Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Windows 2000 on ESXi

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After my recent experience with running Windows 2000 on VirtualBox, I found myself wanting to build a Windows 2000 Workstation host on my ESXi server.  Just something quick and dirty to sit behind an ASAv so I could verify the ASAv's configuration.  Like always, the motivation was the low resource utilization of 2000.  The 64GB of RAM in the server has its limits.

I was able to install the OS just fine, and I figured that since it was an .iso with SP4 slipstreamed in, I'd be fine.  But when it came time to install the VMWare Tools, the installer stopped and complained "The Microsoft Runtime DLL installer failed to complete installation."  After a bit of Googling around, I found two possible solutions to this.

The first is the simplest of the two.  You can just grab the E1000 drivers from Intel and install them.  Putting the executable into a .iso file, and then mounting that on the VM is all it takes.  The downside is that you only get the network drivers, rather than everything installed by the VMWare Tools.  Everything else technically works, but you don't get the niceties such as the VM not capturing the mouse and keyboard.  Note that you'll have to scroll down the page and click "Show more" a few times before you'll finally find drivers that are compatible with Windows 2000.

The second of the two is to track down the necessary updates for Windows 2000.  This is a bit tricky as 2000 is no longer supported and none of the download links on the Microsoft website work any more.  Update Rollup for Windows 2000 SP4 (KB891861) has the fix you need. KB835732 is the patch that solves the issue, but you may as well install the entire update rollup if you can.

So where do you get the update rollup?  If you Google "KB891861 download" you'll find a few sites hosting a copy.  Since they're doing so in a less than legal manner, I'm not going to link any of them here.  If you can't find a copy online, your other option may be to install the Intel drivers to get connected to the network, then updating Windows 2000 from a WSUS server.

I've also seen it said that disabling the CD-ROM driver in Windows 2000 after copying the VMWare tools installer to the c:\ drive works as well, but I haven't tried that.


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