Installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview on Lenovo X220: Boot from VHD

Ok, finally I’ve got this figured out. I’ve tried using Virtual Box 4, VMware Player and both have been unsatisfactory as I couldn’t use the full power of my Lenovo x220 tablet and Windows 8 consumer preview.

Finally I tried out what Scott Hansselman suggests in his blog post out here 
(http://www.hanselman.com/blog/HowToGuideToInstallingAndBootingWindows8ConsumerPreviewOffAVHDVirtualHardDisk.aspx)

Now following the above instructions resulted in my running the Windows 8 Consumer Preview in a virtual machine but with full fidelity, i.e. my Tablet touch screen works, and most importantly my WACOM pen works as well. So if both multi touch and pen support are important for you on your Lenovo x220 tablet, dive right into Scott’s instructions.

One caveat, when going thru Scott’s steps, as outlined in his post, he says in step 2 while loading Windows 8 Consumer Preview to shift to the command prompt and then use Diskpart to load the vhd which one has created earlier. However, what I want to point out here is that while doing this, you might not be able to locate the drive where the vhd is. For e.g. even though I created the VHD on the C drive on my pc, when you go to the command prompt you need to kind of switch between various drive letters to figure out which your original drive is where the Virtual Machine is, and then load it using DiskPart. That was the one place I was a little stumped but my friend Raj Chaudhuri helped me out on this one. So finally I have Windows 8 Consumer Preview loaded completely with full touch and pen support working on my Lenovo Thinkpad x220t tablet.

The best part of booting via VHD is the performance, it is just outstanding.

Additionally, once I loaded up Windows 8 Consumer Preview using the above method, after setup, windows update downloaded updated drivers for the display making the experience so much better.

Btw I’m typing this entire blog post via my Windows 8 Consumer Preview machine using Live Writer which I installed(btw Live Writer required the .net framework 3.5). But absolutely needed Windows Live Writer on my Windows 8 Consumer PC as I’m loving writing about my Windows 8 experience thru Windows 8. Hope this helps. Do share your experience.

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Btw one quick shortcut for those who’re doing screen captures within the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, if you press the Windows key + PrtSc to capture any screen, Windows 8 automatically captures and stores the image in your Pictures folder. Isn’t that just super cool. Totally loving it.

One more thing for the Lenovo x220 users, I’ve noticed that the function keys don’t really work by default except the one for the brightness of the display, i.e. Fn+Home and Fn+End this brightens and dims the display.

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About sanjayshetty

Sanjay Shetty is currently putting the finishing touches on his book, the Brand Advocacy quick start guide, which covers his framework for building a brand advocacy program. He blogs at http://www.sanjayshetty.com
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