You may have come across hundreds of guides on the Internet that tell you how to boot Windows 7 and Windows 8 from a VHD. The VHD boot feature in Windows 7 and Windows 8 comes in handy when you want to test drive a new Windows OS without actually partitioning your hard disk.
All guides available on the Internet requires you to take the help of Command Prompt to create a VHD and then install Windows 7 or Windows 8 on it. As most of Windows 7 users are not familiar with Command Prompt here is our solution to install Windows 8 on VHD and then dual boot it with Windows 7 without using Command Prompt.
NOTE: We assume that you trying to install Windows 8 on a working Windows 7 PC.
In this guide, we will show you how to create a Windows 8 VHD without actually installing Windows 8! Confused? Well, if you follow our this guide, you won’t need to go through typical Windows installation steps. Follow our step-by-step procedure given below to create a Windows 8 VHD and then use it to dual boot with Windows 7.
Step 1: Switch on your PC and boot into Windows 7. Begin the actual procedure by downloading PWBoot software from here. It’s a small software that actually helps you install Windows 7/8 on a USB. As we are here to create a Windows 8 VHD, we will use a feature available in PWBOOT tool to directly install Windows 8 on to a VHD without going through the typical Windows installation steps.
Step 2: To begin installing Windows 8 on a VHD, you will need to download Windows 8 ISO file from Microsoft using these direct links. As we need to browse to the Install.wim file (located under Source folder of Windows 8 ISO) in the next step, we need to mount the ISO using any third-party software. Please check our how to mount an ISO file in Windows 7 guide to learn how mount the downloaded ISO file.
Step 3: Run PWBoot. Select Install Windows option and click Next button. In the following screen, you need to browse to the install.wim file. This file is located under Sources folder of Windows 8 ISO file. Simply mount the ISO file by following our how to mount ISO file guide and then go to Sources folder to select install.wim file.
Select Windows image as Windows Developer Preview or your Windows 8 OS edition name. Click Next button to continue.
Step 4: In this step, you need to select Virtual hard disk (VHD) image option. Once selected, click Next button to proceed to the next step.
Step 5: Here, use the browse button to browse a location to save your new VHD file and set the VHD file size. Create a VHD with a minimum of 15 GB.
Click Next button.
Step 6: In the following screen, you will be asked to select system boot volume. Select your current Windows 7 drive as the boot volume (expand the drop-down menu to see all volumes) and click Install button to begin installing Windows 8 on the newly created VHD.
Step 7: Once done, download and install EasyBCD from here. Run the software, click on Add New Entry button. Under Portable/External Media section, you will see Disk Image tab. Under Disk Image tab, select Type as Microsoft VHD, enter a name (for example: Windows 8), use the browse button next to Path to browse to the Windows VHD that you have created in the above steps.
Click Add entry. That’s it! You are done. Reboot your PC, select Windows 8 entry (or any other name that you have entered in step 9) to see Windows 8 personalization screen. Enter a name for your PC, create a user account and then follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup.
Let’s us know if you have any difficulties in following this guide.
NOTE: We have tested this tool on Windows 8 and can confirm that it works without any issues.