Windows 7 has a new feature called “VHD Boot”. Using VHD, you can boot your entire Windows from a Virtual Hard Disk file (as those used with Virtual PC or Virtual Server). The advantages are significant as you only need to copy one file (the .VHD file) to a USB external drive and you’re entire system is included.
Also, one VHD file can be based on another one. So if you have different systems, create a base copy of Windows 7 on a VHD and make all others incremental. This allows you to save a lot of disk space!
I have to note though, there are a couple of disadvantages. For starters, the .VHD booted operating system has to be Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 or later. Then there is also a degradation of performance. Some texts say only 3% but on the ones I created, it was more in the area of 20%. Really a noticeable difference.
Some more disadvantages are that the Windows hibernate function and most BitLocker configurations don’t work. BitLocker can be used within the guest VHD, but not on the volume where the VHD resides. Also, if you like the really cool feature of Aero, they don’t work because the Windows Experience index won’t work.
Note: I couldn’t find any texts on this, but I exchanged a physically booted VHD file with Virtual PC VHD files. All you need to do is run sysprep /generalize /oobe. Also the OS needs to be 32-Bit because of Virtual PC.
This lesson is a part of Installing Windows 7 chapter from 70-680 Configuring Windows 7 Prep course. More lessons in this chapter are
The Practice tests included in this course are: