I recently migrated my ‘physical’ Windows 10 desktop to a ‘virtual’ machine running under UNRAID (libvert). This is a quick guide on how I was able to use my existing installation on a SSD and pass it through to a VM.

Why passthrough a drive to a VM?

In some cases, it might be beneficial to start from scratch when creating a Windows 10 VM on UNRAID, creating a new virtual disk and having a fresh install. I chose to take an alternative path because I was contempt with my Windows install as it was. I had my Steam/Epic Games library downloaded onto one of the two disks already in the system and a number of applications installed and configured just the way I like them.

In short, being able to preserve my disks in their current state would save me hours of unnecessary reconfiguration.

So why not create an image of those disks and place them on the UNRAID array or cache? Well, I plan to have multiple VMs on my UNRAID server (other Physical to Virtual conversions), a number of docker containers, applications and uses for the array which will all be IO heavy operations. Giving my Windows VM an independent disk subsystem will ensure that it never encounters Disk IO bottlenecks. For me, this is a desirable feature.

How to pass through a drive to a UNRAID VM - two passed through drives. My Windows 10 VM, with it’s two physical disks. The UNRAID prerequisites

To pass through a drive to a UNRAID VM, there are a number of prerequisites that must be fulfilled. The following plugin will be needed:

Dlandon’s Unassigned Devices – this is a great plugin that allows a drive that is not a part of the array or cache to be used in a number of ways. It makes it possible to mount, share, or pass through an unassigned device (disk).

How to pass through a drive to a UNRAID VM - unassigned devices. My two Windows disks marked for ‘pass thru’ Once you have enabled ‘pass thru’ for your disk, it is worth taking a note of the disk IDs, these will be needed for the following stages:

  • INTEL_SSDSC2BF240A4L_CVDA411205W12403GN

UNRAID VM Configuration

Now we can look to create our Windows 10 VM, using our passed through Disks (Intel SSD boot drive and Western Digital HDD data drive). Here is a brief list of my settings:

  • Machine: Q35-4.2
  • Hyper-V: No
  • Primary Disk: Manual, /dev/disk/by-id/, sata
  • 2nd Disk: Manual, /dev/disk/by-id/, sata
  • Any other devices, CPU cores and Memory allocations.

How to pass through a drive to a UNRAID VM - VM config example. My Windows 10 VM configuration. NOTE: My physical Windows installation was configured with UEFI (The C: drive was a GPT disk). If you were using legacy/BIOS, to boot into windows (Your C: drive is a BMR disk) you will need to set the UNRAID VM’s BIOS to SeaBIOS.

The Result

How to pass through a drive to a UNRAID VM - windows 10 A Windows 10 VM with ‘physical’ disks and in my case a physical GPU too! My Windows instance booted up, reconfigured to account for the change in available memory and CPU, and rebooted again once this was complete.

I did need to mount the virtIO ISO file and install chipset and network drivers – this also makes Windows observe a VM stop command as a shutdown signal, much like VMware tools.

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