Is it possible to have a machine that is a Hyper-V server, be able to directly boot from cold start into the VM from the native hardware the machine runs on?

A non-virutalized server is available in addition to the described Hyper-V host.

All machines are running Windows Server 2008 R2 x64. The VM is Windows 7 Enterprise x64.


A Hyper-V server itself can't boot into a VM because it must run the hypervisor layer and the only OS you will see on that box is the parent partition. It is, however, possible for a physical server to boot into a VM/VHD if you're running either Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2. For more information on how that works, look here.

  • What a stupid limitation – Chris Marisic Feb 17 '11 at 19:14
  • 3
    What's stupid about it? Hyper-V or not, in order for a virtual machine to function, there has to be a layer of virtualization code between it and the hardware. The only way a VM could run on bare hardware without loading the virtualization code first would be if the actual processor included the virtualization bits itself. As for the ability to boot into one VM, it wouldn't be too useful since the reason we have virtualization to start with is so one server can run MANY virtual servers. – icky3000 Feb 17 '11 at 20:57
  • It's stupid because Hyper-V could load first and then forward you into a VM. – Chris Marisic Feb 18 '11 at 14:30
  • It's not stupid. it's how things work. tenforums.com/tutorials/53256-hyper-v-native-boot-vhd.html – user270260 Apr 28 '19 at 8:24

You can set it up so that the physical machine has two entries in its boot configuration database, the one for Hyper-V and the one for the VHD containing the VM image. You'll be presented with a choice when the machine boots, one for Hyper-V and one for the VHD. Getting both sets of drivers installed in your VHD is possible, though a little annoying to navigate.

See "bcdedit /set device" and "bcdedit /set osdevice" for information about booting directly from a VHD.

So, yes, in contrast to what "icky3000" said, you can do what you want.

  • In this scenario would the Hyper-V host be running in either case, or only when I specifically choose the Hyper-V boot configuration? That it's mostly what @icky3000 stated except you're adding I could choose to leave the current configuration but circumvent loading Hyper-V and boot into the VHD? – Chris Marisic Feb 18 '11 at 14:36
  • The Hyper-V host would not be running unless you specifically chose it at boot so it would be either/or. – icky3000 Feb 18 '11 at 18:57
  • Sigh, such a waste. – Chris Marisic Feb 21 '11 at 15:05
  • I'm getting to the point I no longer need to run my workstation as a hyper-v host and can instead give it 100% to my VHD so probably next week I'm going to try this out. Assuming I have no issues I'll flip the answer over to here since this one gives me the option on demand to revert back into Hyper-V if i ever need to migrate or reimage etc. – Chris Marisic May 26 '11 at 13:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.