Windows 7 Dual Boot to VHD

I recently got my shiny new copy of Windows 7 Professional (x64) so decided to give it a whirl. Now I was already using Vista Business (x64) and I have been quite happy with it, so will I find Windows 7 that much different?

Well, rather than migrate (which is an option with Vista) I chose to wipe and start again and the install was trivial – then I started to look into some of the new features and the one that has grabbed my attention the most is the ability to dual boot from a VHD. Why bother when you have Virtual PC to host the images you may ask? Well two reasons for me really:

  1. Running a Virtual PC requires the overhead of running you main OS as the host, so booting directly into it would eliminate that waste of memory, processor use etc.
  2. Booting directly into a VHD treats it like a real installation and so uses real driver onto the real hardware – it doesn’t behave like a Virtual machine and so you can test how installations of drivers may really affect the OS and you get a true OS performance rather than some slower interpretation.

So, here is my step by step on how I did it – because believe me it took a few goes and some to get it to work!

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