August 04, 2015 Guides, Gaming

Windows 10 on Unraid 6

On July 29th, Microsoft released the newest version of their desktop OS, Windows 10. This new release brings the return of the start menu, support for multiple desktop screens, and DirectX 12, which promises massive performance improvements for gaming. There are plenty of other goodies baked into Windows 10, but the point of this post today isn't to educate you on Windows 10 itself, but rather, what's relevant to know about it with respect to use with Unraid.

During the technology preview period, there were some issues with Windows 10 accessing data over SMB on Unraid, but the final release version seems to have that issue put to rest. It's still early though so make sure to report any connectivity issues on the forums so we can help track down and diagnose them properly.

But what about running Windows 10 as a virtual machine on Unraid 6? Here's what you need to know:

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Can I run a Windows 10 VM on Unraid 6?

Short answer: Yes!! We've tested both the home and pro edition on a few systems now and it seems to be working just fine. Simply follow the same process that is documented in our wiki for any Windows installation. However, when you get to the part where you need to load the VirtIO drivers during installation, you will need to select the win81 folder, as there are no official Windows 10 VirtIO drivers just yet. The 8.1 version seems to work ok, but we are also hopeful that a future release of these will include Windows 10 driver optimizations. Please report your experiences in our forums.

What about GPU and USB pass through?

So far, our testing has revealed these to work just fine with 10 as they have with Windows 8.1.

What about performance?

Its still early in our testing, but so far, we haven't seen any major changes (good or bad) when it comes to VM performance using Windows 10.

Can I upgrade my existing Windows VM to 10?

Windows 10 Upgrade Path Matrix 600X477

a chart showing which versions of Windows are eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10.

This is the biggest question that folks have been asking lately as Microsoft is allowing free upgrades for existing Windows 7 and 8 users to go to 10. However, experiences in upgrading a VM to Windows 10 haven't been superb just yet:

  • We have yet to successfully upgrade any Windows VM using OVMF to Windows 10 (gets stuck during installation).
  • Some users have reported that they can upgrade to Windows 10 just fine, but that they had to reduce the number of CPUs assigned to the VM down to 1 before performing the upgrade.
  • We also haven't been able to test this successfully when upgrading from Windows 7 (using SeaBIOS).

There are multiple reasons these upgrade issues could be occurring, but we are hopeful that these issues will be resolved eventually. We are continuing to test the upgrade process to see if there are ways we can better coax it into working consistently, and as we discover more information, we will share it with the community. In the meantime, if you want to try upgrading on your own, here's our short-list of tips to increase your chance of success:

Make a backup of your virtual disk before performing the upgrade.

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Reduce the number of CPUs assigned to your VM to 1 before performing the upgrade.

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Try adjusting the CPU mode from Host Passthrough to Emulated.

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Discuss this in the Unraid Community Forum

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