 GUID

____________________________

Add VHD installation as the last choice in the boot list.

bcdedit /displayorder {xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx} /addlast

If you have multiple entries, just type them in your preferred order separated by spaces, and drop the /addlast option.

 

That it.. Enjoy your new Win7 installation, i know you will love it..

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