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I have configured a Windows Home Server 2011 guest with virt-install and virsh, but the windows installer can't find any hard drives. Nor can it load any virtio drivers for it.

This is my first qemu/kvm virtualization attempt, so maybe I'm just missing something obvious, but any help is appreciated! Here are the details:

  • I created the domain with virt-install 0.600.4.

The command:

virt-install --connect qemu:///system -n fas -r 6144 --vcpus=2 \
  --disk pool=vmstore,size=50,bus=virtio,cache=none -c whs2011.iso --vnc \
  --noautoconsole --os-type windows --os-variant win2k8 \
  --network network=default,model=e1000 \
  --disk path=virtio-win-0.1-74.iso,device=cdrom,perms=ro

I use os-variant win2k8, since no win2011 is available for virt-install, afaik. Don't know if this makes any trouble.

  • I did virsh destroy fas to stop it,
  • I modified it with virsh edit fas to add cdrom as first boot device.

The resulting xml for the domain is:

<domain type='kvm'>
  <memory unit='KiB'>6291456</memory>
  <currentMemory unit='KiB'>6291456</currentMemory>
  <vcpu placement='static'>2</vcpu>
    <type arch='x86_64' machine='pc-i440fx-1.5'>hvm</type>
    <boot dev='cdrom'/>
    <boot dev='hd'/>
  <clock offset='localtime'/>
    <disk type='file' device='disk'>
      <driver name='qemu' type='raw' cache='none'/>
      <source file='/var/lib/libvirt/images/fas.img'/>
      <target dev='vda' bus='virtio'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x04' function='0x0'/>
    <disk type='file' device='cdrom'>
      <driver name='qemu' type='raw'/>
      <source file='/home/nb/whs2011.iso'/>
      <target dev='hda' bus='ide'/>
      <address type='drive' controller='0' bus='0' target='0' unit='0'/>
    <disk type='file' device='cdrom'>
      <driver name='qemu' type='raw'/>
      <source file='/home/nb/virtio-win-0.1-74.iso'/>
      <target dev='hdc' bus='ide'/>
      <address type='drive' controller='0' bus='1' target='0' unit='0'/>
    <controller type='usb' index='0'>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x01' function='0x2'/>
    <controller type='pci' index='0' model='pci-root'/>
    <controller type='ide' index='0'>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x01' function='0x1'/>
    <interface type='network'>
      <mac address='52:54:00:84:3b:8b'/>
      <source network='default'/>
      <model type='e1000'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x03' function='0x0'/>
    <serial type='pty'>
      <target port='0'/>
    <console type='pty'>
      <target type='serial' port='0'/>
    <input type='tablet' bus='usb'/>
    <input type='mouse' bus='ps2'/>
    <graphics type='vnc' port='-1' autoport='yes'/>
      <model type='vga' vram='9216' heads='1'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x02' function='0x0'/>
    <memballoon model='virtio'>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x05' function='0x0'/>
  • Then I started it again with virsh start fas and,
  • successfully connected to the view port with a vnc viewer.
  • The Windows installer was started and I clicked "New installation: Install Windows" (see
  • Then I was presented with the fact that no hard drives could be found, so I clicked "Load drivers".
  • Then, no matter which folder I select from the virtio driver cd image, no hard drives show up when I hit OK (see

My system is an up-to-date Ubuntu Server 13.10 (kernel 3.11.0-14-generic) running on an HP Proliant ML330 G6 (quad-core Intel Xeon @2.4GHz). QEMU version is 1.5.0.

Any input is welcome!

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Thank you! I'll try the approach with a virtualised IDE disk. – turboraketti Jan 5 '14 at 1:21
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I finally nailed this, with guidance from (link provided by Michael Hampton). What I essentially did was:

  • Made myself a small, empty helper FAT disk image with Mac's Disk Utility
  • Deleted the domain: virsh delete fas
  • Created it again, with a slightly modified command (changed disk bus to IDE, and also increased disk size, as WHS complains unless it's pretty large, and added the helper image as a disk on virtio bus)


virt-install --connect qemu:///system -n fas -r 6144 --vcpus=2 \
  --disk pool=vmstore,size=200,bus=ide,cache=none -c whs2011.iso --vnc \
  --noautoconsole --os-type windows --os-variant win2k8 \
  --network network=default,model=e1000 \
  --disk path=virtio-win-0.1-74.iso,device=cdrom,perms=ro \
  --disk path=my-helper-image.iso,bus=virtio,cache=none
  • Again added <boot dev='cdrom'/> before the existing line <boot dev='hd'/>, by virsh edit fas, to make it boot off the CD image.
  • Did virsh start fas, connected to the machine with a VNC viewer to display 0 (port 5900) and performed the long and winding installation of WHS2011.
  • Finally on the Windows desktop, opened the Device Manager and installed missing drivers for virtio, required to mount the helper image (right-click on an unknown device and select "update driver").
  • Powered down the virtual machine and virsh edit fas to remove the installation media whs2011.iso and the helper image, and changed bus type of the boot disk to virtio, i.e. remove the address element (it will be created again automatically) and changed the target attributes like this: <target dev='vda' bus='virtio'/>

Next, booted up the machine (virsh start fas) and now I'm enjoying WHS 2011 on a SCSI boot disk.

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