When the Windows 10 Technical Preview came out earlier this month, I wanted to see kick the tires a bit and see what was new. However, I need my laptop to work reliably, so I couldn’t take the risk of installing Windows 10 over my Windows 8.1 installation.
So, I decided to install it to a Virtual Machine (VM) running in Hyper-V. This would allow me to run Windows 10 in a “sandbox” that would not affect my primary operating system. It would also allow me to multitask – doing my normal day-to-day activities on my laptop, while still “playing around” with Windows 10.
The other thing I wanted to be able to do is native boot into the Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) used by this VM. VHD native boot is a nice feature that was added with Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2. When you boot into a VHD, you are running everything in it on bare metal except for the disk. There are 2 advantages to doing this. The first is performance – you use all CPU cores and all of the memory on the computer and there is no virtualization layer to go through (except for the disk as mentioned above). The second is that you can verify that Windows 10 will work on the hardware of your computer – you can’t do that running in a VM since everything is virtualized.