2.5.3 Native boot

2.5.3 Native bootBy Val BakhWindows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 support native boot. Native boot is a method by which a physical computer can boot from a physical drive into an operating system that is stored on a virtual hard drive (VHD). Let’s look at how a blank or bare-metal computer can be set up for native boot.
Start WinPE by inserting a Windows 7 installation DVD. Open a Command Prompt and use the Diskpart command line tool to partition and format your computer’s physical hard drive. This is also known as the host disk in a native-boot environment. A single partition is sufficient. However, it is better to create additional volumes and a separate system volume. Next, attach a VHD to your computer by running Diskpart subcommands like the following:
create vdisk file=VHDFilePath.vhd maximum=MaxSize type=expandableselect vdisk file=VHDFilePath.vhdattach vdisk
The type=expandable option does not really matter; it is included here as an example. The goal is to install Windows 7 on the VHD. Once you’ve done this, the VHD will automatically be expanded to the maximum size. The VHD will then become a fixed VHD. You can also omit this parameter and it will default to the fixed type. You should ensure that you have enough space on your host disk. The operating system will be installed on the VHD. However, the paging files will be kept on the host disk for performance reasons.
Once the VHD is attached, the system treats the VHD as if it were an actual hard disk. You can partition it, format it, and assign it a drive number. ImageX can be used to apply a custom image on the VHD. To perform a clean install of Windows 7, you can simply exit Diskpart and close the Command Prompt window. Next, click Install Now in the initial Install Windows screen. When prompted, indicate that Windows 7 is to installed on the VHD-representative disk. It is possible to get a message that the selected disk isn’t suitable for installation. However, it is best to ignore this message. Click Next to let Windows Setup take care of the rest. It will format the boot volume on the VHD and install Windows 7.
Let’s try a different approach. Let’s say you have created a Windows 7 image from scratch and saved it as a Windows Imaging Format file (WIM). Now you want it to be used in a native-boot situation on a new computer. Start WinPE and create a VHD. Attach it the same way as before. The attached VHD is treated in Diskpart like any other disk. You can create a volume on it, format it, assign it a drive number, and just as with any other disk. ImageX will then apply the WIM image to your VHD. Next, configure the system volume on your host disk to allow the computer to boot from the new image on the VHD. You may have read our previous blog posts. You know that the Bcdboot can copy the boot code to a system volume. If necessary, you can also use the Bcdedit to adjust Boot Configuration Data (BCD). All details can be found in Microsoft TechNet Library at this Web site: Virtual Hard Disks Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
After you have installed Windows 7, it is possible to customize it by adding additional applications and setting up any settings. Depending on your goals, you have two options: either modify the installation using the Sysprep utility or leave it as is. Continue

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