Windows 2003 guest best practices

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Revision as of 12:56, 6 October 2016 by Emmanuel Kasper (talk | contribs) (remove recommendation of disabling windows disk cache based on the fact taht host has a page cache, which is wrong while our default is no cache)
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This is a set of best practices to follow when installing a Windows 2003 guest on a Proxmox VE server. Right now it's a work in progress, written by a Proxmox noob but hopefully soon it will be a comprehensive and reliable document. Please feel free to add to it, even if just to pose a potential best practice.

Power settings

  • In order for the Windows 2003 guest to shutdown cleanly in the event of a shutdown on the Proxmox VE host you need to:
  1. enable (Start -> Run -> secpol.msc -> "Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options")
    1. "Shutdown: Allow system to be shut down without having to log on".
    2. "Interactive logon: Do not require CTRL+ALT+DEL"
  2. disable logon screen screensaver using regedit


[HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop]

  • Optional: It may also be useful to set Shutdown Warning Dialog Timeout. This can be done with the following .reg file

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows]

Alternatively you can you can use the following adm template to apply it via GPO

	CATEGORY "otherSystem"
	KEYNAME "SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows"
		POLICY "Shutdown Warning Dialog Timeout"
		KEYNAME "SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows"
		VALUENAME "ShutdownWarningDialogTimeout"
			PART "Shutdown Warning Dialog Timeout" NUMERIC
			KEYNAME "SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows"
			VALUENAME "ShutdownWarningDialogTimeout"
			MIN 0
			MAX 9999

NOTE: For this policy to be visible in the Group Policy Object Editor the Only show policy settings that can be fully managed filter must be unchecked.


raw vs qcow2

Raw file format provides better performance while qcow2 offers advanced features such as copy on write and snapshots.

virtio storage drivers

Use virtio dirvers for best performance. See

UNTESTED: sparse disk

Use a utility like SDelete to zero out a drive and take advantage of ext3's sparse file handling.


E1000 NIC

Use e1000 NIC. It's stable and performs well. BUT only with the latest drivers from Intel, download from! (If you use the integrated drivers, the device manager shows a working NIC, but it does not.)

Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2 ships with drivers that do work, but the ones from intel are newer.


Use virtio driver as these are kept updated by Fedora virtio NIC drivers need to be loaded post install & can be found here : Information on install can be found here :

Note: the latest VirtIO iso do not include drivers for Windows 2003. You need to download an older version.

Packet Capture Fix

I highly recommend to add this regfix ( in english). HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Class\{4D36E972-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\00xx where you need to search for your network card an add a DWORD "MonitorModeEnabled"="1". ControlSet001 can be CurrentControlSet.

KVM Network Performance

Apply the changes mentioned on the KVM Windows TCP/IP Performance page.

Clock Drift

If you have any problems with the time on your VM drifting, please see the Guest Time Drift document.

Page File Settings

This is a placeholder as I'm not sure what the optimum page file settings are. My guess is that it's best to create a small static page file and assign plenty of RAM.

Sources and further reading

Windows 2012 guest best practices

Windows 2008 guest best practices