Programming and Technology blog

The Hyper-V n00b Experience

So decided to take my new server for a spin and try out the Hyper-V role.  I have a couple of vhd files (Virtual Hard Drives) kicking around circa Virtual PC days and I figured that I would try and “convert” them to Hyper-V.  I ended up finding several articles that say “you can do this” but you need to do xxx steps to do it.  All I have to say is don’t bother, I found that I spent as much time trying to get a copy of the XP SP3 IE7 testing VM to work as it would doing a fresh install of XP w/SP3 slip-streamed which is what I ended up doing in the end.  There are countless articles on how to setup a Hyper-V VM out there so I will only give you my observations/tips on how I ended up installing some guest OS’s.

In General

  • Mount an ISO rather than use a CD/DVD as your install media, it seems to go faster
  • XP needs SP3 or the Integration Services will not install
  • Vista needs SP1 or the Integration Services will not install (you will get an error "you need a newer verison to continue")
  • Brush up on your Windows keyboard shortcuts
  • If you are RDPing into your server to create VM’s and you connect to the VM using the VM Connection app don’t be surprised if your response time for the guest OS UI is brutal (especially Vista).  Turning off the visuals does help but not as much as you would think
  • Somtimes it seems that you have lost control of the keyboard during an install (or even in the OS), you actually have not the carat | is just not visible, try typing anyway.  This may happen untill you install the Integration Services.

Installing XP w/SP3

  • During the install you will get to the “Windows will now automatically setup your screen resolution” dialog box.  What may happen here is the dialog box goes out of focus leaving you without anyway possible to click on the Ok button.  Why?  Well because you have not installed the Integration Services yet and that means no mouse support and limited keyboard access.  ALT-CTR-TAB does not work (flipping between open windows in the VM) so what do you do?  Well the easies thing to do is just turn off the VM and restart it again.  You will get the “Windows did not shut down properly” prompt but no big deal, just start in Normal Mode.

Installing Vista w/SP1

  • Add the legacy network adapter for the Vista install just in case your network adapter does not work (like mine, an Intel no less) if you are going to access the network when installing
  • Make sure you have a copy of Vista with SP1, trying to update your VM with this will take a long time, especially using windows update and the legacy network adapter.
  • When RDP into host server and using the VM Connection app the response times for the guest OS UI would take at least 10 seconds (or more) for anything to happen from the time you hit the keyboard till the OS responded.  I am not sure what to make of this as my configured VM had 2GB of memory and 2 virtual processors (see my hardware specs).

The weirdness I had with the slow response times in the guest OS using the VM Connection app still baffle me since I cannot figure out why it was like that.  I have run VMs in Virtual PC under a RDP connection in the same manner and the response times (while not stellar) were way better than this.  RDPing into each guest OS it worked like it was installed on an actual physical box, which is probably the whole point of virtualizing in the first place.

All in all both VM’s did get installed and I had a chance to fool around with Hyper-V some.  While I have used Virtual PC and Virtual Server quite a bit in the past, the Hyper-V management console and creating VM’s using it was a vast improvement over the clunky Virtual Server UI.  I can see MS creating trial versions of their products on pre installed vhd’s to be run under Hyper-V in the not to distant future.  It would be a pretty slick way to try out the product without having to waste time installing it if you just want to give it a spin and not worry about configuration.


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