My experience with Microsoft technology

My experience with Microsoft technology

Windows 8 Developer Preview: Dual Boot with Windows 7 Enterprise (Bitlocker enabled) inside a VHD on a Dell E6510

with 2 comments


today I finally found the time to write down my experience installing Windows 8 on my notebook. There are already some posts on how to dual boot or how to install Windows 8 inside a VHD. It first I was reluctant to write this post because of this but I just want to describe my approach for a scenario which might be quite common for IT professionals.

The scenario:

You have a working dual boot configuration. One is your private and one your business installation. The business installation is encrypted using Bitlocker. Now you want to replace your private system to built up your Windows 8 skills without endangering your productivity or the customer environment with using pre-beta versions of an operating system (you should not even think about this with beta or RC versions!).

My approach:

First I made a backup of both systems and my data partition (just in case) as well as all application settings and data I needed to migrate. Afterwards I backed up the boot loader configuration for the case the setup is messing it up. You can export the boot loader configuration with the command: “bcdedit /export <path>”

After that I suspended Bitlocker. This is important otherwise you will be asked to put in your Bitlocker Recovery Key each time you boot the protected system.

Next I formatted the partition where my private system was running and created a VHD. I have chosen fixed size because when you native boot from a VHD during Startup the VHD is expanded to it’s full size anyway ( ).



Now I deleted the orphaned entry in my boot config. You can list you boot config with “bcdedit /enum”. You can delete an entry using “bcdedit /delete {ID}”:



After rebooting my business system just to make sure I’m still able to boot I went on installing Windows 8 into the VHD using a DVD (I know, I know how low tech of me 😀 ) following this post: Hanselman.

Everything worked like a charm :-).


The post install configuration

Another reason for writing this post was that I noticed some small things I have not read before.

By default windows 8 will set itself as default operating system what results in getting the new boot manager



Everything cool so far but when I now start Windows 7 it cold boots the machine again (which takes ~10 seconds with this crappy bios) presenting me with the “old” boot manager. Old? Not quite correct. I had to look twice but it is actually the new boot manager with the old black and white style. I noticed because now there is an option on the Bitlocker pin screen to go back to the operating system selection using the F11 key. This is great I cannot count how often I had to cold boot my machine because I did something else because I was to impatient to wait for the stupid bios and not returning in time to choose the private operating system. Anyway setting the default OS to Windows 7 you get always the old looking boot manager and can start Windows 7 as well as Windows 8 without cold booting twice.


After installing the display driver (see compatibility section later) I was curious about the performance index. Unfortunately this is not working when booting from a vhd:



Because I decided to install windows in a VHD I faced two problems. First Windows notifed about my full hard disk (the one the VHD resides on) ok so what. To disable that you have to change the registry follwing this post.

Second I was using some applications like my instant messaging client from both systems. Because the business system is encrypted they are installed in the private on. As this one is now inside a VHD the files can’t be read when I boot the business system. As a small workaround I created an auto-attach script following this. I’m running the script as a startup script like this.


Application compatability

NVidia display driver 280.26 working

Office 2010 working

Firefox partly working (facebook shows always the mobile version) 3.5.8 working

7 Zip 9.20 working

Foxit Reader 5.0 working (there were two errors during the browser plug-in installation but I’m not displaysing PDFs in the browser)

True Crypt 7.1 working

BlogDesk not working:





P.S. Visit my blog over on SystemCenterCentral for System Center related posts.


Written by alexanderschmitt

27. September 2011 at 21:24

Posted in Windows 8

2 Responses

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  1. What do I do if I didn’t suspend BitLocker and am being asked for my recovery key each time I reboot to Windows 7?


    2. April 2012 at 00:15

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