Currently, I have a (fairly powerful) workstation with XP x86 and Win 7 x64 loaded as dual boot. There's another Win 7 x64 workstation that I'm going to have to use from time to time. What I want to do it to virtualize all three existing OS's (with Disk2VHD), load 2008 Hyper-V Server Core on my workstation, then run the three machines as virtual machines. All this without losing anything in the three existing machines!

I'm new to Hyper-V and would appreciate pointers on the right steps to take to do this. One specific question, can I load 2008 Hyper-V Server Core as dual boot with my existing Win 7 X64 to make falling back easier if it all goes wrong? Or will loading Hyper_V server wipe everything else out.

Thanks much.

  • 1
    Hyper-v core is meant to have a seperate management solution available, things like scvmm or another win7 or better workstation to run the hyper-v mmc.
    – tony roth
    Aug 10, 2010 at 2:13

4 Answers 4


First, if you're looking to keep the computer as a workstation, I wouldn't use Hyper-V Server; as there's no desktop environment. Virtual PC is a free add-on for Win7 though that will give you some of the functionality. The biggest thing you'll miss is that Virtual PC is 32-bit guest only. You can also install Server 2008 Full, and install the Hyper-V Roll which gives a full desktop environment and Hyper-V.

Win7 will usually just move to Hyper-V using Disk2VHD without major problems. Make sure to install the Integration Services. WinXP is slightly more work; but MS now has KB 314082 on how to fix the STOP 7B issue.

In either case Windows will be deactivated by the move, so be sure you have non-OEM keys to reactivate it with.


Hyper-V is not really targeted towards virtualizing desktop OSs for interactive use. As such, you may not be "happy" with the resulting "less-than-desktop" experience. If your goal is to virtualize desktop OSs for interactive use, then you might take a look at VMware Workstaion, Virtual PC (also included as an integrated option for Windows 7), VirtualBox, etc. With those options, you can resize your screen on-the-fly as well as cut-n-paste between (some of) them too!

  • Not really true. Hyper V is perfect for virtualizing desktop OS's. Used with Remote Desktop Services it's a piece of a great (ok, not as great as VMWare View) VDI setup
    – Jason Berg
    Aug 10, 2010 at 2:34
  • That's basically a warning to not attempt to install high-performance graphics drivers in a VM. I've never encountered any of those issues. Hyper-V in 2008 R2 has some pretty interesting graphics improvements, however. Aug 10, 2010 at 21:47
  • Firing up (or hacking around) a RDP client versus clicking on an integrated interface...
    – user48838
    Aug 11, 2010 at 1:25

Core hosts VHDs, you don't get to use the guests locally (no GUI whatsoever). I've set up hyper-v on hefty demo laptops, for a company with a real addiction to MS-only tech, but the 2008 overhead really bit that setup in the RAM.

In that situation I ended up going with VirtualBox for personal use. Free, low overhead, x64 guests. Just keep your 'main' desktop as the host (or whichever will need the best HW support). I've had zero issues with it - tho USB support could be more robust.

  • My Hyper-V hosts take up less than 512MB of RAM; usually under 384MB.
    – Chris S
    Aug 10, 2010 at 17:31
  • My devs mostly were unhappy dealing with the overhead of the 2008 host in the first place, as it really wasn't providing any utility by itself, outside of hosting virtual machines. Aug 10, 2010 at 21:45

If you are dual booting now, I would simply create a VHD of the third machine and boot that machine up when I wanted to run that machine. See Dual Boot from VHD Using Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

Yes you can set up a dual boot system with hyper-v, athough I started with hyper-v installed, the order shouldn't matter, however you are going to lose support for things like hibernation, some drivers etc while running hyper-v.

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