Monday, May 13, 2013

Adding ability to vSphere 4 to run Windows 8, Windows 2012 or WinPE 4.0 (SCCM 2012 SP1 OSD)

Windows 8, 2012 and WinPE 4.0 boot-image requires specific flags from the CPU before it will boot. Unfortunately for older Pentium processors or VMware vSphere pre 5.0 update 1 these flags are either not available or not exposed from the BIOS.

To allow VMware vSphere 4 to allow booting the Windows 8 boot-image, follow the following steps:

1. Download this BIOS image or here:
2. Create a new Virtual Guest and use Windows 2008 R2 64bit (experimental) option.
3. Once the Virtual Guest have been successfully created, note the Datastore location and proceed to remove  it from Inventory (!!! DO NO DELETE IT FROM DISK !!!)
4. Go into the created Virtual Giest location in the Datastore and upload the downloaded BIOS image into it. It should on the same level as the Virtual Guest's .VMX file.
5. Download and modify the Virtual Guest's .VMX file and append the following lines:

bios440.filename = "bios.440.rom"
mce.enable = TRUE
cpuid.hypervisor.v0 = FALSE
vmGenCounter.enable = FALSE
6. Upload back the .VMX file into same location in the Datastore, overwriting the original (!!!backup the original .VMX as necessary!!!), right-click it and Add to inventory.
7. Boot your Virtual Guest with the Windows 8/2012/WinPE4.0 as needed.

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