Virtualization Create Windows 11 Virtual Hard Disk (VHDX) at Boot to Native Boot

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Native Boot allows you to create a virtual hard disk (VHDX), install Windows to it, and then boot it up, either on your PC side-by-side with your existing installation, or on a new device.

A native-boot VHDX can be used as the running operating system on designated hardware without any other parent operating system. This differs from a scenario where a VHDX is connected to a virtual machine on a computer that has a parent operating system.

Native boot for Windows 11 requires the .vhdx format, not the .vhd format.

VHDXs can be applied to PCs or devices that have no other installations of Windows, without a virtual machine or hypervisor. (A hypervisor is a layer of software under the operating system that runs virtual computers.) This enables greater flexibility in workload distribution because a single set of tools can be used to manage images for virtual machines and designated hardware.

Windows 11 minimum system requirements:

If you’d like to see if your current PC meets the minimum requirements, download and run the PC Health Check app.


This tutorial will show you how to create a Windows 11 Virtual Hard Disk (VHDX) file at boot and natively boot it to dual boot with Windows 10 or Windows 11 Pro, Education, or Enterprise editions.

You must be signed in as an administrator create a Windows 11 VHDX file, and to setup and Native Boot the Windows 11 VHDX file.


After you have created the Windows 11 VHDX file in this tutorial, you will also be able to Native Boot the VHDX using the method in the tutorial below.

Native Boot Windows 11 Virtual Hard Disk (VHDX)



EXAMPLE: Dual boot Windows 10 with a Native Boot Windows 11 VHDX
Native_boot_Windows11_VHDX.png



Here's How:

1 Boot from a Windows 11 installation USB flash drive on your computer.

2 When you see Windows Setup, press the Shift + F10 keys to open a command prompt at boot. (see screenshot below)

Native_boot_Windows11_at_boot-1.png

3 Type diskpart into the command prompt, and press Enter. (see screenshot below step 4)

4 Make note of the drive letter (ex: "D") you want to create and save the VHDX file at. (see screenshot below)

Native_boot_Windows11_at_boot-2.png

5 Type the command below into the command prompt, and press Enter. (see screenshot below)

create vdisk file="<drive letter>:\<file name>.vhdx" maximum=<size> type=fixed

Substitute <drive letter> in the command above with the actual drive letter (ex: "D") from step 4.

Substitute <file name> in the command above with the name (ex: "Windows11") you want for the VHDX file.

Substitute <size> in the command above with how many MB (1GB = 1024MB) you want the VHDX size to be. Windows 11 requires 64 GB (65536 MB) or larger.

For example: create vdisk file="D:\Windows11.vhdx" maximum=65536 type=fixed



Native_boot_Windows11_at_boot-3.png

6 When creating the VHDX is completed, type attach vdisk into the command prompt, and press Enter. (see screenshot below)

Native_boot_Windows11_at_boot-4.png

7 When attaching the VHDX is completed, type Exit into the command prompt, press Enter, and close the command prompt. (see screenshot below)

Native_boot_Windows11_at_boot-5.png

8 Continue at step 5 in this tutorial (click on link) to clean install Windows 11 to the attached VHDX file. (see screenshot below)

Native_boot_Windows11_at_boot-6.png

9 When you get to step 11 in the clean install tutorial (click on link), select the Unallocated Space that is for the attached VHDX created from step 5.

Native_boot_Windows11_at_boot-7.png

10 When you have finished with the clean install of Windows 11 to the attached VHDX, Windows 11 will be the default OS in your dual boot with the attached Windows 11 VHDX and installed Windows 10 or Windows 11 OS on PC.


That's it,
Shawn Brink


 

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cereberus

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I use vhds a lot but they have one weakness - you cannot do build upgrades (actually not true if the build upgrade is via a cumulative update) when booting from them natively.

The workaround is to load the vhdx in Hyper-V or similar and update in vm. I always install in Hyper-V first so you have the boot files in vhd.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0

Brink

Administrator
Staff member
MVP
Thread Starter
Local time
12:11 PM
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1,339
I use vhds a lot but they have one weakness - you cannot do build upgrades (actually not true if the build upgrade is via a cumulative update) when booting from them natively.

The workaround is to load the vhdx in Hyper-V or similar and update in vm. I always install in Hyper-V first so you have the boot files in vhd.

You should be able to update via Windows Update as usual for the Native Boot VHDX.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self build
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 980 PRO M.2,
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3 wall mounted
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gbps Download and 35 Mbps Upload
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Motorola MB8611 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 2in1
    CPU
    i7-1065G7 3.9 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB LPDDR4-3200
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus
    Sound Card
    Intel SST
    Monitor(s) Displays
    13.3" 4K UWVA AMOLED multitouch
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium

Anibor_11

New member
Local time
12:11 PM
Posts
9
I tried this and it worked well. But the boot menu didn´t appear, Windows 11 became the default, and the system always booted directly from it.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 10
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