SharePoint 2010 Development Platform Using Boot From VHD

I have been working with Windows 7 for a while and knew about this wonderful feature called Boot from VHD. In a nutshell this feature allows Windows 7 to boot directly into a VHD and run just like a dual-boot system. The Boot from VHD allows the virtual to also tap into built in hardware like chip virtualization technology, USB devices, and more importantly memory. Because of this I have been able to demo Windows 7 using Aero and even use a VHD with Windows 2008 R2 Hyper-V and build other virtuals for courses I am teaching.

When I started into SharePoint 2010 beta I quickly jumped into building my own VHD for this product. Hence this is a great platform to build and test SharePoint 2010 without affecting my Windows 7 client.

Documented below are the steps I cobbled together from a variety of sources to get my Boot from VHD up and running.

  • Open up computer management on Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2.
  • Click on Disk Management in the Storage node.
  • After it has refreshed, right click on Disk Management and choose Create VHD.

  • Specify a location. Ensure that the location has enough hard drive space. The rule of thumb is that you need to have as much physical space as you are allocating for the Virtual disk size.
  • Designate the Virtual hard disk size. Ensure to allow for SQL and SharePoint as well as log file size.
  • Choose either Dynamically expanding or Fixed size depending upon how much disk space available. If limited, then use Fixed size.

  • Click on OK.
  • While creating the vhd, Windows 7 show that a new driver is being installed and the status bar of the console will update how far along the VHD is from completing. This will take a while like it is creating the VHD.
  • Right click on the newly created Disk # Unknown and choose Initialize Disk.

  • Leave everything as default and click OK.
  • Right click on the Disk and choose New Simple Volume.
  • In the New Simple Volume Wizard click on Next.
  • In the Specify Volume Size leave all options as default and click Next.
  • In the Assign Drive Letter or Path leave all options as default and click Next.
  • In the Format Partition name the Volume SharePoint2010 and click Next and then Finish.
  • You know this worked when the AutoPlay window for the new drive pops up and it is visible in Windows Explorer.

Apply the Install.Wim to VHD

  • Download and Install WAIK for Windows 7 from:
  • Get a hold of the Windows Server 2008 R2 installation media and navigate to the Sources folder and copy the install.wim file to a usable location on the C: drive.
  • In the Windows 7 Start search type out Deployment Tools Command Prompt.
  • Right click on the command and choose Run as Administrator and click Yes at UAC prompt.
  • Type the following commands:

    Imagex /apply c:\install.wim 3 E:\

**Note the 3 in the command designates which version of Windows Server 2008 R2 is needed for this installation. Refer to the table below to designate a specific version or use the following imagex command to explore: imagex /info {path to install.wim}

# Version
1 Standard
2 Standard Core Only
3 Enterprise
4 Enterprise Core Only
5 Data Center
6 Data Center Core Only
7 Web
8 Web Core Only
  • Once the wim has been applied, close the Deployment Tools Command Prompt.
  • Navigate to the attached VHD drive and the following folders should be available.

  • Navigate to Computer Management
  • Right click on the Attached VHD and choose Detach VHD.

  • In the Detach Virtual Hard Disk window click on OK.

Create a Boot Menu Options

  • From the Start Search type out cmd and right click on command icon and choose Run as administrator.
  • In the Command Prompt type the following entries:

    C:\bcdedit /copy {current} /d “My New VHD Name”

    **This line will return a unique GUID for the boot object. Use this GUID below anywhere <guid> is displayed.

    C:\bcdedit /set <guid> device vhd=[driveletter:]\<directory>\<vhd filename>

    C:\bcdedit /set <guid> osdevice vhd=[driveletter:]\<directory>\<vhd filename>

    C:\bcdedit /set <guid> detecthal on

    **This last command will ensure that the vhd will be able to interact with the HAL.

Now that you have seen the overall syntax here is what I did with mine:

C:\bcdedit /copy {current} /d “SharePoint 2010”

C:\bcdedit /set <66054000d-dd92-11dd-92a1-dc4419dac736> device vhd=[C:]\VHD\SharePoint2010

C:\bcdedit /set <66054000d-dd92-11dd-92a1-dc4419dac736> osdevice vhd=[C:]\VHD\SharePoint2010

C:\bcdedit /set <66054000d-dd92-11dd-92a1-dc4419dac736> detecthal on

  • Close the command prompt after completing the final command.
  • Restart your computer and a selection screen should give you options for Windows 7 and your new vhd boot.
  • Choose the new boot and continue with the configuration of Windows Server 2008 R2.

I have found a great website that document the entire configuration of SharePoint 2010 with Active Directory and SQL Server 2008 R2.


Here are some of the resources I used when researching this process.


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