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I have been experimenting with virtual machines and I am trying to figure out if their is a way to create a limited instance of Windows from your own version you are running?

An example would be that you are running windows 7 and you would like to create another instance that has just the limited amount of files and registry it needs to run. So basically an empty instance of Windows created from the host system that can be ran in a guest system in a Virtual Machine.

I know most of you would just say why not install a new copy of Windows in it but I am creating an application that uses a vm and needs to run an instance of windows, although due to licensing I wouldn't be able to include a copy of windows in the application.

Is there any software that can create an instance from your own that can be recommended? I know that their is a few that allow you to make full clones of the operating system and it adds it to a Virtual Image to run in a VM but the only issue with that is it copies the whole system and not just necessary windows files so the images are way to big and it wouldn't be feasible.

I am thinking maybe an alternative is to grab a fresh copy of each OS and creating a script to map out the file system and registry and copy all files. So I know which ones it needs to run.

EDIT: Well after some more research I found software to create live CDs with the bare minimum and that it is actually very easy. This is exactly what I need. Although so far I have seen you need to create them from the windows install disc so does anyone know about creating them without it and using the file system/ registry?

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I think you'd get into "am I sure I got everything issues. How can you test you have everything you need? –  Rich Homolka Mar 4 '13 at 19:11
    
Well after some more research I found software to create live Cds with the bare minimum. This is exactly what I need. Although so far I have seen you need to create them from the windows install disc. –  user1632018 Mar 4 '13 at 19:24
    
The reason you're required to create them from the installation disc is that once Windows is installed the selected HAL and hardware-specific drivers would most likely caused BSODs if you attempt to load the image on dissimilar physical or virtual hardware. You might be able to image, use SysPrep and get rid of non-essential files, but I'm not sure if it'll work. Time to experiment! –  Karan Mar 4 '13 at 19:43

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