Installing the Windows Server 2008 R2 RC on a Lenovo ThinkPad T61p

ws2008 r2 blog logo Windows 7 sure got the attention of a lot of you this week, but let’s not forget big brother, Windows Server 2008 R2 also shipped the release candidate.  Considering Hyper-V is a core tool for me and many of you, I was eager to download and install the RC bits on my Lenovo ThinkPad T61p.

The good news is that many of the core drivers you’ll want, install directly from the Windows Server 2008 R2 RC DVD.  These drivers are known as “inbox” drivers.  A couple of drivers will also flow off the servers.

There is one notable exception.  The video driver doesn’t install from the DVD and doesn’t flow off the servers.  That was a little disappointing because it means you have to do some work to get all of the eye candy.  Heck, even if you have no plans to turn on Aero, you’ll still want the video driver for multimon support.  With all of that in mind, here are the steps I went through in order to establish my new Hyper-V v2.0 demo environment:

  1. Install Windows Server 2008 R2.  My machine is connected to my GigE backbone via the T61p ethernet adaptor.
  2. From R2, use IE8 to go to
  3. Install the MU Catalog ActiveX control.
  4. Search for “NVIDIA Quadro FX 570M”.
  5. Click the Last Update column heading to sort in descending order.
  6. The Windows 7 RC driver you want is currently the fourth item in the list.  It’s the driver dated 2/25/2009, version with a file size of 79.8 MB.  That’s the 64 bit driver you’ll need for R2 and your T61p.  Add it to your basket.
  7. Click view basket in the top right portion of your screen under the Search field.
  8. Click the download button.  Most likely you’ll need to enable popups for this site.
  9. Click the Browse button and pick a folder to download the goods into.
  10. Click the Continue button.  Downloading should automatically commence.
  11. Click the Close button when the download completes. You are done with this site for now.
  12. You’ll notice that a directory named “NVIDIA driver update for NVIDIA Quadro FX 570M (Prerelease - WDDM 1.1)” is created in the folder you specified in step 9 above.  Double click the folder name.
  13. Double click the .CAB file in the folder.
  14. Select all files.
  15. Right mouse the files and extract them to a new folder.  For example, use c:\temp.
  16. Run c:\temp\setup.exe
  17. Restart after the installation is complete.
  18. At this point you have video and ethernet networking.  You could go right to installing the Hyper-V role at this point, but I install some other features first to allow me to do Camtasia screen captures and such.  With that in mind, launch Server Manager.
  19. Install the Desktop Experience and Wireless LAN Service features.
  20. Restart when prompted.
  21. After the reboot and subsequent launch of Server Manager, you should see it report success for the installation of both features.  This is a good time to connect to a wireless network if desired.
  22. Start | Admin Tools | Services
  23. Start the Themes service and set it to automatic.
  24. Right mouse click your desktop and select the Personalize menu item.
  25. Click the Windows 7 Aero theme.  This should turn on Aero glass.  However, the machine is set for performance not appearance, so you will want to tweak that for full eye candy.  Assuming of course you want that for a personal Windows Server 2008 R2 install.  You would never do that on a real server.
  26. Start | Right mouse click Computer | select Properties.
  27. Click Advanced system settings in the top left portion of the screen.  You can also get to this a variety of other ways.
  28. Click the Settings button.  I am assuming you are on the Advanced tab at this point.
  29. On the Visual Effect tab, click the “Adjust for best appearance” radio button.  This turns on full eye candy and of course takes some of the performance from your system. 
  30. Install the Hyper-V role.
  31. If you want audio, turn on the Windows Audio service.

Some of you will likely want to install the other banged out drivers and try to make Windows Server 2008 R2 your daily workstation environment.  I have no intention of doing that.  I use Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise for that.  Enjoy your new Hyper-V virtual machine execution environment!!!