Tricky scenario - booting into Windows 7 VHD from XP

Mark Larson

New Member
Hey all, great software and great forum here. I have a tricky scenario that I wanted to get somebody's views on...

I want to install Windows 7 booting from a VHD on a machine that has Windows XP SP3 on it. I don't want to touch this install in any way, not even to install Easy BCD. There's a way to install Linux like this, by booting a Linux Live USB stick, and I read about booting Windows 7 from a VHD today, and now I've got it in my head that I should do that. :??

I don't want to modify the boot file of the XP install, and I don't care about having it be completely user-friendly. For example, when I boot my Linux USB stick, I have to insert the USB stick, power on the laptop, and then press F12, and select USB Media when the boot menu comes up. Is there a similar way to boot Windows so that the existing install isn't touched at all?

EDIT: Also, I understand that it doesn't work when the VHD file is on USB storage. I'm going to put the VHD on the existing hard drive.
The answer is Virtual PC if you want it as a guest OS. You can't boot it as a host because to do that the newer Windows boot manager would be in charge meaning you would have another installation of Vista/W7 already on the drive.
If you use Diskpart from the W7 DVD to create a .vhd, and then you install W7 into that VHD, its likely W7 will automatically install its boot files into the root of the "active" partition on your HDD, and change the MBR and PBR, so it'll be looking for bootmgr instead of the ntldr which XP uses. You should be able to install EasyBCD inside the virtual W7 install, and use it to modify the BCD, and add an XP entry, letting it auto-configure. Then you'll have a dual-boot with W7 installed to a VHD like you wanted...:wink: