Windows Custom ISO with VirtIO Drivers

Updated on December 21, 2020
Windows Custom ISO with VirtIO Drivers header image

Building the Windows ISO (Server versions only)

  1. Get the latest binary VirtIO drivers for Windows, packaged as an ISO file, from

  2. Make a folder: c:\custom.

  3. Extract your Windows Server ISO to: c:\custom\winserver with a compression tool such as 7zip

  4. Extract the VirtIO ISO to c:\custom\winserver\virtio.

  5. Use an ISO mastering tool to create your custom slipstream ISO. In general, the following mastering options are needed:

  • Filesystem: UDF, Include Hidden Files, Include System Files
  • Make image bootable.
  • Emulation Type: none
  • Boot Image: C:\custom\winserver\boot\
  • Platform ID: 80x86
  • Developer ID: Microsoft Corporation
  • Sectors to load: 8

You now have a Windows ISO with built-in VirtIO drivers ready for use as a custom Vultr ISO.


After deploying your custom ISO, open the Vultr Web Console.

At first, no drive is present. This is normal. Click "Load Driver".

  • For Server 2012 and 2012 R2, use WIN8.
  • For Server 2016, use 2k16.

For example, using 2012 on a 64 bit VPS:

Browse to one of the following folders (varies based on your ISO image):

  • virtio > WIN8 > AMD64
  • Virtio > Virtstor > Win2012 > AMD

Select "Red Hat VirtIO SCSI" driver.

Now the drive is visible.

Additional Steps

Configuring Network Connectivity

  1. After you log in for the first time on your Windows VPS via View Console, you will be greeted by the Server Manager. On the upper right part of the menu, click on Tools then choose Computer Management. A new window will open.
  2. On the left pane of that new window (will be named Computer Management), select Device Manager.
  3. You should notice 3 devices that are marked with yellow "!" signs (4 if you chose to enable Private Networking).
    Right-click on Ethernet Controller and choose Update Driver Software...
  4. Two choices will appear, choose the one below, which is Browse my computer for driver software.
  5. Click Browse... and navigate to D:\virtio\NetKVM\WIN8\AMD64, then click Next.
  6. You will see a pop-up confirmation to verify that you want to install Red Hat VirtIO Ethernet Adapter, just click Install.
  7. Your VPS will now have internet connectivity! Perform steps 3-6 again for any more Unrecognized Devices on your system.

Getting Windows RDP to Work (optional)

By default, Windows Server will allow two concurrent RDP sessions. Make sure the Windows firewall allows Remote Desktop on the Public network.

  1. Navigate to Control Panel > Windows Firewall > Allowed Apps.

  2. Verify Public is checked for Remote Desktop.

If you need more than two concurrent RDP sessions, install the Remote Desktop Session Host. This requires additional licensing.

  1. Click on Manage, then choose Add Roles and Features.
  2. It is safe to keep clicking Next until you get to Server Roles section of it.
  3. Scroll down a bit, and find Remote Desktop Services, click the check-box beside it to select. Then click Next.
  4. You can skip the Features part for now, so just click Next again.
  5. Now on Role Services, click the check-box beside Remote Desktop Session Host.
  6. A pop-up will appear, just click Add Features, then click Next one last time.
  7. Confirm your installation by clicking Install. Your VPS will now be installing Windows RDP.
  8. Once the installation finishes, you can reboot your VPS to apply the changes. And you're done! You will now be able to connect to your VPS via Windows RDP, using your IP Address, User name (default is Administrator) and Password.

Windows Licensing

Due to licensing requirements, we cannot provide support for custom Windows installations. If you intend to install Windows at Vultr, make sure you have a valid Windows license before proceeding. The majority of Windows licenses are not valid for cloud server deployment.