Windows Phone 8 Emulator in a Windows 8 VHD
Note: This is a community entry in the Windows Phone 8 Wiki Competition 2012Q4
This article explains how to setup a Windows Phone 8 emulator inside a Windows 8 VHD.
Windows Phone 8
If you want to try out the Windows Phone 8 SDK without removing your current Windows 7, here is one way to do it.
If you bought a computer only a year or two with Windows 7 64-bit installed, it probably works fine and you have programs used often and others once in a while. Sometimes you want to keep the system for a variety of reasons. You can still use Windows 8 VHD and try out Windows Phone 8 SDK and the emulator. In Windows Phone 7 version, this cannot be done according to some people who tried since the emulator is a virtual machine itself and it cannot be hosted inside another virtual machine.
Scott Hanselman has a blog entry about booting Windows 8 on real hardware from a virtual disk http://www.hanselman.com/blog/GuideToInstallingAndBootingWindows8DeveloperPreviewOffAVHDVirtualHardDisk.aspx. The blog has pictures of Windows 8 Developer Preview but the steps work fine for the RTM version with an ISO burned on a DVD (64-bit). Once you have this you can use both Windows 7 and Windows 8 Pro on the same PC as multiple boots at the startup. Other than a VHD file in your hard disk, there are no additional programs to be installed in your Windows 7. Most PCs bought in recent years have the capability to do so without adding memory or software.
The next step is to check if the hypervisor is enabled in Windows 8. In the Start screen, type Control to get to the Control Panel. Under Program and Features, click Turn Windows features on or off. If Hyper-V is not checked and is not greyed out, make sure it is checked. Restart the computer.
Download the Windows Phone 8 SDK and install it. Test the emulator with a quick app. Without a physical phone, this is a good way to kick some tires. The system I setup was on a Lenono IdeaPad Y570 (Intel Core i7) with Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium. Deleting the VHD and the boot entry, you have your orignal system.