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Upgrading E1000 to VMXNET3 network adaptor

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Upgrading E1000 to VMXNET3 network adaptor


Foreshore have observed some issues with Windows Server 2012 and virtual Intel E1000 Network adaptors within a VMWare vSphere environment.


On some occasions network disconnects can occur when running virtual servers with the above configuration.  As a result Foreshore are recommending that when deploying Windows Server 2012 the VMXNET3 network adaptor should be used rather than the E1000.  All of Foreshore’s Windows Server 2012 templates have been updated to use the VMXNET3 adaptor.


If your machine is currently using an E1000 network adaptor please carry out the following steps in order to change this to VMXNET3.


Before carrying out this procedure you should ensure that you have no applications that are registered against the specific MAC address of the machine.

Ensure that VMWare Tools is installed on the server and up to date

In vCloud director right click on the virtual machine and select ‘Properties’ from the menu.  On the General tab there is a section for VMWare Tools.  Ensure that this lists a version number and not ‘Not Installed’ as the VMXNET3 network adaptor relies on VMWare tools being installed on the machine.



Check Guest Customisation Settings

In vCloud director right click on the virtual machine and select ‘Properties’ from the menu.  On the Guest OS Customization tab check the status of the ‘Enable Guest Customisation’ checkbox.  For making this change we recommend that this box is unchecked.  If it is left checked along with the Change SID box then the machine will be sysprep’ed during later stages of this procedure when the hardware is changed.


Note that if the Enable Guest Customization box is checked then the machine has to be powered off in order to uncheck it and apply the changes.


Take a note of your existing NIC settings

Open up the Network Connections control panel, go to the properties of your network adaptor, then the properties of the Internet Protocol Version 4/6 and take a note of all of the IP information on the adaptor.  If you use secondary addresses on your server don’t forget to take a note of those by clicking on the Advanced button.


Ensure you know the local administrator password

Before carrying out these steps ensure that you know what the local administrator password is on the server as this may be required if you are carrying out the upgrade on a domain connected machine which has not cached your domain administrator logon crededntials.



Special note for Domain Controllers

If you are carrying out this procedure on a domain controller rather than a standard server you may want to modify the order of the steps that follow so that you add the VMXNET3 adaptor to the machine and swap over the IP address onto the new NIC before removing the E1000 adaptor.

The reason for doing this with a domain controller is that you are otherwise likely to have issues with the domain controller starting up if it has no IP address on it.

Upgrading the NIC in vCloud

If you try to carry out this procedure without having first powered off the virtual machine you will note that you are unable to modify / delete the existing E1000 network adaptor from the machine.  Even with the machine powered off the network adaptor cannot be modified.  It can only be deleted and a new one added.


Shutdown the virtual machine from the console/RDP.  It will now be displayed in vCloud as Partially Powered Off.  Right click on the machine and select to Power Off.


Now right click on the machine and select Properties from the menu.  Select the Hardware tab and scroll to the bottom of the window.  In the NICs section tick the box for ‘Show network adaptor type.’  You will see that the adaptor type is listed as E1000 but you cannot change it.  Make sure that you take a note of each of the settings listed for the adaptor such as the network it is connected to and the IP mode.


Click on the Delete button next to the E1000 network adaptor and then click on the Add button to setup a new Network adaptor.  When adding the new adaptor ensure that you select VMXNET3 from the drop down list.  Click on the OK button and then start the virtual machine.


Configuring the NIC in Server 2012

You now need to update the settings inside the Windows operating system.  First we need to remove the old E1000 network card from device manager as it will still have the old IP address information linked to it even though it is no longer in the VM.


Run the following command to show non present devices in Device Manager:

Set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1


You can then type in devmgmt.msc to open device manager.



When in Device manager click on View at the top and select ‘Show hidden devices.’  In the list under ‘Network adaptors’ you will now see that there is an ‘Intel® PRO/1000 MT Network Connection’ greyed out.  It is greyed out because it has been removed from the machine – do not carry out the next step on a network adaptor that is not greyed out.


Right click on the adaptor and select Uninstall.


Now open up the Network Connections control panel, go to the properties of your new network adaptor, then the properties of the Internet Protocol Version 4/6 and complete the IP address fields from the notes you made earlier.

Your network adaptor is now setup.



If you receive the following error when configuring the IP address on the new network adaptor then you have missed the step for uninstalling the removed E1000 network adaptor.



If your Device Manager looks like this after adding the VMXNET3 adaptor then you have missed the step for making sure that VMWare tools is installed on the machine as this is required to provide the drivers for the network card.  Install VMWare tools, reboot the server and the network card will be recognised correctly.


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Last Modified:09/01/2014 09:27:20

Last Modified By: stevel


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