Windows XP Guest Notes
This page is a collection of notes for configuring and performance tuning Windows XP guest virtual machines.
Use VirtIO Drivers
When you build an XP guest VM, chances are you used the IDE driver to get up and running right away. The IDE driver works OK for locally stored VMs, but performance will degrade significantly when accessing disk files over the network. Below are (rough) steps to switching to the virtio drivers in a Windows XP guest.
- Build your Windows XP VM using the IDE disk driver and the rtl8139 NIC driver. These are both recognized by default on Windows XP.
- Boot the XP VM and verify that Internet access works.
- Download and install wincdemu inside the XP guest.
- Download the latest virtio-win iso from Fedora's server into the Windows XP VM.
- Shut down the XP VM.
- In the Proxmox web admin, click on the VM, and then on it's Hardware tab.
- Add an ethernet device, and select virtio as the model.
- Add a hard disk, select qcow2 (faster creation than raw) as the format and virtio as the bus.
- Boot into the XP VM.
- The "found new hardware wizard" should appear. Leave this window open, you need to mount the virtio driver iso first.
- Locate the virtio iso, right-click on it and click Select drive letter & mount. It defaults to the V: drive - click OK.
- Go back to the "found new hardware wizard". Click next and verify its looking for the ethernet controller. Point the drivers to
V:\NetKVM\XP\<arch>(where <arch> is either amd64 or x86). Finish the driver installation, click Continue when asked if you want to install an unsigned driver.
- Go through the same process for the virtio scsi controller. Drivers are in
V:\viostor\WXp\<arch>(it looks like only x86 is currently available, as of 2011-01-13).
- Shut down the XP VM.
- Delete the second (virtio) disk and remove it (it's not needed).
- Delete the primary IDE disk (doesn't actually delete it, it just removes it from being used by the VM).
- Add a new hard disk, and in the lower section, choose the original IDE disk file. Change the bus to virtio and save it.
- Boot the XP VM.
- You may be prompted to install the virtio storage driver again. Do so.
- Reboot the XP VM to ensure that your virtio drivers are working without issue.
Shrinking Qcow2 Disk Files
Over time the *.qcow2 disk files can grow larger than the actual data stored within them. This can also happen faster if you defragment the drives within the XP VM itself. In order to shrink the *.qcow2 files, you'll need to zero out all free space of the drives within the XP VM first. Below are (very rough) notes on how to do this:
- Download and install the latest Eraser inside the XP VM.