Native Boot Windows Server 2008 R2 from VHD

As I developer I am interested to squeeze the most performance out of my development environment. I was so relieved when Windows 7 was introduced supporting booting from VHD files. So instead from running my development environment from a VHD file via Virtual PC 2007 I can boot the VHD directly.

I am using Windows 7 as ‘host’ operating system and followed these steps to install the 2008 R2 on a VHD:

  1. Create a VHD file in disk manager, initialize and format it
  2. Download the Windows AIK from
  3. Follow the instructions here to install 2008 R2 on the VHD and add it to the Windows 7 boot menu:

The whole procedure takes about 15 minutes. Than you can boot the 2008 R2 and install you applications. Pretty cool.