What’s new with Integration Services in the Windows Technical Preview?

If you have been running Hyper-V hosts with a variety of guest VM operating systems, you probably have experienced the hassle of installing and updating the Integration Services for your guests. Simply put, Integration Service” provide the mechanism for communication and interaction between the Hyper-V host and its guests. If you want to get a more comprehensive overview of integration services, check out my previous post.

Prior to Windows Technical Preview, Microsoft has distributed new versions of Integration Services with each new release of Hyper-V backup software. Once the host is updated, each guest has to be updated individually using vmguest.iso, and guests running certain operating systems have to be updated using a very specific vmguest.iso. Also, the Hyper-V host administrator and the guest administrator have to track and locate all guest versions, host versions and service pack levels, and make sure the vmguest.iso required for each specific guest OS is retrieved from the appropriate version of Windows. For example, a VM running Windows Vista SP2 running on a Windows Server 2008 host would fail to update Integration Services until the host is updated to SP or the vmguest.iso file is retrieved from a different Windows Server 2008 SP2 host. The Integration Services update also requires a reboot of each guest and it cannot be batched with other Windows updates. It’s just a painful process at every level.

Now with the new Windows Technical Preview, the Microsoft team has resolved this pain point. They’ve renamed Integration Services to Integration Components and they are delivered via the normal Windows update process. Gone is the painful hassle of updating each guest.

In future builds for Windows Technical Preview there will be multiple category IDs of component updates. In the current build, there is only one category which is identified as Important KB3004908.

If you are running a Windows Technical Preview Hyper-V host today, you may update the Integration Components for any guests running the following OSs:

  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows 7

Happy integrating!


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