Part 1 of 2 part series on Windows 2008 R2 Native Boot

    uEFI Boot to VHD

    I performed this process on a PowerEdge R710 with a PERC6i via an iDRAC6 Enterprise using Console Redirection (rockin' fast!).

  1. Set the Boot Mode in the BIOS to UEFI
    1. F2 on boot up
    2. Press ENTER on Boot Settings
    3. Use arrow keys to toggle through Boot Mode options and set to uEFI
    Boot Mode set to uEFI

  2. Note that, when uEFI is Enabled as the Boot mode, the Boot Splash screen shows;Splash screen with F11 = UEFI Boot Manager Option

  3. I Booted the PowerEdge R710 from the Windows 2008 R2 OS Media
  4. On the first OS GUI screen, press Shift-F10 to bring up a Command prompt Window
  5. I ran Diskpart

  6. In the diskpart shell (indicated by the DISKPART> prompt) I ran List disk to see the array disk I created on the PERC6i
    Diskpart List Disk
  7. Than used select disk 0 to bring focus to the disk

  8. In order to Boot a uEFI enabled system to disk - I must change the disk type to GPT (GUID Partition Table) using convert gpt command
    Diskpart convert gpt command

    Note: if I don't convert the disk to GPT I get this message during the OS install:
    Windows Install Error BIOS/MBR and UEFI/GPT

  9. list disk now shows an asterisk in the Gpt field
    Diskpart List disk

  10. Next, Booting from a GPT Disk using uEFI requires a separate 100mb efi partition, formatted as FAT32;
    create partition efi size=100
    Format fs=fat32 label="System" Quick
    Diskpart Create EFI Partition

  11. Now I want to create a large partition on the remainder of the disk. Since I still have focus on Disk 0, I just need to run;
    Create partition primary
    Format fs=ntfs quick

  12. Running list volume shows the current volumes;
    Note: if there is no drive letter assigned to the newly create partition. Run assign to attach the next available drive letter.
    Diskpart List volumes with EFI and Primary partitions created

  13. Now comes the fun part; to create a new VHD to install the OS into run;
    Create vdisk file=c:\r2boot.vhd maximum=99000 type=fixed
    Note: run Help create vdisk for more information regarding these options

    Diskpart create vdisk command

  14. Next, I attached the vdisk, convert it to GPT (required for uEFI) and created the partition on it;
    Attach vdisk
    Convert gpt

    Create partition primary
    Diskpart attach vdisk

  15. List disk shows the new disk
    Diskpart list disk

  16. Now I switch back to the Windows install and select the VHD disk as the target, choose NEXT and continue with the install.Windows 2008 R2 install screen

  17. Note the notice near the bottom of the Window
    Windows 2008 R2 install bang

  18. Looking at the details reveals the following notice;
    Windows 2008 R2 Install detail

  • The notice is provided because Windows does not know if the hardware can successfully boot to the partition.
  • At this time (December 2009); neither Microsoft nor Dell supports booting Windows 2008 R2 to VHD
  • At this time (December 2009);Microsoft only supports booting to VHD for Windows 7 when developed using the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK).