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Procedure for updating VirtIO drivers inside Windows

VirtIO drivers are paravirtualization drivers, that enables VMs running on KVM hypervisor, to perform much better than with regular hardware emulation (intel nic and ide drivers), and these drivers are required for normal Windows OS functioning on KVM hypervisor.

SSC/HIAG uses latest version of VirtIO drivers inside all Windows templates, at the time the templates are built for our customers. Before templates are published to our customers, we do our best to test drivers stability by running series of rigorous tests, including heavy load tests, that stress CPU/RAM/NETWORK/STORAGE subsystems.

Still in very rare cases of customers having issues with system stability (i.e. certain combination of some new software and existing drivers), it is sometimes advised to update VirtiO drivers inside VM to the latest versions available, as per official recommendation from http://libvirt.org

Please find below the general instructions on how to update VirtIO drivers.

Note: VirtIO drivers are distributed as part of ISO file, containing all necessary drivers. You can either attach the already provided VirtIO drivers ISO file in our cloud platform, or you can download your own ISO with drivers. If you choose the second option, please follow the instructions for ISO upload to Cloud platform.

Download ISO file with VirtIO drivers

  1. Please download ISO file containing the latest version of VirtIO drivers for Windows, to your PC. Main page from which the drivers should be downloaded is https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Windows_Virtio_Drivers, while the direct ISO download link of the latest driver version (at the moment of writing) is https://fedorapeople.org/groups/virt/virtio-win/direct-downloads/latest-virtio/virtio-win.iso
  2. Please upload the  ISO file to plain HTTP web server (we currently don't support uploading ISO from HTTPS server into the cloud platform)
  3. In the Cloud platform, choose the Templates section, then from drop-down menu, choose ISO.
  4. Click on Register ISO button, and fill in the all required fields (name, description, URL of the ISO file on HTTP server and finally uncheck the Bootable flag.
  5. After the ISO file has been successfully uploaded it will be in State of "Ready" (please check the image below), and you will be able to attach it to your running VM.

Driver update procedure and explanation

There are total of 5 devices currently using VirtIO drivers inside your VMs - and all 4 devices need to have updated driver version (when you choose to update the drivers).

On the image below is shown the folder structure of the ISO file, where in the root of ISO file, there are folders for every VirtIO devices available, including the 4 already mentioned devices. Please check how the folder with drivers names, correspond the the exact device inside your VM, and then choose the correct folder and later subfolder (with Operating System version - Windows 2008 R2, or Windows 2012 R2, etc).

Please make sure to not make mistake during choosing the correct folder with specific version of the driver, or you might cause issues within VM, and even total system crash. We suggest following  the procedure first time on the test VM, and only continue with production VMs once you feel comfortable with the procedure.

NOTE: Please note that the VirtIO Baloon Driver and VirtIO Serial Drivers can not be started by Windows - yellow  exclamation sign (since we are not providing these features on VM) -  which is fine and expected behaviour, and should not be considered a problem. Although these 2 devices are not really available, it is still advised to update these drivers together with the other 2 VirtIO devices/drivers (Network Adapter and SCSI Controller)

Actual  driver upgrade procedure is the same as for any other driver update - please right click on the device and choose "Upgrade Driver Software..."  and on the new screen, select the "Browse my computer for drivers" button and then browse for the correct drivers (main folder with driver and subfolder with correct OS version). 

Please check the images below

NOTE: During the driver upgrade procedure for VirtIO Baloon and Virtio Serial drivers, at the end of the procedure, you will get confirmation that the driver has been successfully installed, but the device can not be started. We already explained this is fine and expected result.

After all drivers are updated, please reboot the Windows, so the new drivers are active.