[How to] Test the new Windows 10 Technical Preview via Boot to VHD

Discussion in 'Windows 10 Forum' started by MrElectrifyer, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. MrElectrifyer

    MrElectrifyer Member

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    [​IMG]
    First off, you'll need the following prerequisites:
    - A tech enthusiast mindset

    - A system that meets the Windows 10 Technical Preview minimum requirements:
    o Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
    o RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
    o Free hard disk space: 16 GB
    o Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver​
    For the sake of putting it into perspective of how backwards compatible Windows 10 is, my 2007 pre-built Gateway desktop, which came with XP, meets these minimum system requirements (never upgraded its parts).

    - A partition that is NOT BitLocker Encrypted. If you want to have the VHD in your main C:/ drive, it should NOT be BitLocker Encrypted, otherwise, you’ll keep getting an error message saying something is wrong with your computer whenever you attempt booting from the VHD.

    - Windows 10 Technical Preview ISO (duh), officially available here.

    - If you’re running any version of Windows earlier than Windows 8, you’ll require a standalone ISO virtual disc drive application, like Free ISO Mount, officially available here.

    - GImageX (an ImageX GUI), officially available here.

    Now perform the following 10 steps, including their sub-steps where applicable:
    1.) If you’re running any version of Windows earlier than Windows 8, install Free ISO Mount (or your heart desired ISO virtual disc drive application).

    2.) Create a VHD by carrying out the following sub-steps
    a. Open the “Run” dialog by pressing Win+R, type in “diskmgmt.msc” (A) and click the “OK” button (B); the “Disk Management” GUI will pop-up.
    Testing Windows 10 (Launching Disk Management).png

    b. Click the “Action” menu (A) and select “Create VHD” (B); the “Create and Attach Virtual Hard Disk” GUI will pop-up.
    Testing Windows 10 (Launching VHD Creator, Cropped).png

    c. Browse to the location you want to store the VHD at (A), enter an appropriate VHD size in MB/GB (B, I entered 30 GB = 30720 MB), select “VHD” format (C), select “Fixed size (Recommended)” VHD type (D), and click the “OK” button (E); the unallocated VHD will be created.
    Testing Windows 10 (Creating VHD).png
    3.) Initialize the VHD by carrying out the following sub-steps
    a. Scroll down to your newly created VHD (it’ll be completely “Unallocated”), right-click on the “Disk #” info to the left (A), select “Initialize Disk” (B); the “Initialize Disk” GUI will pop-up.
    Testing Windows 10 (Launching Disk Initializer).png

    b. Select the “MBR (Master Boot Record)” partition style (A), click the “OK” button (B); the VHD will be initialized.
    Testing Windows 10 (Initializing VHD).png
    4.) Format the VHD by carrying out the following sub-steps
    a. Right-click on the “Unallocated” black bar to the right of your VHD’s “Disk #” info (A), select “New Simple Volume…” (B); the “New Simple Volume Wizard” GUI will pop-up.
    Testing Windows 10 (Launching New Simple Volume Wizard).png

    b. Click “Next”, confirm that you’re formatting the entire available disk space and click “Next”. Assign your VHD a desired drive letter, keep note of it (I used T), and click “Next”. Ensure you’re formatting your VHD volume to the “NTFS” file system (A), give your VHD a volume label (B, I used Windows X), ensure the “Perform quick format” checkbox is checked (C), and click the “Next” button. Click “Finish”, and your VHD will be formatted, now you can close the “Disk Management” window.
    Testing Windows 10 (Formatting VHD).png
    5.) Mount the Windows 10 Technical Preview ISO to a virtual disc drive; simply double-click on it in File Explorer on Windows 8 and later, or use the appropriate steps of the virtual disc drive application you installed during step 1.) above. Regardless how you do it, you should be able to see the contents of the ISO file as shown below. Note the drive letter of the virtual disc drive (A, in my case, it’s D)
    Testing Windows 10 (Mounting Technical Preview ISO).png

    6.) Extract the contents of the downloaded GImageX zip file from the prerequisites and launch the appropriate version of GImageX (depending on your OS bit version, in my case, the x64 version); the GImageX v2 GUI should pop-up.

    7.) Determine and keep note of the index # of the Windows 10 Technical Preview image you want by carrying out the following sub-steps
    a. In the GImageX v2 GUI, click the “Info” tab (A), click the “Browse…” button (B), navigate to the “<Virtual Disc Drive’s Drive Letter from Step 5.) Above>\sources” directory (C), open the “install.wim” file (D), and click the “Get Info” button (E); the GImageX v2 GUI would display a list of image indexes in the ISO.
    Testing Windows 10 (Opening install.wim File to Determine Desired Image Index).png

    b. Keep note of the image index of the Windows 10 Technical Preview image you want (A), in my case, I wanted the “Professional” version (B), so, I kept note of Image Index: 1.
    Testing Windows 10 (Keeping Note of Desired Image Index).png
    8.) Apply the Windows 10 Technical Preview image to your VHD by carrying out the following sub-steps
    a. In the GImageX v2 GUI, click the “Apply” tab (A), click the “Browse…” button besides the “Source” text-box (B), navigate to the “<Virtual Disc Drive’s Drive Letter from Step 5.) Above>\sources” directory (C), and open the “install.wim” file (D).
    [​IMG]

    b. Click the “Browse…” button besides the “Destination” text-box (A), select your VHD file at the desired drive letter you used in step 4b.) above (B, remember I used T), click OK (C), select the image index of the Windows 10 Technical Preview image you kept note of in step 7b.) above (D, remember I kept note of Image Index: 1) and click the “Apply” button (E); GImageX would begin applying the Windows 10 Technical Preview image to your VHD…be patient, took 5m33s to apply it in my case...once complete, click the “Close” button and exit the GImageX GUI.
    [​IMG]
    9.) Make your VHD file bootable by performing the following sub-steps
    a. Open an administrative command prompt by searching in your start menu/screen for “Command Prompt”, right-click it and select “Run as administrator”.

    b. In the command prompt, type in the following command, replacing T with the desired drive letter you used in step 4b.) above, and hit Enter:
    c:\Windows\system32\bcdboot T:\Windows
    Once the command finishes running, you should get the following message:
    Boot files successfully created.

    c. The above command also sets your VHD to be the default boot source. If you like that, skip to step 10.) below. Otherwise, to change that, type “msconfig” without the quotes and hit Enter; the “System Configuration” GUI will pop-up.

    d. Click the “Boot” tab (A), select the OS entry which you want to make the default (B), click the “Set as default” button (C), and click the “OK” button (D).
    [​IMG]
    10.) Vuala, you can now close everything, restart, and boot into the Windows 10 Technical Preview and try it out, all from on a VHD file. Whenever you’re done, simply boot back into Windows 8.1/8/7 (whichever you originally had as your OS) and delete the VHD file from your SSD/HDD to regain the space :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014
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  2. leeshor

    leeshor Well-Known Member

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    Nicely done. Making this a temporary sticky.
     
  3. razy60

    razy60 Member

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    Had a bit of disaster whilst doing this, I got it all loaded except the wifi drivers when I went to reboot I got a blue screen with a error 0xc000000f, trying to recover was a pain literally pressing those damn button's is awkward at best. Not sure what went wrong but things that were different was I had a partition that was unencrypted called E which is where I was installing Windows 10 as well as a C drive that was encrypted with bitlocker, I think that the C drive some how caused the problem or the fact that I had no network connection.
    Any ideas any one? May try again later on the surface but for now I will leave it probably going to try it out on my Acer laptop though as that although newish is a lot easier to recover from errors.
     
  4. MrElectrifyer

    MrElectrifyer Member

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    Presuming you're attempting this on a Surface Pro (as you didn't specify). During initial setup, were you shown the Windows 10 Technical Preview agreement with a Surface logo at the upper right corner? This is an indication of the OS detecting your Surface hardware and preparing the appropriate drivers for your hardware (like it did on my Surface Pro 2). Only driver problem I had was that the video driver seemed to initially be just the generic Windows driver (or some outdated driver), 'cause it was making the start-screen animations laggy. However, after about 3 minutes of living my Surface Pro connected to the internet, Windows had done some background driver updating and everything was running smooth. After that, no driver problems.

    Did you get this error when you selected the VHD from the list of boot entries, or when you selected your main Windows 8.1 installation from the list of boot entries?

    Uhm, what buttons are you referring to? You should always be able to boot into your main Windows 8.1 installation (presuming you carefully followed the instructions) no matter what happens to the VHD...

    Hmm, try decrypting your C: drive and attempt booting from the VHD again...might be mandatory to have access to the main Windows installation files, but then that contradicts Microsoft's claim of being able to have the OS on the VHD file as the only OS on the computer.
     
  5. razy60

    razy60 Member

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    1; Sorry should have said, It's a Surface Pro3, I don't recall seeing a surface logo, when I checked hardware manager there were a number of drivers missing the most important being the WiFi driver.

    2; The error showed up as soon as I rebooted after that I could not it to boot into any OS, no matter what, I eventually managed to do a reset back to factory.

    3; On the pro3 to get to either the bios or a choices screen you press volume up and power or volume down and power.

    4; I could not get into any OS so I'm leaning towards the fact that having a bitlocker encrypted drive and a non encrypted drive is not possible. What I may do is decrypt C: try the VHD install there not in a separate partition, but make sure I have the appropriate drivers in a accessible folder. As for Microsoft's claim I don't think having it as the only OS is possible as surely to run a VHD you need a main OS. To run it as a dual boot then it doesn't matter.
     
  6. MrElectrifyer

    MrElectrifyer Member

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    Oh, seems like some system files were deleted along the way. According to this Windows forum, such error is 'caused by missing system files and could have been fixed if you have a system repair drive. I'm going to create a separate partition on my pro 2, move my VHD there, encrypt my C: drive and attempt reproducing your situation (but following the rules carefully).

    Will update this post with results.
     
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  7. razy60

    razy60 Member

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    I have a system repair drive on USB, when i managed to do the reinstall it was from the recovery partition because when I tried to use the USB it kept showing the error message.
     
  8. razy60

    razy60 Member

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    Just to let you know got Win 10 up and running in VHD, just copied your set up exactly, no extra partition and bitlocker is off. got the drivers from a USB and all installed fine all the updates installed and so far no problems apart from a few apps ect. that are not compatible but that's more the developers than anything else.
    Just found one issue the pen whilst working in various apps/programs it doesn't open Onenote or do the double click screen grab.
     
  9. MrElectrifyer

    MrElectrifyer Member

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    Sorry for the late response. So, I finally had the time to restart and reproduce your situation, but it turns out, it actually does boot on my Surface Pro 2 (as originally expected). Here's what I did:
    1. I deleted the VHD boot entry (used a portable application called BellaVista)
    2. Used EaseUs Partition master to create a 31GB (1GB larger than my VHD file) partition (this required a reboot, so, got delayed as I was in the middle of some other stuff)
    3. After a reboot (back into Windows 8.1.1 Pro) and EaseUs Partition master successfully creating the 31GB partition, I moved my VHD file (the same 30GB one I was initially booting of off in my C drive) to the new partition (ps. it was also assigned drive letter E ;)).
    4. Mounted the VHD in File Explorer (it was still the drive T: I initially assigned it)
    5. Repeated step 9.) above
    6. Encrypted my Windows 8.1.1 Pro main partition
    7. Rebooted, and selected Windows 10 Technical Preview from the boot list
    8. Everything still works as I left them and as shown in the following image, it's in the same setup you originally had (except Windows 10 assigned the separate decrypted partition a drive letter F)
    Testing Windows 10 (VHD in Separate Decrypted Partition).png
    Conclusion, you made a slight mistake along the way. Glad you figured it out and got it working :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014
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  10. razy60

    razy60 Member

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    Thanks for trying to recreate what I did, not exactly sure what went wrong first time round but all good now.
     
  11. razy60

    razy60 Member

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    Any idea how to update to latest build short of reinstalling. been looking but no luck so far
     
  12. MrElectrifyer

    MrElectrifyer Member

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    Huh? Wasn't aware there's a new build :p Either ways, to get the new build, you go to PC Settings > Update and recovery > Preview builds, and click the "Check Now" button to go get the latest build.

    Really really liking the new features thus far :)
     

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