How to install Windows 8 Consumer Preview as a VHD with Native Boot

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is now available for you to freely download and play with.  However, you don’t have to reformat your computer just to install this pre-released product.  If you are currently using Windows 7, this article will show you how to set up a Virutal Hard Disk (VHD) with Native Boot for Windows 8 Consumer Preview.  That way, if something goes wrong while you are previewing Windows 8, your host computer is safe.


  1. Download Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO
  2. Download and install Windows Automated Installation Kit for Windows 7
  3. Download and install a tool to mount ISO (SlySoft Virtual CloneDrive)
  4. Create a folder on your hard drive for your VHD.  For example, C:\VHD

Create a VHD for Windows 8 Using Diskpart

Open Command Prompt as Administrator

create vdisk file=C:\VHD\Windows8.vhd
     maximum=131072 type=expandable
select vdisk file=C:\VHD\Windows8.vhd
attach vdisk
create partition primary
assign letter=Z

Format Your VHD

You will now be prompted to format your Z: drive.  Go ahead and do so.

Exit Diskpart

Type Exit to exit Diskpart.

Mount Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO

Using an ISO Tool like Virtual CloneDrive, mount the Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO.  Make note of the drive letter the “mounted” drive.  (For example E:)

Copy Windows 8 to VHD

Method 1: Run the Deployment Tools Command Prompt as Administrator

Start Menu > All Programs > Microsoft Windows AIK > Deployment Tools Command Prompt (right-click and Run as administrator)

imagex /apply E:\sources\install.wim 1 Z:\

Method 2: Run DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management)

dism /Apply-Image
     /index:1 /ApplyDir:Z:\

Add Windows 8 to Boot Menu

Open Command Prompt as Administrator

bcdboot Z:\Windows

Optionally, you can modify the description of the Boot Menu item that you’ve just added:

bcdedit /set {default} Description "Windows 10"

Restart Your Machine

At the Boot Menu, select Windows 8 Consumer Preview and follow the on-screen instructions to install your Windows 8.

At any time, if you want to use Windows 7 again, just restart your machine and choose Windows 7 from the Boot Menu.

Published in: on April 21, 2012 at 10:05 am  Leave a Comment  

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