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> I'm not sure how I'm going to explain it to the IT department if I ever have to get the laptop repaired though.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding your setup, but could you not clone the Windows VM partitions to the old M.2 drive (I'm assuming you kept it), swap it back into the machine, make it bare metal bootable, and hand it to IT like that? That way your larger M.2 drive with your whole setup stays safe and secure, and IT is none the wiser.

You are right in essence, but there are a couple of complications:

- If the laptop is broken beyond use, I won't be able to write to the M.2 and I don't have an external M.2 enclosure (and the most likely fix here would be to switch out the drive to an equivalent laptop, then try and boot it up)

- I actually tried writing the image back to the M.2 at the weekend, and it it wouldn't boot, Windows had some error about a required device not being connected on one of those bootup BSODs

Thanks for the follow up. For your second point, my experience has been that you can fix booting when writing a Windows VM partition to a real drive but it involves some BCD black magic and doesn’t always work. Windows 10 in particular has given me issues when trying to do that but it’s fairly straightforward in Windows 7. This guide is written from the perspective of going the opposite direction (real HD to VHD) but it’s basically the same procedure:


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