Xen Howto: Install Windows

This short guide describes how to install Windows XP orWindows 2003 Server on Xen. It provides an overview of theDebian Linux Etch installation, and detailed steps for installing and configuring Xenand starting the Windows XP or Windows 2003 Server


  • CPU with either Intel’s Vanderpool (IVT – Intel Virtualization Technology) orAMD’s Pacifica Technology (AMD virtualization)
  • Windows iso-image

First you need to install Xen on Debian Etch:

sudo apt-get install xen-linux-system-2.6.18-4-xen-686 libc6-xen bridge-utils

Boot into the newly installed Xen enabled Linux kernel

sudo reboot

Then adjusted the network settings in /etc/xen/xend-config.sxp. Enabling the network bridge:

(network-script network-bridge)

Install Xen IO Emulation tools:

sudo apt-get install xen-ioemu-3.0.3-1

Create a directory for the virtual machine files e.g. /home/xen/domains/win01 and create a disk image for the virtual machine’s primary disk.

mkdir /home/xen
mkdir /home/xen/domains
mkdir /home/xen/domains/win01
sudo dd if=/dev/zero of= /home/xen/domains/win01/disk.img bs=1M count=4096

Establish a Xen machine Configuration file (/etc/xen/win01.cfg) like this

kernel = '/usr/lib/xen/boot/hvmloader'
builder = 'hvm'
memory = '256'

# Disks
disk = [ 'file:/home/xen/domains/win01/disk.img,ioemu:hda,w',
'file:/home/cc/iso-images/WindowsXP-SP2/image.iso,ioemu:hdc:cdrom,r' ]

# Hostname
name = ‘win01′

# Networking
vif = ['type=ioemu, bridge=xenbr0']

# Behaviour

The ready to fire up the new machine and start the Windows installation in a vnc terminal.

xm create win01.cfg

After the virtual machine is started – a VNC server port should be available on port 5900 at the Xen server’s IP, e.g. – A VNC XEN Client session is depicted here.

If an error like this shows up

Error: Device 0 (vif) could not be connected. Backend device not found.

You should check your that you have enabled the network bridge, “(network-script network-bridge)”, in /etc/xen/xend-config.sxp and restarted the xen deamon by /etc/init.d/xend restart

For more on creating Xen virtual machines read this guide, which outlines the features of the xen-tools package.

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