Minimal Windows so I can run VMDK Virtual Disk (Not VM)

jimbo45

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Hi folks
What's the minimal Windows system I can install so I can then boot from a Virtual Disk -- I think I only need the initial OS to load the vmdk driver and the bootloader. I don't intend running the main OS but always the Virtual disk ones which will be "Real machines" rather than HYPER-V VM's.

I have no problem creating the virtual disks , attaching them and booting -- it's the overhead of the initial WindowsOS that I want to avoid. Once the VMDK is booted then the initial OS is irrelevant -- performance on SSD is fine.

Any ideas / suggestions -- would also be nice if one could boot also Windows from a USB stick, attach a VHDX and then boot that. Would a Windows PE sort of thing work. The idea is to avoid the initial Windows OS as much as possible.

Cheers
jimbo
 

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jimbo45

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I've decided that I'll use the basic Free (180 days trial W2K22 Server) -- boots really fast -- install nothing on it extra, attach vhdx (W11) then at boot will have my W11 system(s) available with minimal OS disk usage. -- Even if I have to re-install the server after 180 days - it's fast and the VHDX W11 system can stay !!!!

Seems for me a decent solution.

BTW W2K22 server latest version far better than the kludge they handed out a few months ago. It actually works

So marking as solved.

Cheers
jimbo
 

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NavyLCDR

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I posted this in the other thread on this topic, but I will post it here too. You don't need any minimal Windows system. You only need a Windows 10 or 11 installation USB flash drive, such as created with the Media Creation Tool.

I had a Windows 11 installation USB flash drive created with MCT attached to my computer as well as an SSD attached via USB. I booted into the Windows 11 flash drive. Used diskpart to clean the USB connected SSD, converted to GPT. Created a 100 mb EFI system partition, formatted FAT 32 assigned drive letter S:. Then I created a 16mb MSR partition. Then a pri partition with no size so it filled the rest of the SSD. Formatted the pri partition ntfs, assigned drive letter T:. Then I created a vhdx file on T: drive. Attached it. Created a pri partition on it, formatted as ntfs, assigned drive letter U. Then I used DISM to apply a Windows 11 Pro image from install.esd to U: drive. Then ran bcdboot U:\Windows /s S: /f UEFI.

Then I rebooted the computer and selected the USB connected SSD to boot from and it booted right into the Windows image located on the vhdx drive on the SSD. No need for any additional programs. All of the steps above were done with diskpart from the command prompt opened with shift+F10 from the Windows 11 installation USB flash drive (bcdboot command was ran after exiting diskpart, of course).
 

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jimbo45

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Hi there
@NavyLCDR

Solved it also easy way -- no longer need the server as primary OS (will keep it on a VHDX later though)

1) Copied existing VHDX to temporary device (going to wipe main HDD)
2) booted winpe USB drive
3) cleaned existing HDD with clean, gpt etc etc and created EFI, MSR and main partition. EFI partition say is S:
4) copied the existing VHDX file to new prepared HDD
5)attached the vhdx with diskpart -- assume volume V
6) bcdboot V:\windows /s S: /f UEFI

Now reboot main machine -- since this is the ist VHDX on the HDD it boots straight into W11 .
Adding more VHDX installs is easy enough -- simply after creating the relevant Windows systems just reboot the winpe disk , attach the relevant VHDX file to create a boot entry and at next boot the exta system(s) will be shown.

Cheers
jimbo
 

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  • Operating System
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    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    2 X Intel i7
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