Saturday, November 19, 2016

Windows 2000 on Virtualbox 5.0.24_SUSE r108355

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I'm setting up a small GNS3 environment on my main workstations to test out a few thing.  I setup a couple of VMs, one for a domain controller, one for ACS 4.2.  Both VM's are running Windows 2000 Server because I can run it in a small amount of memory, and my workstation only has 12GB of RAM.  After installing the Base OS on both, I noticed a couple of issues.  For completeness, I'm running GNS3 1.4.6 on OpenSUSE Leap 42.1.  The OS is up to date with updates as of today, September 17, 2016.

First off, no matter which NIC I select, there is no networking.  Windows 2000 does not recognize the NIC despite the VirtualBox guest additions being installed.  I got around this problem by inserting the disc of an older version of the VirtualBox guest additions .iso (Version 2.0.4) that I saved a copy of for some reason in the past.  With this older disc inserted, I was able to search for and install the drivers for VirtualBox's AMD PCnet-FAST III NIC.  I've built Windows 2000 based VMs in the not so distant past (on some 4.x or 5.x version of VirtualBox), so this is a recent phenomenon.

The next problem is a big one as it caused me quite a headache getting the Guest Additions .iso mounted at all.  When attached to a GNS3 topology, the second you attempt to access the .iso file through Windows Explorer in the guest OS, the VM aborts.  Everything seems to be fine when the VM is not attached to GNS3.  The same thing happened with my Windows 10 VM, so I would imagine that this behavior exists regardless of the OS installed on the Guest.

A third thing to look out for is that Windows 2000 SP4 will not install on Windows Server 2000 Datacenter in a VirtualBox VM.  After it extracts the files, you get a message stating that "This Service Pack 4 has not been qualified by your hardware vendor for installation on this copy of Windows 2000 Datacenter Server."  Obviously not a VirtualBox problem, but something else to keep in mind.  Standard Server and Advanced Server don't have this problem.  I've found a registry hack for Server 2003, but nothing for 2000.
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