Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Windows 2000 Guest on Hyper-V 2012

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I've got a few Windows 2000 Server virtual machines that were running on VirtualBox that I wanted to move to Hyper-V on a Server 2012R2 host. Of course there are no drivers included in a stock install of Windows 2000, and the Guest Additions CD that comes with 2012R2 no longer has Windows 2000 drivers. So what to do?

A number of forum posts suggested getting a hold of a Server 2008R2 Guest Additions CD and installing the drivers off of that.  I have a Server 2008R2 box, so it wasn't much trouble to install the Hyper-V role and then grab the .iso out of c:\windows\system32. Unfortunately, the drivers would not properly install and rebooting lead to an immediate blue screen, even when attempting to boot into Safe Mode. This was a test VM that I broke, and I don't care about it enough to troubleshoot. On to plan 2 for the next one.

For the second attempt, I exported the VM and moved it over to the Server 2008R2 box. Once there, I was able to attach the Guest Additions CD and the drivers installed fine. And for the final piece, moving the VM (with 2008R2 guest additions installed) back to the 2012R2 host did not appear to break anything, though there are a ton of unknown devices listed in the device manager now. Mouse, keyboard, video, and network are all good, so I'm not going to bother with the unidentified hardware at this point. So the bottom line is that the legacy 2008R2 guest additions work fine on 2012R2, you just can't install them while the guest is still sitting on 2012R2.

So why Windows 2000? I've got a couple of older apps that don't run well on 2008 or higher. If I'm going with an unsupported OS, I might as well go with the one that I can run comfortably in 128MB of RAM and probably less. There's just never enough RAM to go around when you're virtualizing.
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  1. A quick update on this topic. I'm still using the Windows 2000 Server VMs on Hyper-V successfully more than 8 months later. One is running a basic WINS server for the network, though I don't think anything is really using it currently, and the other is running Cisco Secure ACS 4.x and buried behind a few GNS3 virtual routers from the physical network.

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