The virtualization of Windows 7

Just like when Vista first launched and I rolled out a couple of Vista’s right at the very early beginning of busy season, I’m doing it again with Windows 7.  But this time I’m adding a bit of virtualization.  Key to a succesful migration is keeping an image of that old deskop around just in case.  In the past I would use storagecraft to image the drives.  Not anymore.  The current recipe is as follows:

1.  I copy of  Download it and make a image vhd copy of the original XP hard drive.

2.  I copy of a virtual hard drive resizing tool should the original PC be larger than 127 gigs.  Shrink down the vhd.

3.  A spare server.  Now in the past I would buy a separate harddrive and put it inside the new workstation to be the respository of the virtual old machine, but with the HyperV/Virtual Machine/XP Mode technology I can just plop that vhd drive on a spare file server somewhere.

4.  Now you can use Windows Easy Transfer to move stuff, but you can also merely go into the Windows 7 interface and merely attach that built VHD

This now makes that old PC a functional drive letter on the box.  But what about making it a XPmode computer?

Download the XPmode parts.

Ensure that you’ve flipped the workstation to support the HyperV technology.  In the HP xw4600 workstations that I’m a fan of and bought more of (soon to be retired) it’s in the security settings of the bios that you have to enable it.

You then launch the virtual machine, (which always looks to me like a general folder with the word “Create machine” on the top as the only difference.  Then you name the machine, leave the location for the config file on the local machine, now here’s the fun part… in the Add a virtual disk, click on “use an existing virtual hard disk” and browse to that file server you have the vhd’s parked on.  They don’t have to be on the same machine, you can set them up across the network.  I’ve not seen a major speed impact across the lan and these virtuals are more for my “oh crap I forgot that personal file/folder/etc that you forgot to tell me about before I rebuilt that old machine and rolled it back to the OEM/retail/VL media build it came with” backup.

The fact that you can natively just attach a VHD to a Windows 7 is a very cool feature that is greatly easing my migration tasks.

One Thought on “The virtualization of Windows 7

  1. Joe Raby on January 25, 2010 at 5:04 pm said:

    It’s “hardware VT” (ie. “Intel VT” or “AMD-V”).

    Virtual PC doesn’t use Hyper-V.

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