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10 Easy Steps To Install Windows Server in Linux KVM

10 Easy Steps To Install Windows Server in Linux KVM

You wanted to install the windows 2019 server on a hypervisor and the option that you have right now is to use the QEMU KVM hypervisor. Then you are in the right place.

And when it comes to virtualization I love KVM, as it is Open-source and free too. Whenever I had to choose between hypervisors I would always prefer KVM than anything else.

I was working for Palo Alto and Checkpoint lab the other day, and I wanted to test out the LDAP integration with the firewall.

The only way I can test LDAP configuration is by installing the windows server with its services in it. So I decided to spin up the window server 2019 in KVM.

Can I install Windows Server in KVM?

The Windows server 2016/2019 works really well with the KVM hypervisors. Since there are support virtio drivers, you get to install all the display, network, and graphics related drivers in it.

If you are new to KVM, don’t worry, I have covered some of the useful KVM commands here, I would highly recommend you check them out. It will be useful when you wanted to manage the VM’s with KVM.

In the past, I covered the installation of windows 10 on a Centos/Redhat and Ubuntu KVM hypervisors, and in this article, I am going to install windows server 2019 on a KVM hypervisor.


You need to have a good configuration machine or a server with Linux installed in it, either Centos/Redhat or Ubuntu with GUI. And we can install KVM software in it.

To install kvm on Ubuntu you can enter the command below.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install qemu-kvm bridge-utils virt-manager libosinfo-bin -y

If you are using Centos then the command will be as follows.

yum install qemu-kvm libvirt virt-install virt-manager virt-install -y

Windows server 2019 ISO image.

If you have the server ISO image then great, or you can get a trail from the Microsoft site here.

Windows 2019 VirtIO drivers

You can download the VirtIO drivers here

How to install windows server 2019 in KVM?

  1. Creation of windows server VM.
  2. Setup windows resources.
  3. Customize configuration before install.
  4. Configure the CPU for the KVM windows guest properly.
  5. Add windows VirtIO driver.
  6. Change the boot order.
  7. Start the Windows installation.
  8. No windows harddisk in KVM ?, fix that now.
  9. Set the Administrator Password.
  10. Install the virtio drivers for windows server 2019.

1. Creation of windows server VM.

Open terminal and type virt-manager and hit enter.

windows 2019 install in kvm

A new virtual machine manager window now pop up, click on create new virtual machine icon.

windows 2019 install in kvm virtio

In the creation of New VM pop up, select Local install media (ISO image or CDROM), then click on Forward.

kvm install windows 2019

You now have to choose the Microsoft windows server 2019 as the operating system.

Uncheck the option which says Automatically detect from the installation media/source and start typing Microsoft window server 2019.

kvm install windows server 2019

Choose the same from the list and click on Forward.

ubuntu kvm windows server 2019

You can now configure the Memory and CPU for the machine, I am adding memory as 4GB and 4 CPU.

2. Setup windows resources.

Configure the the memory and CPU here and click on Forward.

You may add more if you require.

kvm windows 2019 cpu cores

In the windows Storage, by default it would pick up the storage size as 40GB, I am changing it to 20GB.

You may select the default size or more, but don’t worry, you can change the storage size later by following the guide here.

windows server 2019 kvm storage

3. Customize configuration before install.

Check the option which says Customize configuration before install and click on Finish.

qemu install windows server 2019

You will now be presented with QEMU KVM customization wizard.

First lets go ahead and change the storage to VirtIO, click on SATA Disk 1 and in the disk bus select VirtIO and click on Apply.

kvm windows 2019 change ide to virtio

Click on the Network Interface Card and change it to Virtio here as well and click on Apply.

Notice that I have selected the NAT as the interface, this would help my server to connect the internet via the host machine.

In production, this must be different, as you might use a bridge interface that connects to the switch to get to the network.

windows 2019 virtio network

Next lets go ahead and add the VNC server as the Graphics.

Click on Add hardware again, and from the list select Graphics and in Type select VNC Server, then click on Finish.

windows server graphics VNC Server

4. Configure the CPU for the KVM windows guest properly.

Though we configured the CPU as 4, it will actually not pick up all four cores until you specify in the configuration.

So make changes like below. Click on CPU’s and in the Current Allocation specify 4 CPU and in the topology check the options Manually set CPU topology and in Sockets type 1 and cores 2 and Threads 2 as well. You may change it as per your requirements.

kvm windows 2019 cpu cores

5. Add windows VirtIO driver.

Remember that we have download virtio drivers for windows server 2019 at the beginning? Lets add that now.

CLick on Add hardware and select storage.

Check the option Select or create custom storage and click on Manage to attach the windows kvm drivers to the configuration.

In the device type select CDROM device from the list then click on Finish.

kvm windows 2019 drivers iso

When you look VM configuration you should be able to see there are two CDROM’s.

CDROM1 is for the windows 2019 iso image.

CDROM2 is for the windows 2019 KVM Qemu drivers.

kvm windows 2019 cd rom

6. Change the boot order.

You need to make sure that you choose windows ISO image during the boot when you proceed with the installation.

Click on Boot options and check the options which says Enable boot menu.

And check the SATA CDROM1 and VirtIO disk 1.

Move CDROM1 to be the primary boot device.

kvm boot windows partition

7. Start the windows installation.

You may now click on begin installation and you should be able to see the windows 2019 installation screen appears with the windows logo.

windows server on kvm

In the setup wizard Choos the Langauge and the country then click on Next.

install windows 2019 on kvm

You may click on Install now on the windows Setup wizard.

install windows 2019 on kvm ubuntu

Choose the windows server version that you would like to install then click on Next.

choose the version of windows server for the KVM installation

Accept the license agreement then click on next.

accept the windows server license agreement

From the installation option choose Custom

windows server choose custom installation

8. No windows harddisk in kvm ?, fix that now.

As you can see the we have added a hardisk of 20GB but we are not able to see them, lets go ahead and fix that by clicking Load driver.

no windows harddisk in kvm

Since we already attached VirtIO driver for windows, the steup wizard will list out available drivers.

Select windows server 2019 from the list and then click on Next.

no windows harddisk in kvm

After few seconds, you should be able to see the harddisk that you have added, select the harddisk then click on Next.

no windows harddisk in kvm

The installation now begin now.

9. Set the administrator Password.

After the installation is completed, it will ask you to setup the Administrators password, type that in and then click on Finish.

You now will be presented to the windows server 2019 homescreen.

linux kvm windows server 2019

If you lock the machine, it would ask you to press CRL ALT DEL to log back in again.

Type the Administrator password then you should be able to login.

qemu kvm windows server 2019

10. Install the virtio drivers for windows server 2019.

If you looked into the screen, you should be able to see that the network connection is showing x mark, which indicate there is no network confiurated.

Basically we haven’t installed the network driver in order for the windows server to communicate with the network.

In the server manager, click on Tools, then click on Computer management.

Install the virtio drivers for windows server 2019

In the computer management, click on Device manager.

You can see under device manager, in Other devices list of drivers that needs to be installed.

kvm windows 2019 guest drivers

Lets go ahead and install the network driver first.

Right click on Ethernet controller and click on Update driver.

kvm windows 2019 ethernet driver

Select the option, browse for my local machine to install the driver.

In the browse attach the Windows qemu drivers that you had downloaded earlier in CDROM 2.

Click on next.

virtio driver windows 2019

You will get a prompt to install the Redhat network driver, click install.

kvm windows 2019 ethernet driver

Once the installation is complete, you should now be able to see the netwokrs notification asking whether you want to share the network or not, which I clicked on No at the moment.

windows server on kvm

Install rest of other drivers as well.

kvm windows 2019 balloon driver

The only driver that you now left at last is Unknown device, even if you try to update it it wont get updated.

So you should be fine at this point.

When you wanted to access this VM again, you just open the terminal and do a virt-viewer and choose the windows server as the VM.

If you have remote SSH access to the KVM host with X11 forwarding then you can open this server using the virt-viewer as well, which is cool.