Install virtio drivers on Windows Systems

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Microsoft Windows systems are usually installed with full virtualization using the default settings on KVM hypervisors. Hardware like network interfaces has to be emulated by the KVM hypervisor using the hardware emulator Qemu.

The VirtIO interface allows the direct usage of network and storage devices for a virual machine on the KVM hypervisor. It significantly improves the performance and is comparable to paravirtualization on XEN.

Univention Corporate Server (UCS) 2.4 already comes with the VirtIO drivers that are recognized and installed during the course of installation.

For Microsoft Windows, the drivers have to be setup during the installation. The following instruction describes the installation of the VirtIO drivers as an example for Microsoft Windows 7:

  • Starting with UCS 2.4-4, the virtIO device drivers are included in UCS.
  • Using the pre-configured Windows 7 profile a virtual machine has to be created. A floppy drive has to be created that is assigned the existing image KVM Windows drivers (virtio 1.1.16).vfd. Additionally a hard disk needs to be created and a DVD drive setup with an ISO image of the Windows 7 installation DVD.
  • The created hard disk partition has to be edited in UVMM by going to the virtual machine to the section DrivesEdit and activate the checkbox for paravirtual drive.
  • The network interface has to be edited as well going to Network interfacesEdit. The driver has to be changed to Paravirtual device (virtio).
  • The initial steps during the installation of the Windows system take place as usual. A warning appears during hard disk partitioning and states that no mass storage could be found. This is not an error because the VirtIO drivers are necessary. The VirtIO drivers can be installed in the same menu with Load drivers. The Red Hat virtIO SCSI Controller has to be chosen for Windows 7 (and for Windows 2003 and Windows 2008 respectively) and the Red Hat virtIO Ethernet Adapter for the Windows 2008 variation, which is also compatible with Windows 7. After the device drivers have been installed, the mass storage is available in the Windows installer and the installation of Microsoft Windows can be continued.
  • After completing the installation the device devices Red Hat virtIO SCSI Disk Device and Red Hat virtIO Ethernet Adapter can be found in the Windows device manager.
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