.VHD and .WIM files
E2B, agFM and Ventoy (with an added plug-in file) can directly boot from certain types of .WIM, .VHD and VHDX files.
- Use ‘Fixed-size’ VHDs – BitLocker VHDs are not supported (use a .imgPTN file instead).
- Dynamic VHDs may work, however the E2B USB drive must have enough free space (e.g. a 10GB dynamic VHD which has an expanded size of 30GB will need 20GB of free space on the E2B drive or the boot will fail). Dynamic VHD/VHDX files are prone to corruption, can fill up your E2B USB drive and are not recommended.
- XP-based .WIM files are not supported.
- VHDs should have a single partition.
- Copy them to a menu folder, e.g. \_ISO\WIN or \_ISO\WINPE (not \ISO\WINDOWS\xxxx folders).
- .WIM and .VHD files do not need to be contiguous (VHDX files must have a .VHD file extension)
- NT6-based WinPE/Vista/7/8/10 etc. (non-XP) fixed-type .WIM, .VHD and .VHDX files are supported.
- NT6-based dynamic VHDX files may work if given a .VHD file extension (must be enough free space on USB drive for expansion)
- For XP-based .VHD files (with added Firadisk driver), change the extension to .VHDBOOT (also try .VHDFIRA).
- For 32-bit XP or Win7, try .VHDFIRA or .VHDBOOT file extension (depends on how VHD was made).
- If you have reliability problems with Windows 7 VHDs then convert them to a NTFS .imgPTN file and ensure that the .VHD, \bootmgr and \boot\BCD files are present inside the .imgPTN file. Use BootIce to configure the BCD if required.
- For VHD’s which first load grub4dos (look for \grldr file) – use .VHDGRLDR.
- Can be on the 2nd or 3rd partition if you create a .mnu file.
- E2B allows for spaces in filenames and file extension suffixes (e.g. WinPE 10 (64-bit).wim64ncq). Ventoy only recognises .VHD\.VHDX file extensions.
If you have activation problems, try a different file extension or convert to .imgPTN file and add \bootmgr and \boot folders.
Note: A Windows 8.1 version of bootmgr is required to be in the \_ISO\e2b\grub\DPMS\NTBOOT.MOD folder (the Make_E2B.exe utility will try to add it automatically). E2B will warn you if it is missing or it is not a compatible version. You can obtain the correct version from inside a Microsoft Windows 8.1 installation ISO file. You can instead run “\_ISO\docs\Make_E2B_USB_Drive\Add_Bootmgr_to_E2B_drives.cmd” to add the correct version of bootmgr to your E2B drives (requires internet access).
Tip: Make a .txt file using \_ISO\TXT_Maker.exe for your .VHD or .WIM file – you can tick ‘Only display if 64-bit‘ if it is a 64-bit OS so that it will not be listed in the E2B menu on 32-bit systems.
To set up a BitLocker Windows To Go MBR-boot OS, see here. If the file is on the second E2B partition, create a .mnu file:
iftitle [if exist (hd0,1)/Win7Ult.VHD] Windows 7 Ultimate VHD\nBoot to Windows 7 VHD (bd)/%grub%/QRUN.g4b (hd0,1)/Win7Ult.VHDboot
For UEFI-booting of VHD and WIM files, you must make a FAT32 .imgPTN file which contains all the required UEFI boot files and BCD file. A 2nd partition image can contain the large (>4GB) VHD or WIM file (on an NTFS partition). Must use Fixed Disk USB drive (or later Win10 OS VHD/WIM which will work with either type)1. Drag-and-drop a folder containing the UEFI boot files onto the MPI_FAT32 shortcut – name MyVHD.imgptn.2. Drag-and-drop a folder containing the VHD file (or WIM file) onto the MPI_NTFS shortcut – name MyVHD.3. Boot to E2B and select .imgPTN file (or use SWITCH_E2B.exe) – you will now see…
PTN1 – FAT32 containing the EFI folder and other Windows boot files, etc.
PTN3 – NTFS containing large VHD or WIM file.4. Use BootIce – BCD editor to configure BCD to load VHD\WIM on 2nd partition.
Note that for BitLocker encrypted VHDs, you must specify the exact drive and partition that the VHD file is located on (you can use the ‘LOCATE’) option. Also, if using BootIce, you must use v1.3.4 or later and click on the >>> button to ensure that the MBR: BitLocker option is set.