Just a query -- Sandbox or multiple vhdx (physical) files


jimbo45

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Local time
1:28 AM
Posts
1,631
Location
Hafnarfjörður IS
OS
Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
Hi folks
Now that it's a doddle to create / update Windows installs on physical vhdx files -won't you get far better performance and an infinitely better testing scenario by using a full Windows install as a vhdx file. Then you can mess around with hardware etc etc - and if it all goes pearshaped simply copy a backup .vhdx file and start again. You don't even need any special backup software - simply save your vhdx files on any hdd / ssd - even external ones.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    2 X Intel i7

cereberus

Well-known member
Pro User
VIP
Local time
2:28 AM
Posts
2,011
OS
Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
Hi folks
Now that it's a doddle to create / update Windows installs on physical vhdx files -won't you get far better performance and an infinitely better testing scenario by using a full Windows install as a vhdx file. Then you can mess around with hardware etc etc - and if it all goes pearshaped simply copy a backup .vhdx file and start again. You don't even need any special backup software - simply save your vhdx files on any hdd / ssd - even external ones.
Well for sure use of native boot vhdx files is now great, especially for Insider versions, but one has to recognise that doing so does not ring fence (sandbox) you from the host OS, and there is a risk the host OS could get corrupted or infected, so as a minimum, the host OS should be backed up using Macrium Reflect or similar.

You are correct that no special software is needed to back up a vhdx file, but I sometimes use the Macriun Reflect Home File and Folder backup tool to backup my vhdx files simply to save space.
 

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 :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0

jimbo45

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Thread Starter
Local time
1:28 AM
Posts
1,631
Location
Hafnarfjörður IS
OS
Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
Well for sure use of native boot vhdx files is now great, especially for Insider versions, but one has to recognise that doing so does not ring fence (sandbox) you from the host OS, and there is a risk the host OS could get corrupted or infected, so as a minimum, the host OS should be backed up using Macrium Reflect or similar.

You are correct that no special software is needed to back up a vhdx file, but I sometimes use the Macriun Reflect Home File and Folder backup tool to backup my vhdx files simply to save space.
Hi there
You actually have to work quite hard at "Breaking" it.

Create one complete disk say with one EFI partition (plus optionally one unformatted msr one 128mb) with the rest of the disk having just VHDX1, VHDX2. VHDX3 files, Now define these vdisks as single ntfs formatted partions (single partitions no efi or boot partitions) ) and install windows to each via dism /Apply-Image and update the bootloader (bcdboot) for all these systems.

Then if you boot say OS "1" you will see "C" (windows running install -- i.e host OS) and a "D" drive which will show the various vhdx files.

If you try and delete the vhdx file you are actually running from then you'll get an error - file in use or equivalent. You can of course delete the other files - or even attach them as vdisks and then delete or muck about with the files within them but the actual "Host" OS itself is pretty secure.

You can break it in the normal way a user can "break" a classical windows OS by corrupting data etc but that's not specific to running Windows from vhdx files rather than the standard way.

The trick is not to do any standard "classical Windows install's" but to have the single boot EFI file and all the windows installs on vhdx files on the rest of the disk / space.

Cheers
jimbo
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    2 X Intel i7

cereberus

Well-known member
Pro User
VIP
Local time
2:28 AM
Posts
2,011
OS
Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
Hi there
You actually have to work quite hard at "Breaking" it.

Create one complete disk say with one EFI partition (plus optionally one unformatted msr one 128mb) with the rest of the disk having just VHDX1, VHDX2. VHDX3 files, Now define these vdisks as single ntfs formatted partions (single partitions no efi or boot partitions) ) and install windows to each via dism /Apply-Image and update the bootloader (bcdboot) for all these systems.

Then if you boot say OS "1" you will see "C" (windows running install -- i.e host OS) and a "D" drive which will show the various vhdx files.

If you try and delete the vhdx file you are actually running from then you'll get an error - file in use or equivalent. You can of course delete the other files - or even attach them as vdisks and then delete or muck about with the files within them but the actual "Host" OS itself is pretty secure.

You can break it in the normal way a user can "break" a classical windows OS by corrupting data etc but that's not specific to running Windows from vhdx files rather than the standard way.

The trick is not to do any standard "classical Windows install's" but to have the single boot EFI file and all the windows installs on vhdx files on the rest of the disk / space.

Cheers
jimbo
Nope - you personally have to work hard maybe, but do not underestimate of people to mangle stuff inadvertently. Also who knows what damage can be caused by getting some malware.

I used to know a lass who had an uncanny ability to break software even by accident. She was the first person I asked to test things LOL.

My point is a native boot vhdx can access host drive and cause issues. Probability is low but not zero.
 
Last edited:

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 :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0

jimbo45

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Thread Starter
Local time
1:28 AM
Posts
1,631
Location
Hafnarfjörður IS
OS
Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
Nope - you personally have to work hard maybe, but do not underestimate of people to mangle stuff inadvertently. Also who knows what damage can be caused by getting some malware.

I used to know a lass who had an uncanny ability to break software even by accident. She was the first person I asked to test things LOL.

My point is and native boot vhdx can access host drive and cause issues. Probability is low but not zero.
Agreed - but I have a feeling that if people know how to manage using vhdx files then in theory they should be competant enough to avoid that issue --I agree with your point of course as "D" is essentially the Host drive and you get full access to it.

Cheers
jimbo
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    2 X Intel i7
Top Bottom