How to Install Windows 8 with Native Boot to VHD

Windows 8 Consumer Preview released this past Wednesday following the announcement at Mobile World Congress. During the 24 hours that followed, the Windows 8 Consumer Preview was downloaded over 1 million times. Some might be installing it on separate hardware, but if you’re like me, you’d like it on your good day-to-day hardware. I run multiple OS’s on my day-to-day laptop and I do that by using a feature introduced in Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7, Boot to VHD aka Native Boot. Native Boot allows me to have my entire system inside a VHD, but still take advantage of my hardware and not be restricted to virtualized hardware. This makes it easy to add and remove OS’s to my PC without affecting anything else. I can also backup and restore an entire machine by copying one file. The following video will walk you through adding a Windows 8 Consumer Preview OS to your Windows 7 PC using Boot to VHD aka Native Boot.

If you’d like to follow a written guide, the following are the steps to setup Windows 8 Consumer Preview with Native Boot.

  1. Download Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO
  2. Download and Install a tool to mount ISO, SlySoft Virtual CloneDrive
  3. Download and Install Windows Automated Installation Kit for Windows 7
  4. Create a directory on your hard drive for your Windows 8 VHD

Create a VHD for Windows 8 Using Diskpart

  • Open Command Prompt as Administrator

create vdisk file=<VHDPath>\<VHDName>.vhd maximum=<MaxMB> type=expandable
select vdisk file=<VHDPath>\<VHDName>.vhd
attach vdisk
create partition primary
assign letter=<VHDDriveLetter>

  • Using an ISO Tool like Virtual CloneDrive, Mount the Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO

Copy Windows 8 to VHD

  • Run the Deployment Tools Command Prompt as Administrator
    • Programs > Microsoft Windows AIK > Deployment Tools Command Prompt

imagex /apply <Windows8ISODrive>:\sources\install.wim 1 <VHDDriveLetter>:\

Add Windows 8 to Boot Menu

  • Open Command Prompt as Administrator

bcdboot <VHDDriveLetter>:\Windows

Reboot and Select Windows 8 Consumer Preview at Boot Menu

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11 Responses to How to Install Windows 8 with Native Boot to VHD

  1. Pingback: Quora

  2. Eric K. says:

    Very nice, thanks! I’m writing this from my fresh Win8 installation. It took longer for the install to finish than it did to follow your instructions. :-)

  3. Guillermo Salas says:

    Setting the bar for “how to” guides I see! :)

    Only critical comment, if that, is that the video could have been shorter and left out the downloads step by step, simply referencing the links could have done it.

    Awesome job! Keep ‘em coming.

    Sweet and to the point, honoring the geek code secret handshake, otherwise known as FizzBin (

    • Eric D. Boyd says:

      @Guillermo – Thanks for the nice words! And thanks for the feedback! I’ll keep it in mind for the next video. Any suggestions or things you’d like to see more videos and screencasts about?

  4. Pingback: Mijn Windows 8 overzicht van handige posts, blogs en links :

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  8. Jawahar Rajan says:

    Did I hear you correctly at the begining of the cli, you stated that the Windows 8 preview could be installed on the Samsung galaxy tablet?
    Can we wipe out the Android install and put in Windows 8 preview, if that is possible that would be just awsome.
    Please confirm if you are able to


  9. jawahar rajan says:

    Can this approach be taken with the latest release preview?

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