Installing Windows Server 2003 in a “Viridian” VM

Earlier this week, I posted instructions on how to install the "Viridian" CTP on Windows Server 2008 RC0. VMs aren’t very useful unless you can install an operating system in them, so I thought that today’s post should center on doing just that. As you may have guessed from the title, today we’re going to talk about installing Windows Server 2003.

Before we begin, you should make sure that you’ve created an external virtual network switch. See yesterday’s post for details on how to do that. You should also have a Windows Server 2003 CD or CD Image (which I’ll refer to as an ISO from now on) handy. Ideally, you’ll have SP2 integrated into the installation media, but if you don’t, we’ll take a trip to Windows Update later on.

A Brief Introduction to the New VM Wizard

Ben Armstrong is going to go over this in more detail in a future post, so I’m just going to run through this at a pretty quick pace, and not go into detail about all of the available options.

To create a new VM:

1. Click Start / Administrative Tools / Windows Virtualization Management .

2. In the left-hand pane, make sure that your "Viridian" server is selected. If it’s not in the list, right-click on "Virtualization Services" and add it.

3. In the right-hand pane, click New / Virtual Machine.

4. The first page is just informational. Feel free to instruct the system not to show this to you again. Click next.

5. Name your VM something that works for you – I typically name it after the operating system I have installed. For the purposes of today’s post, let’s name it Windows Server 2003 SP2. Click next.

6. Set the amount of memory that you want to allocate to the VM. 512 MB will be fine, but the more memory you throw at a VM, the better it performs. If you can spare 1024 MB or more, do it. Click next.

7. Choose the name of the Virtual Switch you created that connects you to the external network. Click next.

8. Choose a name for your new Virtual Hard Disk. By default, it will be the same as the VM name. Click next.

9. Choose Install an operating system from a bootable CD/DVD-ROM.
If you have a physical Windows Server 2003 CD, put it in your physical CD-ROM drive on the host, and choose Physical CD/DVD drive: , and select the corresponding host drive.
If you have an ISO image of your CD, choose Image file, and enter the path to the ISO file, or browse to it using the Browse button. Click next.

10. Do *not* put a checkmark in the box to start the VM once we’re finished – we have some other configuration to do. Click Finish.

11. Select the guest we’ve just created from the list of available guests. From the right-hand pane, choose Settings.

12. Make sure that Add Hardware is selected in the left-hand pane, and choose Legacy Network Adapter from the list on the right. Click Add.

13. From the list of possible Networks to connect to, choose the name of the Virtual Switch that connects you to the external network. Click Apply / OK to close the settings dialog.

"Now, hold on a second, Mike. I already added a network adapter that’s connected to that switch. Why am I doing this twice?" you might ask. That’s an excellent question. The first network adapter that we added during the New Virtual Machine Wizard is called a synthetic NIC. The Legacy Network Adapter that we just added now is called an emulated NIC.

I’ll go into the details of what the differences between emulated and synthetic devices are in a future post, but we’re doing this because Windows Server 2003 doesn’t have a driver for the synthetic NIC until we install the Integration Components, or ICs. And to install the ICs, you need to have SP2 applied to your Windows Server 2003 installation.

After we install SP2, we’ll remove the emulated NIC. Or, if you’ve got SP2 integrated into your installation media, feel free to skip this entire step.

14. Click Connect to connect to the guest, and click Start to start it (it’s the second button from the left in the Virtual Machine Connection window). Windows Server 2003 installation will launch just like it would on a physical machine. I’m going to make the assumption that everyone knows how to install Windows, so I’ll skip describing that. Once you’ve installed Windows, move on to step 15.

15. Ok, you’re now running Windows Server 2003 in your VM – well done! Before we install the ICs, we’ll need to install SP2. Please take a trip (or rather… take several trips) to Windows Update to make sure that you have all the patches and service packs applied.

16. And now we come to the installation of the ICs. To install these drivers, press the CTRL-ALT-Left Arrow key combination to un-capture your mouse from the guest OS.

17. Click Action / Insert Integration Services Setup Disk. This will automatically insert the "CD" containing the setup files for the ICs into your guest’s virtual CD-ROM drive. The setup program will autorun. Reboot the VM when asked.

18. After a reboot or two, the ICs will be installed and you’ll have handy features like Mouse Integration, which will allow you to move your mouse between the guest and host without having to hit the CTRL-ALT-Left arrow key combination. (I’ll highlight some of the other features that the ICs give you in a future post.)

19. If you installed the emulated NIC, you can safely remove it now. To do that, shut down your guest OS, and go back into the settings dialog where we originally added it. Select it from the list of virtual hardware on the left, and click the Remove button. Click Apply/OK to remove the emulated NIC and close the settings dialog.

There are you have it – you’ve got Windows Server 2003 SP2 installed in a "Viridian" Virtual Machine.