@Kari Hyper-V boot from USB / Micro SD card to load OS from SSD

  1. Posts : 11,203
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux

    @Kari Hyper-V boot from USB / Micro SD card to load OS from SSD

    Hi there

    Specially question for Kari -- I've added an SSD to a Microserver (HP gen 8) to the ODD slot. The Bios of this server in AHCI mode only allows boot from USB/Micro SD card or HDD's in slot 1/2. I want all 4 HDD's as data disks so I was wondering if I could use GRUB or a bootloader on to an internal USB stick or the micro SD card which would then load the OS from the SSD leaving my 4 HDD's to be used as data drives.

    I know I can load LINUX this way or Esxi - but Virtualising the HYPER-V system doesn't seem a good idea.

    I did read somewhere that one could boot windows this way by using a VHD - any ideas on how to do that so essentially the OS is running of the SSD while all 4 data HDD's can be used for DATA / RAID or whatever.

    I've got one of these servers running very satisfactorily as a NAS box with CENTOS 7 on the ODD SSD - Grub boots from the internal micro SD card without problem. I want to order another of these boxes as a server for some VM's and was hoping to get Windows 2012 server or HYPER-V to dish up some VM's.

    Any way to make this work or will I have to fiddle around with a Linux Hypervisor (KVM / XEN) to get my Windows VM's up and running.

      My Computer

  2. Posts : 17,640
    Windows 10 Pro

    Jimbo, I have honestly not a faintest clue! I get what you want to but using Windows Server or consumer OS, I don't know how to do it.

    Might work, have never tested this: Install Windows Server or a Hyper-V Server as WindowsToGo on USB or SD (Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 trial here: Try Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 | TechNet Evaluation Center). Note that the built-in feature to make WindowsToGo as in 10 Enterprise does not work in this case, you have to use a third party tool for that.

    A hardcore Windows fanboy as I am, it hurts me to say that I think this would be easier with Linux. You know it already that CentOS is my choice if and when I need Linux, knowing you I think that would not be an issue for you to do the same you have already done with it. But, if you want to try, I think that Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 on USB / SD might be possible.

    Really, no idea, no resources at the moment to test.
      My Computer

  3. Posts : 3,865
    Windows 3.1 to Windows 10

    Seems to me you could use the USB stick as the Boot Partition..

    Set Firmware to Boot from USB as first option

    bcdboot S:\Windows /s U: /f ALL,BIOS,UEFI

      My Computer

  4. Posts : 5,478

    I use rEFInd which you can boot from your SD card or USB. It will find your windows bootloader (or pretty much any other) wherever it is so you can then install Windows as Windows to Go on the SSD and boot that.

    I use the (simple) steps here to put Windows on the external disk - Windows To Go Step by Step - TechNet Articles - United States (English) - TechNet Wiki

    Or you boot Windows to go direct from USB (or Run Hyper-V Server from a USB Flash Drive). Or you can boot Windows to Go from SD card.

    If @Kyhi solution works (having the boot files on a different disk from C drive) that is the best though as you'd have a standard Windows install which you can upgrade as long as SSD is seen as an internal disk. You can't upgrade Windows to Go or Windows installed on VHDX. (While you can boot Windows from VHDX you still need Windows bootloader etc anyway so it is no advantage here).

    What OS you want to run Hypervisor on is up to you - it doesn't make a lot of difference I don't suppose. If you want to use Windows even though Hyper-V server is free it has a lot of disadvantages. It doesn't have a GUI (although you can add Explorer++ and other limited third party things) and it doesn't have any support for Wi-Fi or Bluetooth which means nor do your guests. If you want to use Wi-Fi you'd be better off using Pro (or Server with Hyper-V role enabled) as your Host OS..
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 3,865
    Windows 3.1 to Windows 10

    One other nice thing to point out > by removing the USB (Boot Files)
    will result in an error of - no bootable drive found
    For a little added security
      My Computer

  6. Posts : 11,203
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
    Thread Starter

    Hi there.

    I've found that you can install GRUB to the internal SD card which can then load the CENTOS which is installed on the SSD on the ODD device leaving all 4 data drives to be used as DATA disks. Boot is still incredibly fast as all the SD card does is start GRUB which then starts load the OS from the SSD and start it.

    The restriction with this microserver is that in AHCI mode it will only boot from SATA controller 1 (the HDD's) and not from SATA 2 (the ODD where you usually connect a DVD device etc -- I connected an SSD to this slot rather than bothered with a DVD device -- on a server who needs a DVD device - and in any case I can use an external DVD device if I really need one.

    Loading GRUB from the SD card doesn't slow down the OS as it's then loaded from the SSD and I get to keep all 4 HDD bays as data bays.

    For Virtualisation I'll stick currently with VMWARE workstation - works on CENTOS 7 easily enough - you just need to ensure you have the kernel headers and Gcc compiler installed. You also will need ntfs-3g to read Windows files for any devices you attach via USB's as the ntfs-3g module isn't installed by default (unlike most other Linux distros).

    Response time using OS on SSD is fantastic so I think I'm in business.

    I love these small "Cube shaped" micro servers --just wish HP would have made booting from the ODD device easy instead of having to screw around with a micro SD card - but at least it works fine.

    Thanks everybody for your help.

    (PLEX etc now running brilliantly as well as my VM's using 4 X 4 TB HDD's as data drives).

    Who needs jigsaw puzzles / "meccano" sets etc when we've got these servers to play with - and at prices cheaper than a typical desktop PC.

      My Computer


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