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.


Windows 7 Group Policies

Many times in my Windows 7 classes we have discussion about what policies there are to help control Windows 7.  Since Windows XP and Server 2003 Microsoft has created and made available an Excel spreadsheet which details what the group policies are and where they are located in the Group Policy Management console.  Check this out the next time you are scratching your head on group policy:

Good luck!

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP Beta

Have you downloaded the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP Beta yet?

The Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Beta helps keep your PCs and servers on the latest support level, provides ongoing improvements to the Windows Operating System (OS), by including previous updates delivered over Windows Update as well as continuing incremental updates to the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 platforms based on customer feedback, and is easy for organizations to deploy a single set of updates.

The Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Beta will help you:

  • Keep your PCs supported and up-to-date
  • Get ongoing updates to the Windows 7 platform
  • Easily deploy cumulative updates at a single time
  • Meet your users’ demands for greater business mobility
  • Provide a comprehensive set of virtualization innovations
  • Provide an easier Service Pack deployment model for better IT efficiency

The public beta is best suited for IT pros, tech enthusiasts and developers who need to test the service pack in their organization or with the software they are developing.

In order to download and install the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Beta you must currently have a Release to Manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 already installed. The Beta is available in English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.

To learn more about piloting, deploying and managing Windows 7, visit the Springboard Series on TechNet.

Microsoft’s Client Proof of Concept

I just returned from TechEd 2010 in the Big Easy and had a lot of fun working the Microsoft Springboard kiosk. One of the new things that is happening with Springboard is they have released a Windows 7 and Office 2010 Proof of Concept deployment package. This allows an organization play with and understand how Windows 7 and Office 2010 interact with each other.

The proof of concept idea allows a company to download virtual hard drives designed to work in Windows Virtual PC (or earlier version Virtual PC 2007).  There are two virtuals: one contains Windows Server 2008 R2 and the other Windows 7 both fully installed, networked together and ready to go.  The server already has Microsoft’s Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) fully loaded as well as some of the deployment technologies ready to test.  Windows 7 includes Office 2010 Professional Plus.  Both sets of virtuals are set to expire 90 days later.  However since it is Windows Virtual PC just unzip them again and test over and over.   This creates an excellent platform to test bed and try out all these tools.

The easiest way to get to the information is by going to the web site found at Springboard Proof of Concept.  This talks about what is available with the Proof of Concepts as well as Step by Step guides and well as download link to get the combined 13 Gb files.  You can also order the DVD’s on-line if you don’t want to waste the bandwidth for the download.

All in all this is a great opportunity to try and test it before you move ahead.  There was a lot of excitement around the concept at TechEd and the DVD’s were disappearing as fast as we could get them out.  Check it out!

What Happened to the AdminToolPak?

I have been teaching a lot of Windows 7 courses lately.  One of the topics that always seems to generate a lot of questions is “How do I administer a Windows 7 client using group policy when we are currently in a Server 2003 or 2008 environment?” 

In essence the answer is that you are going to use a Windows 7 client and the new Remote Server Administration Tool (RSAT) for Windows 7.  The RSAT replaces the AdminToolPak that was available for Windows XP.    There are two different versions:  RSAT x86 and RSAT x64

Once you have the update downloaded and installed, the features will need to be enabled.  This can be done by going into Programs and Features control panel option and choosing Turn Windows features on or off which is found in the left navigation panel.

Adding Windows Features

How to enable RSAT features in Windows 7

Once in the Windows features dialogue box, expand the Remote Server Administration Tools node and the Feature Administration Tools node to find Group Policy Management Tool specifically.  If you are an administrator that needs access to DHCP, DNS, etc then add those tools as well.

Adding Group Policy Management Feature

Windows Features: Adding Group Policy Management Feature

 Once the feature update has completed, the administrator has the ability to get at the console either from Administrative Tools option in the control panel or through creating a new Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and adding the appropriate Snap-In’s.

Now I have the ability to administer Group Policies to not only Windows 7 clients but also Vista and XP.  Now you can start working on understanding what all the Group Policy Objects are that are new in Windows 7.  Which leads me to another great resource that is available for administrators.  Microsoft has made available an Excel spreadsheet that contains all known Group Policies for everything from Windows XP/Server 2003 to Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2.  Download from here.

Windows 7 God Mode

So I have been talking about this enough in my Windows 7 seminars and classess that I thought I should add a post about it.

Whenever I hear the term “God Mode” I think about video gaming and being able to do anything I wanted. When you talk about “God Mode” in Windows 7, this really allows Administrators to get to the tools they need in one location. It reminds me of the Administrator’s ability to use Internet Explorer 6.0 to run around in Admin Approval Mode to fix things on a comput er with out a lot of “Run As” commands.  All you need to do is:

  1. Create a new folder.
  2. Rename the folder with the following: “Desired Name”.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} (do not include the quotes)
  3. Once the change has been made the icon should change to below:
God Mode Icon

Icon for God Mode Windows 7 and Vista

Upon opening the icon you are presented with Administrative Tools, Action Center, Control Panel options, etc.  Combine this with a “Run As” command for a very easy way for administrators to quickly get around on a Windows 7 or Windows Vista machine.  That’s right, this also works on Windows Vista.  Good luck and please leave a comment about what you have found out with this great tool!

God Mode Window
Windows 7 God Mode Explorer

I want to thank Brian Lockwood at  for first bringing God Mode to my attention.

Update 2/8/2010

I was recently poking around on Microsoft’s website and I came across why “God Mode” is even available.  This article talks more about what is it used for and I lists other “Junction Points” that are available to access other parts of the OS.  Pretty cool information.  Checkout this post from the Deployment Guys.