Hyper-V – how to install legacy network driver for Windows Server 2003 virtual machine

I have recently installed Windows Server 2012 and setup a domain. I then setup a virtual machine with Windows Server 2008 installed on it. I setup an External Virtual Switch using Virtual Switch Manager in Hyper-V manager and used that switch for Network Adapter associated with that virtual machine. Everything worked just as expected and I managed to add the VM to domain setup on the host computer and also successfully connected to internet connection.

I, then, setup another virtual machine with Windows Server 2003 SP2 only to find out that it does not pick up the vNIC. I, then, added legacy network adapter by following these steps

  • Virtual Machine > Settings > Add Hardware
  • Select Legacy Network Adapter and click Add
  • This will add Legacy Network Adapter to the virtual machine
  • Select appropriate Virtual Switch under “Legacy Network Adapter” settings

When I started my VM it detected the network adapter but unfortunately couldn’t pick up the driver which made me google for the solution. One of the article I came across on Microsoft website was titled “Hyper-V: Avoid using a legacy network adapter on Windows Server 2003 (x64) and Windows XP Professional (x64)” which forced me to look for other solution and I ended up wasting half of my precious Sunday L

I didn’t give up my search to find the solution for my problem and finally I came across the following blog. This helps to find out the driver for legacy network adapter already available on Vista machine. I have Windows 7 installed on one of my other machines so I followed the procedure as explained in the blog. Everything is exactly the same as explained except the directory name which is slightly different but close enough to identify. On Vista the directory is located at

–          %windir%\system32\driverstore\FileRepository\dc21x4vm.inf_7d8c6569

While on Windows 7 the driver information is located in

–          %windir%\system32\driverstore\FileRepository\dc21x4vm.inf_amd64_neutral_8887242a56ee027e

Copy all files to a CD or create ISO image file so you can browse it using DVD drive associated with VM.

Start VM and when asked browse to this directory on DVD and install drivers. That’s it all done and you should be good to go.

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This entry was posted in Hyper-V, Legacy Network Adapter, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Hyper-V – how to install legacy network driver for Windows Server 2003 virtual machine

  1. Pingback: Connecting Windows Server 2003 x64 VM To External Network In Hyper-V

  2. Jon Rayworth says:

    That worked like a charm, thanks. It has been driving me crazy!

  3. Ryan says:

    yes, this is awesome.

  4. Yowser says:

    This also worked on my legacy 32 bit win2003 VM that suddenly decided it didn’t understand the hyper-v network card! I used a nice little ISO creator at http://www.trustfm.net/software/utilities/Folder2Iso.php?page=Download.

  5. jason says:

    Thanks. Having searching for 1 whole day to solve the problem until i found this blog. Just add the Legacy Network Adapter and it solved all my problems. Thank you very much !

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