When building Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 VPC’s, I found it is sometimes difficult to get the correct device driver for the sound card installed. After a few fruitless Google searches, I found lots of people with this problem and few solutions. I finally found a blog post that gave me the help I needed. Thanks to Greg Low Bit Bucket for his blog post, Greg Low’s Bit Bucket – Playing videos and sound in Windows Server 2008 using a Virtual PC (VPC).
First, as Greg said, if you’re using Virtual Server, you’re out of luck. Virtual PC 2007 emulates a sound card, but Virtual Server doesn’t. I’m not sure about Hyper-V. If anyone has any findings on Hyper-V sound card emulation, please leave a comment and let us know what you found out.
Virtual PC 2007 Service Pack 1
The service pack has new sound emulator drivers for Vista and Windows Server 2008. Be sure to install it and setup your VMC as a Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 virtual machine. As far as I can tell, the only difference between the operating systems you pick are the sound drivers and the memory allocation. I normally tweak the memory allocation anyway.
Installing the Sound Drivers
To install the sound drivers, you need to install Virtual Machine Additions first, reboot, and then install the sound drivers from the C:\Program Files\Virtual Machine Additions folder on the VHD.
- Install Virtual Machine Additions (File > Install or Update Virtual Machine Additions). This will mount a virtual drive and run a setup program to install the VM additions.
- After installing the software, reboot the VPC as directed
- If you get the Found New Hardware dialog, you can point it to the C:\Program Files\Virtual Machine Additions folder to install the drivers from there
- If you don’t get the Found New Hardware dialog (you disabled it because it was bugging you to death), you can install the device driver from the Device Manager
- Open the Device Manager (Start > Control Panel > Device Manager)
- Under the Other devices, you’ll see a yellow icon indicating you have a problem with the Multimedia Audio Controller
- Right-click the Multimedia Audio Controller and select the Update Device Driver option
- Select the option to “Browse my computer” and point it to the C:\Program Files\Virtual Machine Additions folder
- Click Next to install the device drivers
- After the device driver setup is complete, your sound should start working, and you’ll no longer have an annoying device driver warning when you startup your VPC
Installing Windows Media Player on Windows Server 2008
Windows Server 2008 does not have Windows Media player installed by default. If you want to get streaming media audio running, you’ll need to install it. To install the Media Player, you need to install the “Desktop Experience” feature.
The Desktop Experience feature enables a bunch of stuff that is by default present on a Vista workstation, but is not included by default on a Server 2008 installation.desktop OS. Most importantly it includes Windows Media player, Themes, and the Aero related features.
- Open Server Manager (Start > Administrative Tools > Server Manager)
- Select Features > Add Features
- Check the Desktop Experience feature and click Next
- Click Install to install the feature
- Reboot as directed
- When the machine comes back up, WIndows Media Player will be there
After installing the Desktop Experience on Windows Server 2008, Windows Media Player will be available. Themes and Aero will be installed but disabled, but I don’t need them bogging down my VPC anyway.
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