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Using Microsoft's VHD version of Windows Server 2015 R2

Posted by Terry Moore
Terry Moore
 
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 06 September 2015
in Useful Tips

Microsoft has a pre-installed VHD version of Windows Server 2012 R2 available for download. 

The reference can be found here: https://technet.microsoft.com/library/dn303418.aspx, under the section titled "Installing versions distributed as VHDs".  The VHD can be downloaded from here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-windows-server-2012-r2#evaluation_521.

I can confirm that the download evaluation image works well, and is much faster to set up than installing from distribution ISOs. But I could not make their instructions work for me, and a quick search of the web indicated that others were puzzled.

Here are the original instructions:

To use the VHD distribution, you must have a computer running Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, or Windows Server 2012 R2. The Hyper-V server role must be installed.

To install the VHD

  1. Download the VHD file.
  2. Start Hyper-V Manager. On the Action menu, select Import Virtual Machine.
  3. Navigate to the directory that the virtual machine file was extracted to and select the directory (not the directory where the VHD file is located).
  4. Select the Copy the virtual machine option.
  5. Confirm that the import was successful by checking Hyper-V Manager.
  6. Configure the network adapter for the resulting virtual machine: right-click the virtual machine and select Settings. In the left pane, click Network Adapter. In the menu that appears, select one of the network adapters of the virtualization server, and then click OK.
  7. Start the virtual machine.

These instructions don't quite work. 

First of all, the VHD is not a VM, so you can't copy or import it.

Second, it's not clear (from web searches) that this will work at all under Server 2008 R2 -- there were hotfixes suggested.

Luckily, I have Windows 10 Pro, and this works fine as a host. (In fact, it appears that Windows 8.1 Enterprise also works; I used that for some of the screenshots. But I did most of this on Windows 10, and that's what I'd recommend to others.)

Here's the procedure I followed.

To prepare the Windows 10 Pro system

  1. Make sure you have Windows 10 Pro installed. Press [Windows}R and type "winver", then press enter. In the resulting text box, confirm that you see the text, "The Windows 10 Pro operating system and its user interface are protected..." If you see Windows 10 Home, you'll need to upgrade.
  2. Right click on Start, and select "Programs and Features"
  3. Select "Turn Windows features on or off" (on left)
  4. Scroll down to Hyper-V, and make sure the top level checkbox and subordinate checkboxes are all ticked. If not, check them, and go through the installation process. A reboot will be needed at this point.
  5. Once you've confirmed that Hyper-V is installed, press [Windows]R and type "mmc", then press enter. You'll probably get a UAC pop-up ("do you want to allow this app to make changes to your PC?"); if you do, click [Yes].
  6. Select File>Add/Remove Snap-In...
  7. Scroll down to Hyper-V Manager, click "Add". There typically will be a pregnant pause, followed by a progress bar; then Hyper-V Manager will appear under "Selected snap-ins" on the right. Click OK.  (The process of doing this creates an applet; from this point on, you can click start and type "Hyper" and "Hyper-V Manager" will show up.
  8. You'll now see Hyper-V Manager under Console Root:

  9. Click on "Hyper-V Manager" in the left pane, expand things if necessary, and you'll see something like the following:

  10. You probably want to configure one or more networks for use by Hyper-V. To do this, make sure your machine is selected in the left panel, then on the Action menu select Virtual Switch Manager... I created an External switch, Connection type  "External network", and selected my Ethernet adapter in the drop-down list. (I've also successfully selected a Wi-Fi adapter at this step.) Very important: be sure to select "[x] Allow management operating system to share this network adapter".  Click OK.
  11. You're now ready to proceed.

To install the VHD

  1. Download the VHD file. 
  2. If needed, copy the VHD file to a suitable location. On my system, Hyper-V looks for VHD files in C:\Users\Public\Documents\Hyper-V\Virtual hard disks, so I put it there.
  3. Start Hyper-V Manager, and make sure your machine is selected in the left panel. On the Action menu, select New... > Virtual Machine.
  4. Go through the steps of creating a new virtual machine. On the following menu, make sure you select "Generation 1 Virtual Machine". Click Next.

  5. "Assign Memory": Specify 2GB of RAM. I didn't select "[ ] Use Dynamic Memory for this virtual machine". Click Next.
  6. "Configure Networking": you can do this later -- just click Next
  7. "Connect Virtual Hard Disk" -- I selected "Attach a virtual hard disk later". Click Next.

  8. "Completing the New Virtual Machine Wizard" -- review the options, and click "Finish" to create the VM.
  9. Verify that the VM was successfully created by checking Hyper-V Manager
  10. Configure the downloaded VHD file as the disk for the resulting virtual machine: right-click the virtual machine and select Settings. In the left pane, click IDE Controller 0. In the right pane, select "Hard Drive", then Add. In the menu that appears, under Virtual Hard Disk, select Browse..., and navigate to the VHD image you downloaded. Select the file and click OK.
  11. Configure the network adapter for the resulting virtual machine: right-click the virtual machine and select Settings. In the left pane, click Network Adapter. In the menu that appears, select one of the network adapters of the virtualization server, and then click OK.
  12. Start the virtual machine.

Was this post useful to you? Want to see more on some topic? Leave a comment, or find me on Twitter (@TmmMcci) or LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/terrillmoore/en).

 

 

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