Paravirtualized Block Drivers for Windows

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Introduction

In order to improve disk performance, special paravirtualized block drivers can be installed in Windows guests (also network device drivers exist, see Paravirtualized_Network_Drivers_for_Windows).

The KVM project released drivers for Windows Guests (http://www.linux-kvm.org/page/WindowsGuestDrivers/Download_Drivers) The drivers could work with a variety of Microsoft recent OSs, 32 and 64 bits.

KVM Guest Support Status can be found here: http://www.linux-kvm.org/page/Guest_Support_Status

Download drivers

Download the latest kvm-driver-disc (ISO) from linux-kvm.org ISO to your Proxmox VE server. Later you will need to make this ISO available as CD device in your guest VM in PVE.

Installation

The target is to make Windows install virtio drivers for all of its disks. There could be more strategies to accomplish this task:

Adding a temporary drive

see (http://www.linux-kvm.com/content/redhat-54-windows-virtio-drivers-part-2-block-drivers)

The base Windows OS in your guest VM knows nothing about virtio drivers, and for this reason you can't simply stop the VM, change the disk to virtio and reboot. You have to force Windows to install virtio drivers for a virtio disk (provided by PVE), how? Adding a temporary, small, virtio disk to the VM, then booting Windows and make it recognize a new disk, and ask you the drivers (which, at that moment, it doesn't know of.

  • Prerequisite: the Base Windows OS should be already running (IDE drives, usually)
  • Shut down the VM and, from PVE and:
    • add a small virtio disk to the VM through PVE web interface
    • add the ISO just downloaded as a CD device through PVE web interface
    • Make shure that the primary boot device is still the old (IDE) boot disk, not the new virtio disk, through PVE web interface.
  • Boot the VM and log in as a local administrator
  • Window should detect it has a new unknown device and ask you for its drivers:
    • Select No when the wizard asks you to search for the driver software
    • Select “install from a list of specific location” .
    • Select the Browse button and navigate to the driver CD
    • Select the appropriate folder for your guest architecture. (My test was done with a windows 2003 r2 32 bit guest).
  • Click Next to begin the install.You will get a prompt warning about the driver not being signed. Go ahead and select “Continue Anyway”.

During windows installation

This may be possible somehow, see: