Windows 8.1 released today. Does it work with vSphere?

And crowds rejoice over the new Windows 8.1 release. Or do they? Lets see if things work out in a vSphere environment.

I have to honest and say that I did not even test any of the early releases of Windows 8.1 a few months ago. I decided on release day to try things out and here is what I ran in to.

I first tried Windows 8.1 enterprise. There is nothing special about the base deployment of the VM. You select the LSI Logic SAS controller and label the VM with Windows 8. I attempted to use the EFI BIOS with the VM, but it looks like Windows 8.1 is not compatible with this version. Upon setting the BIOS back to default, the VM then booted to the Windows setup fairly quickly. Unfortunately it looks like Windows 8.1 striped out the LSI Logic SAS controller drivers! Even the paravirtual drivers do not work. VMware only provides a floppy drive package for the legacy Bus Logic Parallel drivers. I even attempted to upgrade to hardware ver 9 (seemed to work on VM Workstation) and I ran in to the same issue. I experienced the same issue with Server 2012R2. I tried 8.1 Pro edition as well with no luck!

Turns out, don’t always trust downloads from Microsoft. The downloads I received were fragmented. Check out VMware KB article 1537 to verify the integrity of the download you received from Microsoft. It is best to use the download manager from Microsoft to make sure you receive a good download. Once I received a good download, everything worked great.

Windows 8.1 and 2012R2 run perfectly on vSphere, even with the EFI BIOS.