Boot clean Win 10 from VHD

Test stuff on a clean PC is an everyday need. Known solutions are using a virtual PC (e.g. Virtual Box) or having a separate test PC independent from your work PC. However there is a third option that saves the cost for an extra PC and offers the native performance of your work PC. Up from Windows 8 your PC is able to boot from a VHD file (Virtual hard disk). This will allow the following scenario:
  • Your are working on your work PC and want to do a little test on a clean PC
  • With Windows Explorer you go to the file location of your VHDs (e.g. for a Windows 10 clean install it is a 10 GB file)
  • There is a dirty one you used before and a clean copy, you delete the dirty, make a new clean copy and rename one clean copy to be used
  • You click the iReboot tray icon and select the VHD option and afterwards you reboot the PC, that’s it
  • When finished with your testing you select the “host” PC, do a reboot and back you are to your work PC

Step-by-step guide for setting this up

  1. You need to get a commercial license of EasyBCD and iReboot from https://neosmart.net (40 USD) and install it on the “host” PC
  2. Install Windows 10 into a VHD image by either
    1. using VirtualBox https://www.virtualbox.org or
    2. installing on a real PC and applying the toll disk2vhd afterwards
  3. Inside the virtual machine open a command prompt with administrator privileges and execute the command bcdedit /set nointegritychecks on
  4. Copy the VHD file to the “host” PC (ideally using the clone feature in VirtualBox)
  5. Add the VHD file as second boot option with EasyBCD
  6. Select the VHD in iReboot and reboot
  7. This will boot the VHD the first time
  8. Install iRebbot also to the VHD and apply any changes you might want to have on the clean PC (e.g. activate Windows, install Fiddler)
  9. Select the “host PC” in iReboot and reboot
  10. Make a copy of the clean PC VHD (Takes 90 seconds on a SSD)
  11. Your are done!

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