HowTo Create Windows 2008 base image

Download ISO

Register and create the VM

$ VBoxManage createvm --name "win2k8_x64" --ostype Windows2008_64 --register --basefolder /vbox

Modify VM base parameters

The test lab is using 2 network interfaces:
  • NAT on nic1 to provide internet connectivity
  • Bridged on nic2 to provide direct access to the VM operating system

This virtual machine will be created with default Windows 2008 requirement.

$ VboxManage modifyvm win2k8_x64 --memory 512 --acpi on --boot1 dvd --nic1 nat
$ VBoxManage modifyvm win2k8_x64 --nic2 bridged --bridgeadapter2 tap2

We now need to create the tap2 interface as root. Permanent modifications though /etc/network/interfaces will be available later in this guide.

# VBoxTunctl -t tap2 -u vboxuser

Customize VRDP parameters

In our test lab virtual machines network interfaces are made available within a bridge which IP address is and without any routing to the Internet. This configuration is helpful to collect network captures and improve network traffic analysis and filtering. Furthermore we don't want to expose the rdesktop connection to the world.

We also set the vrdp port to 3390 instead of default 3389. Since we will be running several virtual machines, it is good to start using a different port than default one now.

$ VBoxManage modifyvm win2k8_x64 --vrdp on --vrdpport 3390 --vrdpaddress

Create IDE Controller

Virtualbox requires hdd and dvddrive meidums to be attached to an IDE controller which is not created by default.

$ VBoxManage storagectl win2k8_x64 --name "IDE Controller" --add ide

Create the VDI disk and attach it

Windows 2008 specifies a minimum size of 30Gb is required to run Windows 2008. Since we plan on installed Exchange on top of this install, it is worthwhile to allocate enough space. We will install the VDI disk within the virtual machine directory created earlier and attach it to the VM.

$ VBoxManage createhd --filename "/vbox/win2k8_x64/win2k8_x64.vdi" --size 30000
$ VBoxManage storageattach win2k8_x64 --storagectl "IDE Controller" --port 0 --device 0 --type hdd --medium /vbox/win2k8_x64/win2k8_x64.vdi

Register DVD image to use for booting and attach it

$ VBoxManage registerimage dvd /home/vboxuser/iso/6001.18000.080118-1840_amd64fre_Server_en-us-KRMSXFRE_EN_DVD.iso
$ VBoxManage storageattach win2k8_x64 --storagectl "IDE Controller" --port 1 --device 0 --type dvddrive --medium /home/vboxuser/iso/6001.18000.080118-1840_amd64fre_Server_en-us-KRMSXFRE_EN_DVD.iso

Review Virtual machine parameters

Review your configuration and/or adjust system parameters with VBoxManage modifyvm if you need.

$ VBoxManage showvminfo win2k8_x64

Run the virtual machine

We can now run the virtual machine and install windows 2008:

$ VBoxHeadless --startvm win2k8_64
Oracle VM VirtualBox Headless Interface 3.2.6
(C) 2008-2010 Oracle Corporation
All rights reserved.

Listening on port 3390.

We can connect to the VM through rdesktop-vrdp from another workstation (with graphical environment installed):

$ rdesktop-vrdp -g 1024x768

Install Windows 2008

You can now go through Windows 2008 setup process. It is advised not to configure or customize any parameters for now (computer name or workgroup or roles). This will be done at a later stage.

With windows update, install all required and optionally additional updates, reboot the computer as many time as required.

Install Guest additions

Finally we will install virtualbox Guest additions to our Windows 2008 base image.
  1. Shut down the virtual machine
  2. Run:
    $ VBoxManage storageattach win2k8_x64 --storagectl "IDE Controller" --port 1 --device 0 --type dvddrive --medium /usr/share/virtualbox/VBoxGuestAdditions.iso
  3. Start the virtual machine:
    $ VBoxHeadless --startvm win2k8_64
  4. Install guest additions
  5. Shutdown the virtual machine
  6. Remove the installation media:
    $ VBoxManage storageattach win2k8_x64 --storagectl "IDE Controller" --port 1 --device 0 --type dvddrive --medium none

Prepare your base image for Exchange 2007/2010 deployment

At this point, we have a working windows 2008 base image we can use for Exchange deployment. However it may be useful to install Exchange 2007 and 2010 prerequisites so we don't go through similar installation process for each virtual machines. If you are willing to install these requirements on cloned virtual machines rather than on base one, you can skip this section.

  1. Make sure you have installed Service Pack 2 on your Windows 2008 base image
  2. Exchange 2010 requires Office Filter Pack to be installed
  3. Windows PowerShell / Windows Remote which you can also install from Windows 2008 Add Features wizard (tick Windows PowerShell box and click on Install)
  4. Exchange 2010 requires .NET Framework 3.5 SP1. However this update (including cumulative bug fixes to enable compatibility with Exchange 2007) is now part of Windows update and this download is not required.

Congratulations! You now have the windows 2008 base image needed to run the test lab. This base image will remained untouched to keep a consistent Windows 2008 environment we can use for additional virtual machines.