Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Dual boot Linux from VHD?

  1. #1


    Posts : 2,130
    Windows 8.0 x64

    Dual boot Linux from VHD?


    Ideally I am looking for the situation where I can create a VHD from a Linux ISO, boot it, then install additional packages and change settings etc.. I'm not interested in a Live CD scenario.

    I have Windows 8.0 "home" or whatever they preload on Laptops. So far the only OS ISO I have successfully booted has been Windows 2012 Server R2. Kind of unwieldy on a Laptop. I tried Windows 7 Pro x64 but it hung on Starting Windows.

    So I'm thinking Linux might run a bit snappier if I can find one that does UEFI boot(with secure boot disabled) and runs from a VHD. I have installed several Linux as VMWare Player VMs. But they were too slow to use on this Laptop. If I could boot directly to VHD it might be feasible to actually use the OS. At least I would get some idea how it would work if I put it on the metal. I only have this Laptop and since GPT and all this UEFI stuff is new to me I don't want to do a real dual boot and risk hosing my system.

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  2. #2


    Hi

    Almost all newer Linux ditros supports UEFI and SecureBoot. Simply shrink the OS partition via "Disk Management" and install Linux to the newly created empty space. I would recommend Linux Mint which is an upgrade of Ubuntu.

    Main Page - Linux Mint
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  3. #3


    Posts : 2,130
    Windows 8.0 x64


    Yeah, I've done plenty of multi-booting with MBR based systems. Right now all I have is this Laptop. Can't risk putting anything on the metal when I'm not up to snuff on this GPT jazz yet. Maybe when I get a guinea pig machine.

    I've been hearing all this about the wonder and simplicity of VHD booting straight up via the boot manager. So far the only system to get completely up off the dime was 2012 Server R2. All the rest either hung or went straight into auto repair mode. Seems like something that works on Windows 7 because it's the old tried and tru MBR setup. Maybe I'll put W7 Pro on as this W8.0 is kind o flack luster for me.
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  4. #4


    I've been hearing all this about the wonder and simplicity of VHD booting straight up via the boot manager.
    VHD booting through boot manager is a Windows native feature and Linux doesn't support it. Not all "Windows 7" version supports this feature.

    Source : ( Article is written before the release of Win8 )https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/...(v=ws.10).aspx

    Native VHD support has the following limitations:


    Native VHD boot is supported only by Windows 7, and it is restricted to the following editions:


    Windows® 7 Enterprise


    Windows® 7 Ultimate


    Windows Server 2008 R2

    If you try to boot other "Windows 7" versions, they will reboot/blue screen/hung since they don't have the VHD driver. In "Windows 8" family, "Professional" and "Server 2012" has VHD supports.

    Btw, i never tried VHD booting on a UEFI machine. I am not sure whether a UEFI based system can boot MBR partitioned VHD. Probably you may need a GPT partitioned VHD and a supported "Windows" version.
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  5. #5


    Posts : 2,130
    Windows 8.0 x64


    I think there is a whole bunch of misinformation and misunderstanding of this whole subject. I successfully booted Windows 2012 Server R2 from a VHD file on C: partition of W8.0 that came preloaded on a Toshiba Laptop. Windows 8 was not booted. So however this stuff works it must be pretty close to the firmware since it booted from the boot manager.

    The VHDs were formatted with GPT partitions as FAT32 for UEFI boot if that was what was called for. In any case it's hardly plug and play. I suspect it is much more so when everything is MBR. VMWare player setups are much simpler but also much slower. It's in the range of unusable except maybe to load up a web browser to verify that it works, then shut down.

    Several attempts did get to a screen saying the OS was loading. Which leads me to believe I got everything right according to the directions. But there's always something everyone didn't bother to mention in these cases. That's why I'm trying to find out if anyone actually does this or if it's more theoretical.

    Anyway, hopefully before too long I'll have more than one PC and will be able to experiment a bit without taking so much risk. Thanks for the reply.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 94
    Windows 7


    Quote Originally Posted by MilesAhead View Post
    I think there is a whole bunch of misinformation and misunderstanding of this whole subject. I successfully booted Windows 2012 Server R2 from a VHD file on C: partition of W8.0 that came preloaded on a Toshiba Laptop. Windows 8 was not booted. So however this stuff works it must be pretty close to the firmware since it booted from the boot manager.

    The VHDs were formatted with GPT partitions as FAT32 for UEFI boot if that was what was called for. In any case it's hardly plug and play. I suspect it is much more so when everything is MBR. VMWare player setups are much simpler but also much slower. It's in the range of unusable except maybe to load up a web browser to verify that it works, then shut down.

    Several attempts did get to a screen saying the OS was loading. Which leads me to believe I got everything right according to the directions. But there's always something everyone didn't bother to mention in these cases. That's why I'm trying to find out if anyone actually does this or if it's more theoretical.

    Anyway, hopefully before too long I'll have more than one PC and will be able to experiment a bit without taking so much risk. Thanks for the reply.
    Win7Pro can't be booted natively. The licensing system will check the type of boot (ie. normal or from VHD) and the Windows edition. If edition isn't W7 Ultimate/Enterprise, boot will hang on start-up. It's a good thing Microsoft decided to remove this check in W8.x. All editions of W8.x and above can be booted natively...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 2,130
    Windows 8.0 x64


    Win7Pro can't be booted natively. The licensing system will check the type of boot (ie. normal or from VHD) and the Windows edition. If edition isn't W7 Ultimate/Enterprise, boot will hang on start-up. It's a good thing Microsoft decided to remove this check in W8.x. All editions of W8.x and above can be booted natively...
    That's interesting because I got the same reaction booting Windows 8.1 Pro as I did with Windows 7 Pro. It will boot from a USB stick but not from VHD. Also Windows 10 I have tried about 4 ISOs and none of them will boot from VHD. They go right into auto repair mode.

    If this is ease of use I'll try the hard way.
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  8. #8


    Posts : 94
    Windows 7


    Quote Originally Posted by MilesAhead View Post
    Win7Pro can't be booted natively. The licensing system will check the type of boot (ie. normal or from VHD) and the Windows edition. If edition isn't W7 Ultimate/Enterprise, boot will hang on start-up. It's a good thing Microsoft decided to remove this check in W8.x. All editions of W8.x and above can be booted natively...
    That's interesting because I got the same reaction booting Windows 8.1 Pro as I did with Windows 7 Pro. It will boot from a USB stick but not from VHD. Also Windows 10 I have tried about 4 ISOs and none of them will boot from VHD. They go right into auto repair mode.

    If this is ease of use I'll try the hard way.
    Really? I natively boot W8.1 Pro just fine on my desktop. In fact, I have two instances of it (in separate vhd files) on this machine. It's not so much as whether you can technically natively boot W7 Pro, but rather whether the OS will do a roadblock check on startup and prevent itself from loading...

    Btw, it's possible some of the problems you encountered have to do with the OS being improperly added to the boot menu, or a vhd size that's larger than the actual free space on the hdd when fully expanded. I've always done mine manually using bcdedit and made sure the disk has enough space to contain the vhd file when it's maximized...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 2,130
    Windows 8.0 x64


    Quote Originally Posted by eatup View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by MilesAhead View Post
    Win7Pro can't be booted natively. The licensing system will check the type of boot (ie. normal or from VHD) and the Windows edition. If edition isn't W7 Ultimate/Enterprise, boot will hang on start-up. It's a good thing Microsoft decided to remove this check in W8.x. All editions of W8.x and above can be booted natively...
    That's interesting because I got the same reaction booting Windows 8.1 Pro as I did with Windows 7 Pro. It will boot from a USB stick but not from VHD. Also Windows 10 I have tried about 4 ISOs and none of them will boot from VHD. They go right into auto repair mode.

    If this is ease of use I'll try the hard way.
    Really? I natively boot W8.1 Pro just fine on my desktop. In fact, I have two instances of it (in separate vhd files) on this machine. It's not so much as whether you can technically natively boot W7 Pro, but rather whether the OS will do a roadblock check on startup and prevent itself from loading...

    Btw, it's possible some of the problems you encountered have to do with the OS being improperly added to the boot menu, or a vhd size that's larger than the actual free space on the hdd when fully expanded. I've always done mine manually using bcdedit and made sure the disk has enough space to contain the vhd file when it's maximized...
    The VHD file is made a fixed size from the getgo. It doesn't expand. I think the main problem is MS stopped giving download access to bonafide installation media and started playing a lot of games with it. I think I'll let UEFI shake out for awhile, at least as used by MS. Eventually I'll get around to substituting Windows 7 Pro. I like the glass. I'm not big of flat drab UI. I'm not using a phone so I don't see why it should look as though I am. Least common denominator is a turnoff. Gimme' clocks with frosted glass semi-transparent doodads. If I just want to see the time I can look at the thing in the tray.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 94
    Windows 7


    One time I forgot to sysprep a VHD image I'd built in VirtualPC with all the latest hotfixes. It wouldn't boot natively until I went back and did it...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Dual boot Linux from VHD?
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