Both server and desktop versions of the Windows operating system have long had the ability to boot from a virtual...
hard disk or a Hyper-V virtual hard disk file without the aid of a hypervisor.
Of course, this raises the question of whether there is any practical, real-world use for such a capability. On the surface, it would appear the ability to boot from a virtual hard disk (VHD) to a physical computer is little more than a novelty feature. However, there are at least a couple of benefits to using it.
One potential benefit is that the Boot to VHD feature makes it easy to create dual-boot environments. Dual-boot capabilities are certainly nothing new to Windows, but some of the earlier Windows versions required both OSes to exist on a single volume. Boot to VHD allows each OS its own volume and space for applications, data and so on.
I have personally used Boot to VHD as a way of trying out new OSes on physical hardware. For instance, I recently set up a Boot to VHD environment on one of my lab servers so I could experiment with Windows Server 10, but also have a Windows Server 2012 environment to play with.
On a more practical note, some people use Boot to VHD on desktop or laptop computers as a way of establishing boundaries between work and home life.
You can also use Boot to VHD to deploy a Windows OS to a USB flash drive. Doing so enables users to boot their personal computers to a fully sanctioned corporate desktop environment without making any modifications to their hard disks.
Requirements to fully utilize a Hyper-Vshared virtual hard disk
Improved efficiency and cost savings possible with Hyper-V 2012 R2
Dig Deeper on Storage virtualization
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