/ BLOG / [Not really] booting from USB in MS Virtual Server

Many virtualisation suites for the desktop won’t let you reliably boot from physical disks, if at all. Virtualbox and Vmware spring to mind instantly. I also only use these on the laptop, rather than my desktop, so I started fiddling about 15 minutes ago to see if I can get what I want done with MSVSR2SP1.

Turns out it’s actually quite easily done, although at the end of the day I wasn’t strictly booting from the USB device itself, but an image of it which can also be acheived with almost all other packages.

  1. Create a Linked Disk in the MSVSR2SP1 web console. You need to make sure that you’ve not got the device mounted (i.e. no drive letter - remove it from under the disk management MMC in the usual way)
  2. Next Inspect the vhd you’ve just created, then select convert to dynamic disk.
  3. Wait a few minutes and you’re done. You can then link this to any VM you want.
The reason you can’t directly link the USB is that it’s “unsupported”, like so many other virtualisation solutions.

My goal? To test my customised bootable USB pendrive I’ve been carrying around. Turns out integrating DBAN and your regular bootable linux pendrive is actually quite easy, if you’re using syslinux (much easier than I imagined). Now I just need to learn more about squashfs and getting what I want in it.