I recently upgraded the hardware for my primary workstation and thought it would be an interesting opportunity to use VHD booting. I used the SysInternals P2V utility to write my old disk to a remote VHD. I then ran things from a VM for a while, while I shuffled around my hardware.

Digressing a little, running my workstation from a VM was also a disappointing experience. A BIG problem was iTunes would not connect via a virtual USB connection through remote desktop. Since I don’t sync my address book or calender to to an external website, and sync directly from Outlook to my iPhone, not being able to sync Outlook running in the VM to my physical iPhone was a serious problem, with no easy solution I could find. I don’t see this really nearly as much a VM/remote desktop problem, as an iPhone problem. Previous Mobile Windows phones I owned would sync over a TCP connection and WiFi, and it would make no difference if the hosting OS was on a physical workstation or a VM. Major minus points to Apple for not supporting sync over TCP.

Back to booting from a VHD. The thing that prompted me to write this message was I noticed my Windows Experience Index needed updating for the new hardware configuration. When I ran WinSAT, I did it’s usual crunching, but they reported it could not continue because I was booted from a VHD. My Windows backups, which I think ran fine in a  VM, also no longer work when booted from a VHD.  Some online research seems to point to a problem with VSS.

So, it looks like I will have to migrate my system back onto a local machine running a local physical disk if I want everything to work correctly. Two steps forward, and two steps back.