Installing and Running Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V on HP EliteBook 8540w

I have enjoyed the long battery time of an HP EliteBook 2530p and therefore decided to go with HP EliteBook 8540w when I needed a more powerful mobile workstation to run CPU and RAM intensive virtual images such as SharePoint 2010 demos. I thought I could just upgrade the machine to Windows Server 2008 R2, enable Hyper-V and the machine should then be up and running. But instead I ran into two big issues and thought I’d share them with you, hopefully helping you save some time and hassle.

Ethernet Driver Didn’t Work

It didn’t take me much time to re-image the notebook with Windows Server 2000 R2 this past weekend, but I struggled to get two hardware devices work: HP Integrated Module (Bluetooth) and Ethernet Controller. I didn’t call HP for help because the configuration was not officially supported on the machine. I tried several times with the drivers on one of the two DVDs that came with the package but it didn’t work. I should mention that the wireless connection worked after I installed the wireless driver for the Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN wireless adapter.

I almost gave up on the attempt because without Ethernet connection I wouldn’t be able to use the machine to show demos via LiveMeeting which requires Internet. Then, after one night’s sleep it occurred to me that the Ethernet card was an Intel product, Intel 82577LM Gigabit Network card. So why not trying to find a driver from Intel’s web site? With a few clicks, I found the driver, downloaded and installed it. Guess what? It worked! I couldn’t be more delighted after spending many hours on the Ethernet issue. (I still haven’t resolved the HP Integrated Module issue. But that’s a less critical issue for me; it just means that I won’t be able to use the Bluetooth capability.)

You can download the Intel driver for Intel 82577LM Gigabit Network card here.

Blue Screen

I added the Hyper-V role and configured to run two virtual machines. The host and the two instances ran well for a few days before I encountered the blue screen. This happened while I was testing a setup:  access the Windows Server 2008 R2 machine using Remote Desktop Connection from another Windows 7 workstation using a local network. This setup as an option allows me to run LiveMeeting from my Win7 machine, and show demos running on the Hyper-V server via a local network. The reason to use this setup is because my Win7 machine is configured with multiple Internet connections, Ethernet and Wireless from both corporate and home/public networks, and via Mobile phone. I initially thought the blue screen was caused by the remote connection. But it repeated after I stopped using the remote connection.

I read some posts from the Internet and found one post on the HP forum that seemed to point the blue screen issue to a NVidia Graphics driver. I then removed both the NVidia Displayer Driver and the NVidia HD Audio Driver, but still ran into the blue screen after running the Hyper-V server for a few minutes. So I decided to apply the hotfix as suggested by the post to my server (version 6.1.7600.16385). There are two hotfix files. I requested both of them since I wasn’t sure if I needed both. After extracting two zip files using the supplied passwords, I got two files — Windows6.1-KB975530-v3-x64.msu (9/8/2010) and Windows6.1-KB975530-v4-x64.msu (9/14/2010), and installed the v3 file first and then the v4 file. So far my R2 server with Hyper-V enabled has been working well.

Note that the support article suggests a workaround without using hotfix file. But this workaround has a side effect – a significant increase of computer idle power consumption. The hotfix fixes the issue without the side effect. It will be provided in a service pack 1 according to the HP post.

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