Solved Finally! Upgrading Windows in native boot VHD just got easier


Kari

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When the Windows Insider Program was started on October 1st, 2014, I immediately decided to run only Fast Ring (later renamed as Dev Channel) builds. I was not interested in current Windows 10, later Windows 11 builds, I simply wanted to know what is coming up, how the future of Windows looks.

I haven't regretted my decision..

Since that, I've only run public releases of Windows 10 and 11 on occasional virtual machines. Since October 2014, all my real, physical machines have been on Fast Ring / Dev Channel.

On each machine, I have the same setup. Dev Channel UK English Windows installed as first, main OS, then Finnish, Swedish, German, and sometimes French versions installed on native boot VHD files for multiboot. As the VHDs are stored on an SSD, they work exactly as fast as if they were real physical installations.

Only issue with Windows on native boot VHDs was, that you could not upgrade them. Update, yes, upgrade, no:

VHD no upgrade.JPG

Screenshot from my tutorial on our sister site Ten Forums: Native boot Virtual Hard Disk - How to upgrade Windows

Today, I simply forgot that I am on native boot VHD, in Finnish Windows 11 Dev Channel build 25120. I just started the upgrade to build 25126. Upgrade was fast, and only when it was done, I realized that I had just run Windows upgrade on a VHD!

I jumped up, screamed "Oh f**k". I realized, that I had just seen something I had always wanted, but never thought to be possible.

I have now tested this on other language versions of Windows 11 Dev Channel builds. Long story short: it is now possible to upgrade Windows 11 on a native boot VHD.

I repeat: It is now possible to upgrade Windows 11 on a native boot VHD!

Kari
 

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jimbo45

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When the Windows Insider Program was started on October 1st, 2014, I immediately decided to run only Fast Ring (later renamed as Dev Channel) builds. I was not interested in current Windows 10, later Windows 11 builds, I simply wanted to know what is coming up, how the future of Windows looks.

I haven't regretted my decision..

Since that, I've only run public releases of Windows 10 and 11 on occasional virtual machines. Since October 2014, all my real, physical machines have been on Fast Ring / Dev Channel.

On each machine, I have the same setup. Dev Channel UK English Windows installed as first, main OS, then Finnish, Swedish, German, and sometimes French versions installed on native boot VHD files for multiboot. As the VHDs are stored on an SSD, they work exactly as fast as if they were real physical installations.

Only issue with Windows on native boot VHDs was, that you could not upgrade them. Update, yes, upgrade, no:

View attachment 30283

Screenshot from my tutorial on our sister site Ten Forums: Native boot Virtual Hard Disk - How to upgrade Windows

Today, I simply forgot that I am on native boot VHD, in Finnish Windows 11 Dev Channel build 25120. I just started the upgrade to build 25126. Upgrade was fast, and only when it was done, I realized that I had just run Windows upgrade on a VHD!

I jumped up, screamed "Oh f**k". I realized, that I had just seen something I had always wanted, but never thought to be possible.

I have now tested this on other language versions of Windows 11 Dev Channel builds. Long story short: it is now possible to upgrade Windows 11 on a native boot VHD.

I repeat: It is now possible to upgrade Windows 11 on a native boot VHD!

Kari
Hi there
I haven't had the problem for a long time now - I use vhdx files - and even Linux can be booted from the Windows boot menu without having to go into the hardware Bios boot.

I think though there's a restriction if you have W11 installed on an external USB device as a "Windows to Go" type of system but no problem on standard internal disk.

I only ever install Windows on physical vhdx files now or as VMs. One EFI file is sufficient - rest of disk one big ntfs partition for as many vhdx files I want, vhdx files are attached as single mbr ntfs partition "disks" and for each Windows just install the boot loader to the common single EFI file at the start of the disk. If you have linux too install the Grub bootloader to the efi partition as well to get the choice added to the Windows boot menu. As you say on an internal SSD / Nvme there's no performance penalty to pay for using these. (I preassign the size with create vdisk file=xxxx.vhdx maximum=yyyy type=fixed) but you can have "expanding" size if you need. I prefer the fixed sizes ats its easier to manage, and backup / restore etc).


Here I've got Icelandic ver of W11 updated to build 25126 from build 22x... -- no probs on vhdx file (native boot)

Skjámynd 2022-05-29 130323.png


Skjámynd 2022-05-29 104530.png

Skjámynd 2022-05-29 104212.png

cheers
jimbo
 
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Kari

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Hi there
I haven't had the problem for a long time now - I use vhdx files - and even Linux can be booted from the Windows boot menu without having togo into the hardware Bios boot.
Jimbo, only a few weeks ago, I had to use my native boot VHD files as existing VHDs on a Hyper-V VM, to get them upgraded.

Now, it is OK to boot to native boot VHD and upgrade it. This change is quite recent.

Kari
 

My Computers

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    6 GB
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    Windows 11 PRO x64 Dev Channel
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    HP HP ProBook 470 G5
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    Intel Core i7-8550U
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    HP 837F KBC Version 02.3D.00
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    16 GB
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    Intel(R) UHD Graphics 620 & NVIDIA GeForce 930MX
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jimbo45

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Jimbo, only a few weeks ago, I had to use my native boot VHD files as existing VHDs on a Hyper-V VM, to get them upgraded.

Now, it is OK to boot to native boot VHD and upgrade it. This change is quite recent.

Kari
Hi there
just seems to me that its been working for a while now -- certainly upgrading build 22xxxx to 25120 and then 25126.

Anyway the good news is that it works and should have been done ages ago as it was always a bit messy updating in a VM and doing a Virtual to Physical conversion to get it on real hardware.

cheers
jimbo
 

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cereberus

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When the Windows Insider Program was started on October 1st, 2014, I immediately decided to run only Fast Ring (later renamed as Dev Channel) builds. I was not interested in current Windows 10, later Windows 11 builds, I simply wanted to know what is coming up, how the future of Windows looks.

I haven't regretted my decision..

Since that, I've only run public releases of Windows 10 and 11 on occasional virtual machines. Since October 2014, all my real, physical machines have been on Fast Ring / Dev Channel.

On each machine, I have the same setup. Dev Channel UK English Windows installed as first, main OS, then Finnish, Swedish, German, and sometimes French versions installed on native boot VHD files for multiboot. As the VHDs are stored on an SSD, they work exactly as fast as if they were real physical installations.

Only issue with Windows on native boot VHDs was, that you could not upgrade them. Update, yes, upgrade, no:

View attachment 30283

Screenshot from my tutorial on our sister site Ten Forums: Native boot Virtual Hard Disk - How to upgrade Windows

Today, I simply forgot that I am on native boot VHD, in Finnish Windows 11 Dev Channel build 25120. I just started the upgrade to build 25126. Upgrade was fast, and only when it was done, I realized that I had just run Windows upgrade on a VHD!

I jumped up, screamed "Oh f**k". I realized, that I had just seen something I had always wanted, but never thought to be possible.

I have now tested this on other language versions of Windows 11 Dev Channel builds. Long story short: it is now possible to upgrade Windows 11 on a native boot VHD.

I repeat: It is now possible to upgrade Windows 11 on a native boot VHD!

Kari
It has been like this for a while but yeah - long overdue.
 

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Kari

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It has been like this for a while but yeah - long overdue.
I've never noticed it. Have you an idea about how long it has been like this?
 

My Computers

System One System Two

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    Windows 11 PRO x64 Dev
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    Hyper-V Virtual Machine (host in System 2 specs)
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    Intel Core i7-8550U
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    6 GB
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    Microsoft Hyper-V Video
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    Laptop display (17.1") & Samsung U28E590 (27.7")
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    Windows 11 PRO x64 Dev Channel
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    Manufacturer/Model
    HP HP ProBook 470 G5
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-8550U
    Motherboard
    HP 837F KBC Version 02.3D.00
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    16 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel(R) UHD Graphics 620 & NVIDIA GeForce 930MX
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    Conexant ISST Audio
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    Laptop display (17.1") & Samsung U28E590 (27.7")
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cereberus

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I've never noticed it. Have you an idea about how long it has been like this?
I noticed a few weeks ago but like you more by accident.

I think this only applies to W11 but until we get a build upgrade on W10 (if ever?) we cannot say for sure.

Now upgrading works directly, I have all three Insider versions of W11 as multi native boot vhdx files.

I have done some tests and there is a performance loss with native vhdx but not as much as running in a vm.

Somebody here explained it was because my host OS (not vhdx) has direct memory access to storage but motive boot has to interface through Windows i.e. it has more work to do. However, the pluses outweigh the slight performance loss.

I have observed a strange issue with differencing files - if you had a build as the parent vhdx, and you get a cumulative upgrade, all is fine i.e. child vhdx is much smaller than parent.

However, if you get a build upgrade, the child differencing file (even after disk cleanup) was larger than original parent file. I know in part that os because the whole OS changes, but not all my apps.

Maybe when the differences are too big, gives up the ghost and just does a full install in child diff file?
 

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    Yep, Laptop has one.
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    16 GB
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Kari

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I know for sure, that mid April, I was not able to upgrade Windows 11 on a native boot VHD. I was forced to boot to a physical installation, and upgrade VHD on a Hyper-V VM.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 PRO x64 Dev
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    Hyper-V Virtual Machine (host in System 2 specs)
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-8550U
    Memory
    6 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Microsoft Hyper-V Video
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Laptop display (17.1") & Samsung U28E590 (27.7")
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 PRO x64 Dev Channel
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP HP ProBook 470 G5
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-8550U
    Motherboard
    HP 837F KBC Version 02.3D.00
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel(R) UHD Graphics 620 & NVIDIA GeForce 930MX
    Sound Card
    Conexant ISST Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Laptop display (17.1") & Samsung U28E590 (27.7")
    Hard Drives
    128 GB SSD & 1 TB HDD
    Mouse
    Wireless Logitech MSX mouse
    Keyboard
    Wireless Logitech MK710 keyboard
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    100 Mbps down, 20 Mbps up
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    6 TB WD Mirror NAS

cereberus

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I know for sure, that mid April, I was not able to upgrade Windows 11 on a native boot VHD. I was forced to boot to a physical installation, and upgrade VHD on a Hyper-V VM.
That sounds about right but I think you could do it a bit earlier but was not consistent. I may be suffering grey matter issues but I seem to recall it worked a few builds back, but next build it did not (perhaps they were experimenting behind the scenes).

However it certainly works on Dev/Beta builds, and I also updated an RP build to Beta, so I am confident this change is permanent now but you never know until the circumferentially challenged, non gender specific person sings or mimes as appropriate.
 

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    ASUS Vivobook 14
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    Yep, Laptop has one.
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    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
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    1920x1080
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    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
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jimbo45

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That sounds about right but I think you could do it a bit earlier but was not consistent. I may be suffering grey matter issues but I seem to recall it worked a few builds back, but next build it did not (perhaps they were experimenting behind the scenes).

However it certainly works on Dev/Beta builds, and I also updated an RP build to Beta, so I am confident this change is permanent now but you never know until the circumferentially challenged, non gender specific person sings or mimes as appropriate.

Works on W10 as well on upgrade to new build -- installed W10 ver 21H1 1736 from an old build

Posted Finally! Upgrading Windows in native boot VHD just got easier

Cheers
jimbo
 

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cereberus

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Works on W10 as well on upgrade to new build -- installed W10 ver 21H1 1736 from an old build

Posted Finally! Upgrading Windows in native boot VHD just got easier

Cheers
jimbo
@Kari, @jimbo45

I can confirm this works on old versions of W10 as well - installed W10 2004 in a native booting vhdx, and it upgraded to W10 21H1 with no problems. So something has changed on server side in Windows update mechanism to allow native boot vhdx files to be upgraded directly.

Strange thing is you would have thought MS would have highlighted this as a new feature but not a dicky sausage!
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    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 :-(
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Bree

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Today, I simply forgot that I am on native boot VHD, in Finnish Windows 11 Dev Channel build 25120. I just started the upgrade to build 25126. Upgrade was fast, and only when it was done, I realized that I had just run Windows upgrade on a VHD!
Yes, great news isn't it? :thumbsup:

I found out a few builds ago: "I had put a vhdx of 22593 on a little 2-in-1 convertible Lenovo Yoga 11e so that I could play with test the tablet optimised taskbar. When Windows Update offered the 22598 build I let it install, just to see what would happen. What happened was a completely normal and successful feature update...." It's running 22621.1 now.
 

My Computers

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    Windows 11 Home
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    Laptop
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    Acer Aspire 3 A315-23
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    AMD Athlon Silver 3050U
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    8GB
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    Radeon Graphics
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    1366x768 native resolution, up to 2560x1440 with Radeon Virtual Super Resolution
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    1TB HDD
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    fully 'Windows 11 ready' laptop. Windows 10 C: partition migrated from my old unsupported 'main machine' then upgraded to 11. A test migration ran Insider builds for 2 months. When 11 was released on 5th October it was re-imaged back to 10 and was offered the upgrade in Windows Update on 20th October.


    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.
  • Operating System
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    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Lattitude E4310
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    i5 M 520
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    0T6M8G
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    4GB
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    500GB HDD
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    unsupported machine: Legacy bios, MBR, TPM 1.2, upgraded from W10 to W11 using W10/W11 hybrid install media workaround.


    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.

jimbo45

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Yes, great news isn't it? :thumbsup:

I found out a few builds ago: "I had put a vhdx of 22593 on a little 2-in-1 convertible Lenovo Yoga 11e so that I could play with test the tablet optimised taskbar. When Windows Update offered the 22598 build I let it install, just to see what would happen. What happened was a completely normal and successful feature update...." It's running 22621.1 now.
Hi there
what is brilliant about this is that you can have several different versions of Windows (including different languages) on a single hard disk with just one common efi file and the rest of the disk just a single ntfs partition containing just vhdx files of the windows system(s). To add them to the single boot menu just (one time) select the vhdx virtual disk, attach it and then add the install to the boot manager via bcdboot.

What's more they are all activated with a digital license. It's also easy for testing different Windows versions etc on actual real hardware.

You can also expand this to a Virtual machine - create the basic "Virtual machine" disk in the same way you created the physical disk layout, Copy the "Physical Windows systems" (just the main ntfs partitions from the physical disks) to an external usb device via Macrium etc or just the vhdx files ). Then restore the installs to the VM disk - easiest is to boot a winpe system within the VM and copy the vhdx files you cloned from the physical disk, Then boot the vm with a W11 install iso, and apply the bootloader to each of the windows systems.

Boot each in turn (within the VM) to update the odd driver - usually it's the video driver that needs updating as most VM systems will have a better video driver than the basic Ms one which will be the default and then it;s fine -- your VM boot menu will be a replica of your "physical one) with all the windows systems activated. As these will then have more native drivers they will run better than fully "paravirtualised" systems !!.

Skjámynd 2022-05-30 231558.png

The only disadvantage when running a virtual machine in this way is that you won't be able to run them concurrently -- for that you'll need to install windows in the classic way on separate partitions.

E.g from a single Virtual Machine I can choose here W10 or W11 as the boot system

Screenshot_20220530_230340.png

This stuff gives a load of possibilities

Cheers
jimbo
 
Last edited:

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