Jump to content











Photo
- - - - -

VHD Loader

vhd grub4dos plop winxp

  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 sambul61

sambul61

    Gold Member

  • Advanced user
  • 1568 posts
  •  
    American Samoa

Posted 19 September 2011 - 07:27 PM

It was great to find out, VHD Loader was released by the author of well known Plop Boot Manager.

There is strong tendency to move towards virtualized environments which offer greater flexibility and economy of scale. VHDs are especially attractive lately due to their Native Boot support in Win 7, almost eliminating performance and/or PC resources hit usually associated with using VMs. For some ideas on using VHDs see for example How to use Differencing Disks for your Advantage.

The problem however is, not many Boor Managers are able to boot directly from VHDs by using VHD's own BCD and boot loader instead of main HD partition placed Win 7 BCD and Bootmgr. This restricts VHD disks mobility, requiring Win 7 install on each PC where VHD boot plus Generalizing the VHDs before moving to another PC with different hardware. Further, its not ordinary possible to boot a Native Boot VHD inside a Hyper-V VM (which is part of Windows Server 2008R2 and oncoming Windows 8) without generalizing it first. Meanwhile, VMWare allows to boot without a problem OS from physical HDs used as primary drives on the same PC. Even more problems exist with booting VHDs based on OS other than certain Win 7 versions.

I read the VHD Loader thread on PLOP forum, and the development looks very promising. It appears, working on this app gives genuine relief and pleasure to its author that by itself guarantees progress and success. :)

I'm going to test VHD Loader more, but even after reading the thread, a few suggestions for further development:

- Make VHD Loader part of Plop Boot Manager
- Boot VHDs of fixed, dynamic and differencing types
- Boot VHDs without Win7 present on the main HD by using BCD and Bootmgr inside the VHD
- Boot VHDs saved on NTSF instead of FAT32 formatted partition
- Boot VHDs with Win XP installed inside them instead of Win7 Ultimate (almost only OS able to boot VHDs natively)
- Boot on the same or different PC the VHDs prepared inside a VM (such as Hyper-V), without generalizing them each time, when moving btw Win and the Hyper-V
- Add support for booting VMDK drives, used by VMWare

Good luck Elmar with this excellent project! :good:
  • Nuno Brito and mne_valeri like this

#2 sambul61

sambul61

    Gold Member

  • Advanced user
  • 1568 posts
  •  
    American Samoa

Posted 19 September 2011 - 09:28 PM

Elmar

It may help in developing VHD Loader, if you keep in mind that one would usually use Win 7 Bcdedit, Diskpart and ImageX apps to create and then move bootable VHDs btw PCs and VMs. The following info on how to create VHDs is also helpful for those who want to create a VHD and then try booting it with VHD Loader:

CREATE NATIVE BOOT BASE AND DIFFERENCING VHDs

Keeping in mind how VHDs are created, it may be easier with VHD Loader to address the limitations currently placed by Win 7 on booting a VHD on different PCs (requiring to Generalize each time) and with different OS. Vboot seems trying to overcome such limitations, but with limited success according to your VHD Loader forum.

I expect the following main advantages of using VHD Loader over Win 7 BCD:

- Boot VHDs inside and outside VMs regardless of where they were created
- Boot Win XP VHDs
- Allow to maintain BCD Boot List short and clean by moving all test & service VHDs to VHD Loader section
- Boot Virtual Disks created by various VM and OS types.
  • Nuno Brito likes this

#3 TheHive

TheHive

    Platinum Member

  • .script developer
  • 4137 posts

Posted 20 September 2011 - 07:51 AM

Yeah! First tought was
- Boot VHDs saved on both NTFS or FAT32 formatted partition.

- Boot VHDs saved on NTSF instead of FAT32 formatted partition


Great Project.

#4 i

i

    Silver Member

  • Advanced user
  • 523 posts
  •  
    United Nations

Posted 20 September 2011 - 09:07 AM

Great info... :1st: :clap:

#5 sambul61

sambul61

    Gold Member

  • Advanced user
  • 1568 posts
  •  
    American Samoa

Posted 20 September 2011 - 12:59 PM

Also useful is this method of booting VHDs from a Bare Metal PC:

BOOT NATIVE VHD ON BARE METAL PC WITH NO OS INSTALLED

I wonder, how VHD Loader can fit in this and also Network Boot scenario? :)

#6 BiTByte

BiTByte

    Member

  • Members
  • 31 posts
  •  
    Austria

Posted 21 September 2011 - 06:52 PM

hi,

Elmar

It may help in developing VHD Loader, if you keep in mind that one would usually use Win 7 Bcdedit, Diskpart and ImageX apps to create and then move bootable VHDs btw PCs and VMs. The following info on how to create VHDs is also helpful for those who want to create a VHD and then try booting it with VHD Loader:


i am not so often at reboot.pro, so it was luck that i have seen this thread.

i wrote vhd loader in dec. 2010, wow the time runs so fast!

however, the question for continuing the development is still the same, does many people need to start native from a virtual hard drive?

best regards
elmar
  • Nuno Brito likes this

#7 sambul61

sambul61

    Gold Member

  • Advanced user
  • 1568 posts
  •  
    American Samoa

Posted 21 September 2011 - 09:34 PM

Once a person tried VHD passway, its very hard to abandon it due to great app running & testing flexibility without any serious trade-of. Give you a small example: having a Base VHD with your system drive copy, one can create a Diff VHD in a split second, and install any new app or driver on it to see how it works, and whether he needs it, then natively boot from the Diff. VHD. If he doesn't like it, or it doesn't work with the system, or whatever - just delete the Diff VHD. No need to clean Registry and System dirs, your real setup and Base VHD remain untouched. The same idea as with VM, but works on your real PC hardware, while VM works on its own imaginary HW and is quite slow.

This forum reflects less enterprise or SOHO user needs, and more of an enthusiast or PC learner needs - people who want to service their PCs themselves, share knowledge or write a first code sample while learning OS better - having often old PCs, not capable to run Win 7 that supports Native VHD boot. But the interest will come here over time with HW updates and better understanding of VHD pros. If you look around the web, you'll get more accurate idea, how many people are really interested in exploiting VHD advantages, especially in software development, IT deployment and smaller businesses having "several Workstations in one" for cost efficiency.

The question for you is, whether they really heard a word about VHD Loader. :)

#8 TheHive

TheHive

    Platinum Member

  • .script developer
  • 4137 posts

Posted 22 September 2011 - 06:00 AM

In booting, The more options the better.

#9 sfinktah

sfinktah

    Frequent Member

  • Advanced user
  • 217 posts
  • Location:Der Äther
  • Interests:/(C(++|#)|P(HP|XE)|(OS|Linu)X|8051)/
  •  
    Australia

Posted 18 March 2013 - 08:38 AM

It was great to find out, VHD Loader was released by the author of well known Plop Boot Manager.

I've made no secret of my admiration for PLOPware, and indeed I agree (only a year or so late) with you.
I read the VHD Loader thread on PLOP forum, and the development looks very promising. It appears, working on this app gives genuine relief and pleasure to its author that by itself guarantees progress and success. :)

Indeed, although by the same sword, he doesn't release any source code, thus reserving all the pleasure for himself. I've oft longed to make a few modifications to PLOP, but been unable.

- Make VHD Loader part of Plop Boot Manager
- Boot VHDs of fixed, dynamic and differencing types
- Boot VHDs without Win7 present on the main HD by using BCD and Bootmgr inside the VHD
- Boot VHDs saved on NTSF instead of FAT32 formatted partition
- Boot VHDs with Win XP installed inside them instead of Win7 Ultimate (almost only OS able to boot VHDs natively)
- Boot on the same or different PC the VHDs prepared inside a VM (such as Hyper-V), without generalizing them each time, when moving btw Win and the Hyper-V
- Add support for booting VMDK drives, used by VMWare

I think you'll be dissapointed, as most of those options are going to be massively outside the scope of a program which is currently only 2,991 bytes long.

I was about to start some tests myself, however I had assumed that Win7-U would have booted as-is, assuming you could somehow get a VHD within the 4GB FAT32 limit (a tricky feat).

VMDK drives would be the one easy addition, as the "-flat.vmdk" style drives are just raw copies of a HDD image (the same as fixed VHDs) - the only difference being the metadata is stored in a seperate file, instead of being appended to the disk image.

I would add, that if NTFS is too complex to implement, there is always ex-FAT. Unfortunately it's patented, but there may be ways around that (eg, my copy of Xubuntu seems to have no issues with it).

As with most boot "things", the more complex dynamic and differencing types of VHD would be quite difficult... as it is, I'm not exactly sure how this program can work without a helper running within the operating system (as per grub booting).... unless it only supports 16 bit operating systems as the usage examples seem to imply.
Good luck Elmar with this excellent project! :good:

Agreed. It's still a great tool to keep a variety of 16 bit operating systems around, without resorting to 1.44MB floppy images and such. A bootable virtual 4GB HDD with DOS on it, is quite nifty :)





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: vhd, grub4dos, plop, winxp

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users