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Windows 11 KVM Client Drivers and Tips

☰ Table of Content

Working KVM drives and guest tools.

This walkthrough also apply to Windows 10.

Download Drivers

Get virtio drivers before installing Windows 11 in KVM. As we need the driver iso during the installation process.

Go to following URL:

Download virtio-win.iso and virtio-win-guest-tools.exe.

FileDirect LinkUsage
virtio-win.isolinkRequired during installation. Provide network and storage drivers.
virtio-win-guest-tools.exelinkRequired after installation. Provide dynamic screen resizing for remote connection.

virtio drivers

Setup KVM

Prepare ISO

On KVM host, put both Windows iso and virtio-win.iso into KVM storage pool. The default location is /var/lib/libvirt/images/.

If done correctly, they should show up in KVM storage pool like following.

virtio iso

Create VM

Start KVM creation.

  1. Choose local media. Then Forward.
    create 01

  2. Select Windows ISO either by drop down or Browse....
    If operating system was not detect automatically, type Microsoft in the box and you should be presented with a pop up menu. Choose Microsoft Windows 11.
    Then Forward.
    create 02

  3. Set memory size. Then Forward.
    CPU will be override in customization steps.
    create 03

  4. Set disk size. Then Forward.
    create 04

  5. Set name of new VM.
    Checkmark Customize configuration before install.
    Then Finish.
    create 05

Customization screen will pop up. Continue to next section.

Customize VM

We will set VM to use VirtIO, TPM.

  1. In Overview
    Chipset should be Q35
    Firmware should be UEFI
    customize 01

    Windows Home only use 1 CPU socket, Windows Pro only use 2 CPU sockets. If vCPU is used to assign more cpu, Windows VM will only use 1(home) or 2(pro) CPUs and become extremely slow. We have to use Topology instead.
    Checkmark Manually set CPU topology.
    Set Sockets to 1. Set Cores to your desire value.
    Then Apply.
    customize 02

  3. In SATA Disk 1, change Disk Bus to VirtIO. Then Apply.
    customize 03

  4. In NIC ..., change Device model to virtio. Then Apply.
    customize 04

  5. In TPM vNone,
    Set Model to TIS.
    Set Version to 2.0.
    Then Apply.
    customize 05

  6. Click Add Hardware to open add hardware pop up.
    In Storage:
    Click Select or create custom storage
    Click Manage and assign virtio-win.iso.
    Set Device type to CDROM device.
    Then Finish.
    This allow us to add storage and network drivers during Windows installation. customize 06

  7. Click Boot Options.
    Checkmark SATA CSROM 1 and move it to the top.
    Then Apply.
    customize 06

  8. Click Begin Installation to start Windows installation.
    customize 07

Windows Installation

We will not go through every single screen for Windows 11 setup, but only a few points:

Press A Key

When VM start, you have to press a key to boot CD(ISO). Else it will enter EFI prompt and you have to restart the VM again. You only have a few seconds to do it.

Loading Drivers

When we reach the disk screen, it will be empty. We will be loading both the storage driver and network driver.

  1. Click Load driver
    install 01

  2. Click OK.
    install 02

  3. Select Red Hat VirtIO SCSI controller with w11 in the path.
    Then Next.
    install 03

The above not only load the VirtIO SCSI driver, but also the network driver.

Finish the installation process and boot into Windows. Do not remote the virtio-win ISO yet. We still need it in next phase.

VirtIO Guest Tool

After Windows installation and initial setup, go CDROM drive with wirtio-win, run virtio-win-guest-tools.exe. That will install all remaining drivers and most importantly, the display driver allow for remote resizing.

guest 01

Turn on auto resize in virt-manager.

guest 02

John Siu

Update: 2023-07-23
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