Windows VirtIO Drivers

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Introduction

VirtIO Drivers are paravirtualized drivers for kvm/Linux (see http://www.linux-kvm.org/page/Virtio). A quite extended explanation about VirtIO drivers can be found here http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/library/l-virtio.

In short, they enable direct (paravirtualized) access to device and peripherals to virtual machines using them, instead of slower, emulated, ones.

At the moment this kind of devices are supported:

KVM Guest OS Support Status, far all OS/platforms, can be found here: http://www.linux-kvm.org/page/Guest_Support_Status

Usually using VirtIO drivers you can maximize performances, but this depends on the availability and status of guest VirtIO drivers for your guest OS and platform.

Windows OS support

While recent Linux kernels already have those drivers so any distribution, running in a kvm VM, should recognize virtio devices exposed by the kvm hypervisor, all current Windows OS need special drivers to use virtio devices. Microsoft does not provide them, so someone kindly managed to make virtio drivers available also for windows systems.

See

Following info on those page you can find:

Packaged sets of drivers

Each of those "packaged" sets of drivers available is labelled with a numeric release, and differs by features & bugs as it improves through the time.

Most recent set is virtio-win-0.1-74, with updates to virtio drivers as of 16 Oct 2013.

Previous versions could still be useful when, as it happens, some Windows VM shows instability or incompatibility with latest drivers set.

See also Windows_VirtIO_Drivers/Changelog