Sean McNeill
Sean is a managing consultant and Office 365 technical evangelist for Catapult Systems and blogs about Office 365, Active Directory and unified messaging (Exchange and Lync). He holds Microsoft certifications in server and enterprise messaging administration, SCVMM, Windows Server virtualization and configuration.

Dual Boot to Server 8 Beta   

Tags: Windows 8 Server, Windows 8 Client, Microsoft
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So I am taking a quick detour from all things Office 365 to check out and play with Server 8 Beta. I have been running Windows 8 Beta on my Acer Iconia Tab and like it. Takes a little bit to get use to no start button but the touch interface with the Metro Start page is great!

So Catapult Systems provided me with a very nice laptop, a Lenovo W520, it has a 450GB, 8 CPU's with multicore and hyperthreading enabled and 16GB of RAM. I use Windows 7 as my normal day to day workstation OS on a dedicated 100GB drive. The remaining 350GB drive is used for some data and dual boots. I have had a dual boot with Server 2008 R2 for some time and run some VMs there. So I want to add Server 8 Beta as another boot option. I thought I could do the same thing I did with Server 2008 R2. I downloaded the VHD from here: It is nice that Microsoft provide a VHD download as well as an ISO download. So I moved the VHD to the root of my data drive and used BCDEDIT to setup another boot option.

Well that didn't work, every time I tried to boot into the Server 8 Beta it gave me some errors about Bitlocker and tried to run repair but never did. So I did what I always do when in trouble, Bing to the rescue! I found the solution here:

Seems Windows/Server 8 cannot use the Windows7/Server 2008 R2 Bootloader, you need to use the Windows 8 Bootloader. So it was pretty easy to get it setup following the below steps from the above link:

  1. Boot into my Windows 7 OS
  2. User Disk Manager to Attach VHD
  3. Set a drive letter for the VHD attached drive, I used S: for Server J
  4. Open CMD as Administrator
  5. Run BCDBOOT s:\Windows

That is all it took. The command loads the Bootloader from for Windows 8 from the VHD and sets up Server 8 Beta as a boot option. The only thing I had to do was run MSCONFIG to reset my Windows 7 OD as the default and change the default timeout for choosing a boot option (default is 30 seconds, I reduced to 5 seconds) I then rebooted my laptop, choose the Server 8 Beta option and off and running I was!

I will be playing around with Server 8 Beta, particularly the Hyper-V role, and might have a blog post or two about my experiences.

Posted by  Sean McNeill  on  3/15/2012
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