OK, I lied – it’s not possible to do it without installing anything. But most people would go down the route of re-partitioning their disks or adding a second disk just to install Windows Server 2008 R2. This method adds a single file to your system and updates your boot configuration database.
Most IT Professionals would love to try out new software features and/or learn how to use new products - but have limited access to hardware. This approach lets you use one machine for two purposes (Work & “Play” – where “Play” = learning), is easy to do and does not affect your work files.
Most laptops will need you to go into a BIOS based boot loader (F12 is the most common key).
Step through the Windows Server installation until you get to the “Where do you want to install Windows?” dialog (this is a Custom installation – NOT an Upgrade).
Exit DISKPART and close the command prompt.
Click Refresh and you will now see your VHD file appear as an additional disk drive:
Select this drive and proceed with the installation.
You can ignore the warning (Windows cannot be installed to this disk).
When the installation is complete you have a dual boot machine, with Windows Server 2008 R2 booting from VHD.
Quickly go into System settings and set your default operating system (the one you want your laptop to boot to without your input).
Dave have you tried using the software called "wintoflash" its the easiest way to make usb bootable version of windows
I'm assuming that "Type CREATE VDISK FILE=”D:\R2.VHD” TYPE=EXPANDABLE MAXIMUM=2048" in step 4 is a typo, and should be "...MAXIMUM=20480" as you say further down "(20GB is plenty to evaluate Windows Server 2008 R2)."