With the recent release of Windows 7 & Windows server 2008 R2, I wanted to refresh how / what I need to install on my home PC. I received this PC with Windows Vista pre-installed and I was never a big fan of that OS. I have always been using Windows Hyper-V server 2008 and running various other operating systems as virtual machines on top of it. With the native VHD boot support on R2, I got a new usage model. Here is how it looks now
So, as it is shown in the diagram above, I am using Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 as the base OS. On top of it, I have Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 configured to boot using native VHD support. Note that they are not virtual machines. So, I will be able to see these two OS entries in the boot manager menu when I boot up the system. I will be able to use the complete physical machine capability when I boot these OS VHDs.
I also have Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 configured as virtual machines on top of Hyper-V Server 2008 R2. I use these virtual machines for any R&D I need to do. I use HVS2008 UI (of course..!) to create/manage virtual machine on Hyper-V Server 2008 R2. I use a Windows 7 laptop — with Hyper-V remote management tools — to access the virtual machine console and do any configuration changes to the guest OS.
As I use this PC for all experiments I need to do, I keep changing OS/software quite often. By having Windows 7 as a VHD boot option, I don’t need to go through the pain of re-installing whole OS/applications. I just need to backup the VHD to a safe location, re-install the base OS and then re-connect the VHD back as another OS option. All my applications and app configuration will always be there and of course, the data inside VHD.