Running Windows Guests on Proxmox

In this module, we will look at the optimal way to run Windows guests in our Proxmox home lab
Running Windows Guests on Proxmox
In: Proxmox, Home Lab, Windows
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This page is part of the larger series of converting an old laptop into a bare metal home lab server. Click here to be taken back to the project home page.

Previous Step

Troubleshooting Proxmox
In this module, we will look at various command line utilities to troubleshoot our Proxmox home lab





Best Practices

VirtIO Drivers Download

Add this .iso file to your ISO collection in Proxmox. Some drivers from this disk will be installed on your Windows guests to optimize their performance.

https://fedorapeople.org/groups/virt/virtio-win/direct-downloads/stable-virtio/virtio-win.iso





Disk

SATA is the best for compatibility across Windows hosts. When creating the disk, the following options should be set:

Some options are unique to my environment. Use this as a template.




Network

VirtIO (paravirtualized) will get you the best network performance.
Intel E1000 is a good fallback.





Disc Drives

When creating the VM, you will initially add the OS installation ISO:

Then, add another disc drive containing the VirtIO drivers ISO:

Some options are unique to my environment. Use this as a template.

Your VM's disc drives should look something like this:





Windows ISO Files

We will be getting most ISO files from the Microsoft Evaluation Center. Most of the ISOs you encounter here will have a lifespan of 90 – 180 days of usage. Some say that you can extend beyond the lifespan and the VMs will still function just fine

Windows Server 2019

Fill out the form as indicated below:

  • Please select your experience: ISO
  • Fill out your information (uncheck the box for additional communications)
  • Select your language and click Download

Windows 10 Enterprise

Fill out the form as indicated below:

  • Please select your experience: ISO - Enterprise
  • Fill out your information (uncheck the box for additional communications)
  • Select 64bit and Select your language and click Download

Windows 7

When this page was initially written, these download links — on download.microsoft.com — for Windows 7 were functional. At last check — June 23, 2023 — these links are all dead.

I am leaving the links here in case anyone reading this would like to try and look for them on the Internet Archive.

Wayback Machine




Installation

Injecting VirtIO Drivers

Start the VM and open the NoVNC console. When asked, choose custom installation (just install Windows).

You should see a button to load drivers. Browse the CD on IDE Drive 2.

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You have to load each driver one at a time
  • SCSI Driver: virtioscsi\<operating-system-version>\amd64\vioscsi.inf (64-bit)
  • NIC Driver: NetKVM\<operating-system-version>\amd64\netkvm.inf (64-bit)
  • Ballooning Memory Driver: Balloon\<operating-system-version>\amd64\balloon.inf (64-bit)
Example showing SCSI driver
Example showing NIC driver




Finish Installation

Finish installing the OS. Once on the Windows desktop, install the qemu-guest-agent. Open Windows Explorer, open the CD drive, and install: Guest-agent\qemu-ga-x86_64 (64-bit)

Open Windows Device Manager and check for any missing drivers. My experience has been that Windows generally does a great job of grabbing drivers.

If it is a fresh install, wait a bit to see if Windows Update will download the required drivers.

Looks good! There are no unknown device alert icons.





Next Step

Adding an Active Directory Forest to Our Proxmox Lab
In this module, we will cover the steps to set up a small Active Directory forest in Proxmox, including a domain controller and two client computers
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