Use a VHD boot image that works to load the OS backup VHD in Hyper-V (works…..at last!!!)

From all the methods I tried over the last few days I had learnt enough about how windows boots to combine them all into a working solution to get it work….Some of you will probably be think by now “Why bother…?” Well yes, I wish I knew all this at the beginning, if I did I wouldn’t have bothered.

I already had a VM set up and working and as mentioned above these installs are just one VHD that contains the two partitions. All I had to do now was attach the OS VHD as second disk for my VM (forget about the boot VHD cause it doesn’t work in the VM) and use bcdboot (method 3) in the Windows RE environment. Remember when I said bcdboot is a fantastic tool?? Well here is why. I then ran it on Windows RE of the VM and pointed it to windows folder on the (now new) OS VHD. This then built the relevent boot entries so the boot loader knew where to locate my Win 7 OS installation. Now we have a working boot image/loader, a working OS image and removed the hardware limitation problem. In theory it should work, fingers crossed… After a reboot hey presto it boots up and it is now working.

Conclusion

It was a real nightmare getting it to work and truth be told I wouldn’t do it again. But in the process I learnt a hell of a lot about how Windows works when it boots up. Do yourself a favour and just re-install your OS and don’t try any other method. Believe me I tried them all and some of my own. If however you absolutely must have your OS back up and running exactly as it was then this is an alternative. Some things like lost licenses for software, cached passwords, certificates and other things you simply can’t get back by doing a re-install.

For businesses however this is a very good viable solution. Businesses are likely to be backing up their servers (as all this applies to Windows 2008 as well) so there is the VHD already created you need and they may also have a Hyper-V server. It may be critical to get a server back up and running as fast as possible and this also allows you then to take your time building a new server and OS and migrate everything across in a controlled manner.

All you need to do is Method 6 which is actually quite fast if you have a recent full backup and a Hyper-V server already available.

I documented all my failed methods to save you looking all over the net for alternatives and save you the pain I went through trying them yourself. As already mentioned it allowed me to learn a lot about how the Windows 7/2008 bootup process works and how to troubleshoot it. If you have read all of the article then you too should now be a little bit more familiar with it.

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