Stable Windows 7 Pro in KVM: virtio & qxl drivers

Update: 2013-08-14. Latest Fedora drivers virtio-win-0.1-65 brings all drivers up to 6/19/2013 61.65.104.6500.

Update: 2013-07-22. Finally got round to testing spice-guest-tools-0.59.exe on Windows XP 32-bits. The “signedness” of QXL is moot as anything goes here.

QXL — 5.1.0.10016 dated 10/15/2012

VirtIO — 51.64.104.5900 dated 4/17/2013

Everything is working including audio/Spice. Strange, I don’t seem to have balloon here.

Update: 2013-07-22. RedHat has virtio-win-1.6.5-6.el6_4 on RHN.

Update: 2013-06-18. The “KVM — The Linux Kernel-Based Virtual Machine” site links to current verions of qemu, Fedora virtio iso, and Spice guest tools.

http://www.linux-kvm.com/

Update: 2013-05-11. I am now running with all Fedora virtio drivers v 61.64.104.5900 on two Win7 Pro guests. Fingers-crossed — they are running stable. One is using standard VGA and the other is using the signed RedHat QXL GPU driver from virtio-win-1.6.3-3.

I have Spice (instead of VNC) running in the guests for audio; sound from Win7Pro guest — what’s not to like!

In short:

  • host is KVM/Fedora 18
  • guest drivers: virtio from Fedora for Serial, Storage, Net, Balloon
  • guest drivers: qxl from RedHat for Display
  • vdservice.exe and vdagent.exe running from spice-guest-tools
  • audio is working using Spice

Previously: I was having a really hard time getting Windows 7 Pro, Windows Server 2008R2  KVM guests stable using virtio and qxl drivers.

Problems:

  1. Drivers everywhere: Spice guest tools: http://spice-space.org/download/binaries/spice-guest-tools/.  Very obscure set of tools. Comes with lots of virtio drivers. Encountered problem with unsigned QXL drivers. When you install this you must manually stop the vdservice service, otherwise the files are locked.
  2. Fedora alternative http://alt.fedoraproject.org/pub/alt/virtio-win/. Very recent versions as of 4/17/2013: 61.64.104.5900 but no QXL.
  3. RedHat virtio-win-1.6.3-3.el6.noarch. The RedHat package has versions equal or slightly older than Fedora alternative. The QXL drivers are not in the ISO image but unpacked to /usr/share/virtio BUT the QXL driver is signed.

However, things seem to be coming together, albeit slowly:

  1. Windows 7 Pro guest is now stable with all the RedHat drivers.
  2. Windows 2008 R2 Standard KVM guest is stable with all 61.64.104.5900 drivers and QXL.
  3. The signed Red Hat QXL GPU driver that works is: version 6.1.0.10016 10/15/2012

By stable I mean: in Windows Device Manager none of the devices has the dreaded exclamation icon and the VM does not randomly reboot or BSOD.

Now to tackle Windows 2012 server guests!!!!!!

FIXME: Update vdagent.exe/vdservice.exe to latest from Spice Guest tools 0.52 — DONE!

FIXME: I have qemu-ga: QEMU guest agent running; no idea how crucial this is to life and limb: http://wiki.libvirt.org/page/Qemu_guest_agent

FIXME: can one get sound using VNC?

Generally, RedHat have done well with the 1.6.3 release!!

Take away: KVM virtio drivers are not easy to find. The best sources are Fedora alternative (everything but QXL), and RedHat RHEL 6 Supplementary Channel ($$$$) with signed QXL . The jury is out on spice-guest-tools.

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