How to deploy Nano on Physical – Part 2 of deployment Series


Part 1 — Nano Server Creation
Part 2 — How to deploy Nano on Physical
Part 3 — How to setup Hyper-V host in Nano Server
Part 4 — How to create Hyper-V cluster

DISCLAIMER: Starting with a 1709 update, Microsoft has shifted Nano Server from being a compact server option to an optimized container image and will continue to improve it in this direction only. Please refer to release notes for more details.

In the part 1 of the Nano Server Deployment series we've created a new Nano Server image.

We can now can use the generated VHDX image for booting on physical computers. There are several ways to do this. We can use, for example, System Center 2012/2012 R2/2016 – Virtual Machine Manager for bare metal deployment, or we can use the bcdboot command to configure boot from VHD/VHDX on that machine. In my case, I will use bcdboot.

For a fresh server, you should copy the VHDX with Nano Server to a USB stick. Then boot the new server with Windows Server 2016 ISO and choose Repair your computer > Troubleshoot > Command prompt.

Nano Server physical deployment
Nano Server physical deployment
Nano Server physical deployment

The next steps are to create the partition, assign a logical letter and format the boot partition where the VHDX will be stored. Diskpart can help with this.


select disk 0

create partition primary


assign letter=C

format c: /q

Nano Server physical deployment

You can now can copy the VHDX file from the USB stick to the C drive (for example, copy e:\nano_srv.vhdx c:\).

We complete the process with mounting our vhdx file:


select vdisk file=”c:\nano_srv.vhdx”

attach vdisk

list volume (To verify where our vdisk is mounted, f: drive, in my case)


Nano Server physical deployment 5

We will now prepare the VHDX for booting:


cd windows\system32

bcdboot f:\windows

Finally, some cleaning details:


select vdisk file=”c:\nano_srv.vhdx”

detach vdisk


Nano Server physical deployment

The server can be rebooted now. When Nano Server starts, you should be able to logon with the domain credentials.

Nano Server physical deployment

At this stage, you should be able to ping Nano Server by name, browse shares and add it to Hyper-V Manager. In the next part, we will configure our Nano Server.

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Mariusz Rybusinski
Mariusz Rybusinski
Mariusz works as a Veeam Senior Sales Engineer, based in Poland. Microsoft MVP for Cloud and Datacenter Management. He has more than 15 years of IT experience and supports the biggest technology projects in managing and securing virtual environments in Central Eastern Europe. He comes from Microsoft, where he worked with Private and Public Cloud topics environments. His specialization is datacenter infrastructure, which is supported by multiple certifications: MCT, MSCE: Private Cloud, MCITP, MCTS, VCP6 and VMCE.
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