Windows Server 2008 R2 Native Boot

After reading Scott Hanselman’s description of how awesome Boot from VHD is, I had to try it.  Since I already obviously use Windows 7 as my primary OS, I figured I’d try to create a VHD with Windows Server 2008 R2, then boot directly to it.

Unfortunately, the instructions in the Hanselman post didn’t work for me.  I got a Hyper-V VHD of Server 2K8R2, followed the bcdedit instructions, and rebooted.

After rebooting, I got a Boot Configuration Data error saying “The configuration for an element within the object is invalid in the boot configuration data store. ”  I’ve seen this error crop up in the comments of every blog post (and on Jim O’Neil’s blog) about Boot to VHD, but no one seems to ever provide a solution. 

The thing that finally helped me find the error of my ways was a post by Michael Flanakin, where he offhandedly says “NOTE: You'll need to be sure you can boot using the necessary device in BIOS settings (obviously).”   He’s talking about the install media, but I realized that I had my VHD on a second spindle (as Scott Hanselman recommends for BitLocker systems), and the second hard drive was not enabled for booting in the BIOS.  A quick trip through the BIOS to add the secondary HDD and I could finally boot to my VHD image!