Hyper-V and Legacy Applications (Part 3)

by [Published on 7 April 2009 / Last Updated on 7 April 2009]

Virtualizing legacy applications by continuing the process of installing Windows NT in a Hyper-V environment.

If you would like to read the other parts of this aritcle series please go to

Introduction

Running legacy applications often requires you to run legacy operating systems. In this article, I will continue my series on virtualizing legacy applications by continuing to guide you through the process of installing Windows NT in a Hyper-V environment.

In my first two articles in this series, I began talking about some of the complexities involved getting Windows NT to work in a Hyper-V environment, and we have prepared the virtual hard disk that we will install Windows NT onto. In this article, I want to continue the series by walking you through the beginning of the Windows NT installation process.

Preparing the Virtual Machine

Before we actually install Windows NT, we need to  configure one more setting on the virtual machine that we will be installing Windows NT onto. To do so, open the Hyper-V Manager, select your virtual machine, and then click the Settings option. When the Settings dialog box appears, choose the Processor option, and then select the Limit Processor Functionality check box, as shown in Figure A.


Figure A: You must select the Limit Processor Functionality check box

As you may recall, in the first article in this series, I explained that Microsoft did not officially support running Windows NT in a Hyper-V environment, but they strongly hint that it does. If you look at the figure above, you will notice that the text within the Processor Functionality section specifically mentions Windows NT.

In case you are wondering, selecting the Limit Processor Functionality check box is essential to deploying Windows NT. If you fail to select this option, then Windows NT will blue screen before Setup even completes.

Setting Up Windows NT

After you have selected the Limit Processor Functionality check box, click OK. Now, capture the server’s CD / DVD drive, insert your boot disk, and then start the virtual machine. Use the steps that I outlined in the previous article in this series to get to a command prompt. At the command prompt, enter the following commands:

Lock C:
R:
CD\I386
Winnnt /B

The virtual machine will now load Windows NT Setup. When prompted, verify that the location of the Windows NT system files are set to R:\I386. Next, Press Enter  to begin the file copy process. Windows should spend a minute or two copying the necessary files. When the copy process completes, press Enter to reboot the virtual machine.

When the virtual machine reboots, there may be a delay for a minute or two during which time Setup appears to lock up. When Setup finally resumes, you will see a screen that asks you what you want to do. Go ahead and press Enter to setup Windows NT.

You should now see a message similar to the one shown in Figure B below, telling you that Setup has detected an IDE CD-ROM drive. If you do not see this message, then you will need to use the Media menu to capture the physical CD / DVD drive, and then reboot the virtual machine. If the option to capture the CD or DVD drive is not there, or if the capture fails, it usually means that another virtual machine has the drive captured. You will need to figure out which virtual machine has the CD / DVD drive, uncapture it. You should then switch to the virtual machine that is running Windows NT, capture the CD / DVD drive, and then reboot the virtual machine. Once the reboot completes, you can work through Setup until you get to this point, and the drive should be available to you.


Figure B: Make sure that Setup detects the CD or DVD drive

Once you get Setup to detect the CD / DVD drive, go ahead and press Enter to move forward with the Setup process. Setup should now display the Windows NT Licensing Agreement. Press the Page Down key a few times until you get to the bottom of the licensing agreement, and then press the F8 key.

Setup will now display a summary of the virtual machine’s hardware as it has been detected. Take a moment to verify that the detected hardware matches what you see in Figure C, and make any necessary changes (you shouldn’t have to change anything). Assuming that the hardware list appears to be correct, select the option labeled The Above List Matches My Computer, and press Enter.


Figure C: Verify that Setup detects the correct virtual hardware

The next screen that you will encounter asks you which volume you want to install Windows NT onto. There should only be one volume listed, and that is the 1 GB virtual hard drive that we created in the previous article. This screen should also confirm that the volume is formatted with the FAT file system, and that the drive letter C: has been assigned to it, as shown in Figure D.


Figure D: You should be able to install Windows NT onto C:

Make your selection, and press Enter. Setup should now ask you if you want to convert the volume to NTFS. For right now I recommend leaving the volume formatted as FAT. The reason for this is that in the days of Windows NT it was really difficult to gain access to the NTFS file system outside of Windows. Having the file system formatted as FAT will make your life a lot easier if you end up having to fix any problems. We can always convert the file system to NTFS later on once the initial installation and configuration is complete.

Setup should now ask you for the path that you want to use for the Windows NT system files. Go ahead and press Enter to accept the default option of C:\WINNT. When you do, you will see a message telling you that Setup wants to examine the hard disk for corruption. Go ahead and press Enter to allow Setup to run CHKDSK. The integrity test should only take a minute or two, and then Setup will begin copying the Windows NT system files. The crazy thing is that on my lab server the entire file copy process completed in under a minute. Back in the days of Windows NT, I remember the process taking almost three hours in some situations.

When the file copy completes, you should see a message telling you that Setup has completed successfully. Go ahead and press Enter to reboot the virtual machine. When the reboot completes, Setup will launch the graphical portion of the installation process, as shown in Figure E. We will work through this in Part 4.


Figure E: The virtual machine finally loads the graphical portion of Setup

Conclusion

If you have made it to the graphical portion of the Setup process without encountering any sort of errors, then it is a really good sign that Setup is going to be successful. Even so, we still have quite a bit of work to do in order to complete the installation and configuration process. In the next part of this article series, we will continue installing Windows NT and working toward our ultimate goal of being able to run our legacy applications.

If you would like to read the other parts of this aritcle series please go to

Advertisement

Featured Links