Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 discussion Notes

We had a wonderfull session about Windows 7. We covered VHD booting, some GUI features (especially the keyboard shortcuts), the extra benefits for an enterprise to have Windows 2008 R2 in conjunction with Windows 7, and we touched on developing for Windows 7.

VHD Boot drive

As promised in the sessions I will disclose the steps here I used to set up a second boot from VHD once you are already running Windows 7 on the bare metal:

rem run diskpart from a command line that runs under administrative privileges
rem create a virtual disk that can grow up to 20 GB
rem place that in the c:\vhd folder and name it techies.vhd
create vdisk file=c:\vhd\techies.vhd maximum=20000 type=EXPANDABLE
select vdisk file=c:\vhd\techies.vhd
attach vdisk
rem to see the disks available -> list disk, select the disk that you have just created
select disk 2
rem create a partition
create part primary
rem assuming that there are no partitions created before.
select part 1
rem assuming this is the just created partition
format fs=ntfs quick
rem creates a drive letter in windows explorer.

Then if you have a tool called Windows Automated Installation Kit deploy only the WAIK part of it that allows you to do the following. Deploy an instance of Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2 in the VHD you have just created. There is an alternative while booting from the installation disk, I’ll gladly demonstrate that at another meeting.

rem enter into the deployed folder for your OS in the WAIK tool
rem the D:\sources\install.wim is the CD of Windows 7 I have placed in my cd-drive
rem lists the content of the wim file, look at the index
imagex /info D:\sources\install.wim
rem H:\ is the drive-letter I received right after typing the assign.
rem The index 1 is the only deployment I have in my wim image on my Enterprise Edition Windows 7.
imagex /apply D:\sources\install.wim /check 1 H:\
rem this will take a couple of minutes (12 on my laptop)

Now we have a virtual drive that can run Windows, but not yet hooked up to the OS. To do this we need to leverage BCDEdit. This tool comes with windows 7 deployments. I usually copy the {current} settings and update the entries to comply with the VHD. I have detailed the following steps from our session:

rem Copy the {current} to the “Techies” entry
bcdedit /copy {current} /d "Techies"
rem watch the returend GUID you need that for all the following statements
rem I received the following guid: {2909bffe-b762-11de-855f-9683a4b5e2c9}
bcdedit /set {2909bffe-b762-11de-855f-9683a4b5e2c9} device vhd=[c:]\vhd\techies.vhd
bcdedit /set {2909bffe-b762-11de-855f-9683a4b5e2c9} osdevice vhd=[c:]\vhd\techies.vhd
bcdedit /set {2909bffe-b762-11de-855f-9683a4b5e2c9} detecthal on
rem the following line is to use the image as default boot system
bcdedit /default {2909bffe-b762-11de-855f-9683a4b5e2c9}
rem running bcdedit without parameters will render all that is defined in the boot manager.

GUI Improvements

I have showed some of the UI improvements and especially showed off the shortcuts I use, for a better list look at Extended64 and Windows7Themes. Further the features such as WPF interface and the ability to place gadgets anywhere on the desktop are very nice.

Working with Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 together

I We touched and discussed the direct access feature when using Windows 7 and Windows 2008 together. Also we spend some time on branch cache and how it works from an IT Pro perspective. to read some more on this subject please go here.

Developing for Windows 7

We did not cover this much as we were more in the discussion on developing or web, where Windows 7 does not directly give an advantage but it did spin off a nice opportunity to do a deep dive or a next event on the topic of web development on windows 7… more about that later though. What we did cover is enumerated below:

  • Multi-touch: Windows 7 allows to touch the interface with more than one pointing devise. this can be leveraged by the programmer. 
  • Taskbar: One should leverage the context menu (called Jump List) from the docked icon in the task bar or start menu. Also remember that more high-res icons will be required.
  • Libraries: There is a new library model that allows the user and application to select multiple physical folders in a grouped context.
  • Sensors and Location: Windows 7 offers the ability to directly tap into the sensors attached to the device and read the data from them through a generic api.
  • Window 7 ribbon: The ribbon that Windows 7 offers allows the developer to interact and give feedback in an integrated way, such as the progress in the task bar icon.


Thanks to Andrew Mackay for providing us with refreshments this event!

I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did, can’t leave without a nice snapshot!

This entry was posted in Techies Event. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 discussion Notes

  1. Andrew says: is the link for Windows 7 online training.

  2. Mohammed says:

    nice blog i think is a global innovation Team

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