So I am taking a quick detour from all things Office 365 to check out and play with Server 8 Beta. I have been running Windows 8 Beta on my Acer Iconia Tab and like it. Takes a little bit to get use to no start button but the touch interface with the Metro Start page is great!

So Catapult Systems provided me with a very nice laptop, a Lenovo W520, it has a 450GB, 8 CPU’s with multicore and hyperthreading enabled and 16GB of RAM. I use Windows 7 as my normal day to day workstation OS on a dedicated 100GB drive. The remaining 350GB drive is used for some data and dual boots. I have had a dual boot with Server 2008 R2 for some time and run some VMs there. So I want to add Server 8 Beta as another boot option. I thought I could do the same thing I did with Server 2008 R2. I downloaded the VHD from here: It is nice that Microsoft provide a VHD download as well as an ISO download. So I moved the VHD to the root of my data drive and used BCDEDIT to setup another boot option.

Well that didn’t work, every time I tried to boot into the Server 8 Beta it gave me some errors about Bitlocker and tried to run repair but never did. So I did what I always do when in trouble, Bing to the rescue! I found the solution here:

Seems Windows/Server 8 cannot use the Windows7/Server 2008 R2 Bootloader, you need to use the Windows 8 Bootloader. So it was pretty easy to get it setup following the below steps from the above link:

  1. Boot into my Windows 7 OS
  2. User Disk Manager to Attach VHD
  3. Set a drive letter for the VHD attached drive, I used S: for Server J
  4. Open CMD as Administrator
  5. Run BCDBOOT s:\Windows

That is all it took. The command loads the Bootloader from for Windows 8 from the VHD and sets up Server 8 Beta as a boot option. The only thing I had to do was run MSCONFIG to reset my Windows 7 OD as the default and change the default timeout for choosing a boot option (default is 30 seconds, I reduced to 5 seconds) I then rebooted my laptop, choose the Server 8 Beta option and off and running I was!

I will be playing around with Server 8 Beta, particularly the Hyper-V role, and might have a blog post or two about my experiences.