Installing Windows 8.1 guest on Linux Mint KVM

On my first attempt booting from the Windows 8.1 DVD to install as a guest in KVM, I got the initial Windows 8 splash screen, the DVD would spin for a few seconds but then spin down, and it would appear to be stuck at the logo screen, never reaching the spinning circle stage below the Windows icon.

There’s numerous posts of Windows 8 hanging at the logo screen, most of the conclusions seemed to be unless you didn’t have an error, just leave it until you get to the language selection dialog. I left mine about 10 minutes and got to the language dialog ok (I don’t remember a bare metal install taking that long before).

For my KVM vm settings, I left everything as defaults, apart from these changes based on numerous other posts on installing Windows 8 and 10 on KVM:

Processor: 1 CPU, and ‘copy host CPU configuration’

Disk: virtio disk bus, raw format, cache mode = node (not default)

Nic: virtio

Video: vga

After selecting ‘Custom install’ the ‘Where do you want to install Windows’ dialog says it could not find any drives. This is where you mount the virtio iso in the dvd for the vm, and then continue.

I hadn’t added a cd drive with the virtio iso to my vm before starting the install, and it looks like Virtual Machine Manager won’t let you add a device while the vm is running. Luckily, following as answer on this post, you can add a device on the fly with this command:

virsh attach-disk vmname /dev/sr0 hdc --type cdrom

I then loaded the virtio driver from this location on the mounted iso:

Next I got this rather cryptic error message:

"Windows is unable to install to the selected location. Error: 0x80300001."

Apparently this is a common error regardless of whether you’re installing Windows 8 in a VM or not. The quick explanation – unmount the virtio drivers iso, put back the install iso (or actual DVD) and refresh. Select partition (or create one) and continue. See here.

After completing all the prompts during install, success, Windows 8.1 virtualized using KVM on Linux Mint!

Post install, to get the virtio network card drivers install, mount the virtio iso disk, use the Control Panel/Drivers to view devices, pick the network card, then point to the NetKVM dir.

Next challenge, getting better video drivers installed (taking a look at Spice).

 

Booting your Windows Bootcamp partition in VirtualBox

I have XP in my Bootcamp partition which I occasionally boot to run apps that I don’t have on Mac OS X, usually it’s for a Windows game. It annoys me to switch between Mac OS X and booting Windows from Bootcamp, as it takes a while to switch back and forth. The only reason I’ve ever considered buying Fusion or Parallels is to be able to boot from the Bootcamp partition and avoid having two Windows installs – one in Bootcamp and one on a virtual disk. Sometimes it’s fine to boot in a virtual machine, but othertimes you really want to boot natively to make full use of the graphics card and DirectX etc. Turns out you can set up VirtualBox to easily boot from a Bootcamp partition, and avoid having two installs.

I followed the instructions here, and after a bit of fiddling with with VirtualBox settings for my new VM, it booted fine. The instructions are for booting Windows 7 from Bootcamp in VirtualBox, but it works the same for XP too.