Using Windows Server 2008 Core on Windows Virtual PC

First, a caveat.  This is not supported.  Most of what I am about to talk about is not supported.  Feel free to use this information, but do not call Microsoft if it does not work for you.

With that out of the way – this morning I was asked how to get a Windows Server 2008 core installation working on Windows Virtual PC, with integration components.  This is possible, and very handy, but is a little tricky to do.

Windows Server 2008 will install onto Windows Virtual PC in a core configuration with no issues.  But when you try to install the Integration Components, the installer will fail with the following error message:


The problem is that the installer is trying, and failing, to initialize the sound card driver that is part of the integration components.  What you need to do is to disable the sound card in the virtual machine.

You could do this through our handy COM interface, but it is much easier to just go in and hack the virtual machine configuration file.  The first thing you will need to do is to turn off the virtual machine (do not hibernate it, you need to turn it off or shut it down).  The file you then need to find is the .VMC file for your virtual machine – it will be in the location that you specified when creating the virtual machine:


Open this file in notepad, and locate the section that talks about the sound adapter (it is toward the end):

You need to change the boolean value from “true” to “false” (in the picture above I have already made the necessary change).  When you have done this, save the changes to the file, close notepad and start the virtual machine.

Now the Integration Components should install successfully.

Note, when you select to Install Integration Components from the Tools menu, the installer will not start automatically.  You will need to manually change to the CD-ROM drive (most likely the E:) and run setup.exe to start the process.

After a reboot you should be able to enable integration features and get integrated mouse and clipboard support.