Manually Deploying the Hyper-V Integration Services

Image of three circles cut up into segments on a blue background.
Deploy your Hyper-V integration services manually!

When you install Windows (or any other operating system) on a physical device, the operating system requires device drivers to interact with the system’s hardware. This same basic concept applies to virtualized systems. The Integration Services act as a collection of device drivers that allow the guest operating system to work with virtual hardware in a Hyper-V environment.

Hyper-V admins had to install the Integration Services into every guest operating system manually back in the day. Microsoft eventually removed this requirement and made the installation of Integration Services automatic. Microsoft also went far as to include the Integration Services in Windows. 

While the inclusion of the Integration Services was undoubtedly a step in the right direction, Microsoft removed the option to install the Integration Services manually. In this article, I’ll show you how to deploy the Integration Services manually.

Why Should You Manually Install the Integration Services?

It’s usually best to allow the Integration Services to install automatically if possible. Sometimes, your only option is to install the integration services manually. 

For example, you may want to get the Hyper-V Integration Services on a VM running an outdated OS. In this case, you’ll need to install them manually, using the method I’m about to show you. You can also use this method to install the Integration Services onto a VM template.

Let’s get started with how you can manually install the Hyper-V Integration Services.

How to Manually Install the Integration Services

The manual installation process for the Hyper-V Integration Services splits into 4 parts:

1. Preparing Your Virtual Machine

Before you get started, you’ll need to perform a few preparatory steps:

  1. Create a Hyper-V virtual machine 
  2. Install an operating system onto the virtual machine
  3. Shut down the virtual machine (the manual installation procedure outlined in this article won’t work if the VM is running)
  4. Verify that no checkpoints exist for the virtual machine (if you attempt this procedure on a VM for which checkpoints exist, you’ll corrupt the VM’s virtual hard disk)

After prepping everything, you can move on to the next phase.

2. Acquiring the Integration Services

The next step is to download a copy of the Integration Services here. It’s essential to download an Integration Services version that matches the guest operating system installed on the virtual machine. 

The download consists of a single .CAB file. You’ll also need to save this file to a location accessible from the host server.

3. Installing the Integration Services

Now that you’ve prepared the virtual machine and downloaded the Integration Services, you can install the Integration Services onto the VM. 

To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Hyper-V Manager
  2. Right-click on the VM 
  3. Select the Settings command from the shortcut menu (this will open the VM’s Settings page)
  4. Click on the VM’s virtual hard disk
  5. Note the path and filename for the virtual hard disk file
Screenshot of the Hyper-V settings.
Note the virtual disk path and filename!
  1. Navigate through File Explorer to the virtual hard disk’s location
  2. Right-click on the virtual hard disk 
  3. Choose the Mount command from the shortcut menu 
  4. Make a note of the drive letter assigned to the disk
  5. Open an elevated PowerShell Session
  6. Create a variable and set its value equal to the Integration Services file’s path and filename (for example, $IS=”C:\Temp\Hyper-VIntegrationServices.cab”)
  7. Create a variable and set its value equal to the drive letter mounted to the virtual hard disk file (for example, $VHD=E:”)
  8. Use the Add-WindowsPackage cmdlet to add the .CAB file to the virtual hard disk (the command will look like this, but varies depending on the variable names you’ve used: Add-WindowsPackage -PackagePath $IS -Path $VHD)
Screenshot of an elevated PowerShell session.
Add the Integration Services package to your virtual hard disk!

4. Cleaning Up

At this point, you’ve successfully installed the Integration Services. Yet, you should also do one more thing before you boot the virtual machine. 

  1. Go to File Explorer
  2. Right-click the disk you mounted earlier
  3. Choose the Eject command from the shortcut menu

This will cause Windows to dismount the disk. Once you’ve dismounted the disk, you can use the virtual machine.

The Bottom Line

It’s best to let Windows install the Integration Services automatically if possible. Sometimes you’ll have to perform a manual installation. For example, if you want to get the Hyper-V Integration Services on an outdated OS, you’ll have to complete the installation manually.

In this guide, I showed you the 4 phases you need to follow to run the Integration Services manually. First, you have to prepare your VM. Then, you should get the Integration Services package. After that, you’ll install the package with PowerShell before finally dismounting the disk.

Have any questions about the Integration Services? Check out the FAQ and Resources below!

FAQ

What can I do if none of the available Integration Services match my Windows version?

Hyper-V got released with Windows Server 2008, and it doesn’t support earlier operating systems. It’s always possible that one of the existing packages may work with your OS, but it isn’t guaranteed. It’s good to create a backup before trying anything like that. 

How can I check for the existence of checkpoints before installing the Integration Services?

Open Hyper-V Manager and click on the virtual machine. The Checkpoints section should be empty. If any checkpoints exist, you’ll need to delete them before attempting this procedure. Remember that deleting a checkpoint eliminates your ability to roll the VM back to a previous state.

What happens if I install the Integration Services without first removing checkpoints?

You’ll break the virtual disk chain if you mount and modify a virtual hard disk while checkpoints exist. In some cases, it’s possible to fix the problem using the Edit Virtual Hard Disk Wizard.

Is the manual deployment of Integration Services suitable for production use?

The answer is both yes and no. This method certainly works, and it also uses documentation from Microsoft. Yet, most of the operating systems you’d use this technique for have passed their end-of-life date. It’s a bad idea to run an outdated OS in production. It’s something you want to avoid.

How can I check if I’ve installed the Hyper-V Integration Services?

To check if you’ve installed the Hyper-V Integration Services, you need to access the Guest. From there, open the Device Manager, and expand System Devices. After that, you should select properties on the Microsoft Hyper-V Virtual Machine. Finally, you should select Tab Driver. That’ll also show you the Integration Services version on your device.

Resources

TechGenix: Hyper-V Integration Services

Learn about the Hyper-V Integration Services here.

TechGenix: Past Installation of Hyper-V Integration Services

See what the Hyper-V Integration Services installation process looked like in the past here.

TechGenix: Actual Functions of Hyper-V Integration Services

Find out what the Hyper-V Integration Services do here.

Microsoft: Hyper-V Integration Services Documentation

Discover Microsoft’s documentation for the Hyper-V Integration Services here.

Microsoft: Guide for Hyper-V Integration Services Management

Find Microsoft’s guide for managing the Hyper-V Integration Services here.

Microsoft: Installing Integration Services

Discover how to install the Integration Services on a virtual machine that isn’t running here.

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