hyper-v: vhd vs vhdx, dynamic vs fixed

Over the last week I’ve installed win8 about 10 times trying to get the right combination. Some things I’ve found out:

  • use vhd, 32-bit and memory less than 2048Mb if you want your drive to run on virtualpc – however I never got mine working and I tried creating it on virtualpc and going over to hyper-V on win8, as well as the other way round
  • for 4G RAM, my win8pro installation needed at least 24Gb, otherwise it ran out of space on a fixed drive. right now I am using 60Gb dynamic drive
  • it says that fixed drives are faster than dynamic. however there are studies out there that show dynamic can be faster than fixed and that the differences are not huge. go dynamic – it saves you a lot of time
  • if you want to install virtual machine and disk on an external drive and want to encrypt it, truecrypt does not work – use bitlocker. bitlocker works across win7 as well as win8. however sometimes if you install a fixed drive with an external cd drive, then my dell xps12 lost the handle to both external drives and then got into a terrible state thinking the external drive was corrupted
  • if you don’t have a week to spare, use dynamic drives, not fixed. dynamic drives format right away, whereas fixed take time (which opens up the problem described above
  • do not use fixed and then convert to dynamic – it does not work. nor does creating a new dyanmic drive and copying it
  • install the build (custom, rather than update – update does not work), boot into windows, then rerun the setup.exe. at some point it should ask to download updates (to the install process). that should allow you to install the 54 updates… btw you know this has worked as it should now tell you how much it is downloaded more frequently than 1 update after 20 minutes… it takes 30 minutes to download the 54 updates over a 100MB/s connection and 1 hour to install. Once installed, shut down and copy/paste the vdhx to get a copy.
  • when installing updates make sure you dont install all 55 at the same time (if using build 9200 on 25 August). also if you don’t know the hack about deleting “software distribution” directory – learn it. If you do want to install all 55, then be prepared for windows to not look like it is doing anything for 30 minutes. All told, I would go through cycles of 2 hours with updates, only to find it fail at the last point
  • if you do hit problems, then the windows update troubleshooter is very useful. aftre running, you can install a new patch rightaway, without having to restart