Today i had to install Windows 2003 R2 + SP2 (downloaded from MSDN) within a virtual machine because i needed a DC for a physical testcluster (if your not into IT, this sentence must be a pain in the ass).

I noticed that the installer just kept on going forever at the “installing devices” part.

Did you know that you can press SHIFT-F11 during setup to see that windows is doing? In this case the ‘add new hardware’ wizard was running.
You can also use SHIFT-F10 to get a command prompt

After some research i found the solution:
1) Reset the virtual machine (don’t boot from cdrom)
2) Keep the focus within the virtual machine (don’t ctrl-alt)

You’ll see it works this time, probably has something to do with the detection of keyboard and/or mouse.

VMware, yeah!

67 Responses to “Installing Windows in VMware hangs on “installing devices””

  1. Jeff Cave Says:

    I had the exact problem on my VMware server, so this was a great help to me! Thanks for posting it – Jeff

  2. admin Says:

    Glad to help you out! Thanks for leaving a reply!

  3. Brian Says:

    Thanks a lot for this. Couldn’t find the solution anywhere until I stumbled across this site.

  4. celic Says:

    Thank god i found this post. 🙂

  5. Richard Says:

    Thanks a lot,Pieter!

  6. Tim Says:

    Thanks, I thought something was wrong for sure until I found this site!

  7. Mike Says:

    You’re the man!

  8. Nathan Says:

    This exact same solution solved the exact same problem for me, except I’m using QEmu for Linux & installing WinXP as a guest.

  9. Rico Says:

    Thanks for the tip!

  10. Josh Says:

    I wasted 20 minutes today staring at the VM console. It would have turned into several hours except for this site. Thanks!

  11. John Says:

    Your post really helped me, would have never thought that not being on the program would have caused this. Thank you very much!

  12. Jean-Yves Says:

    thank you also for this tip, I felt into this trap also this morning …

  13. Jordan Says:

    Thanks a lot, if I never read this I would have left it hanging at that stage for hours.

  14. Brian Lowrance Says:

    I ran into this same problem.
    Stuck at 37 minutes, “Installing Devices”.
    I restarted the VM and did not take the mouse/keyboard out of the VM as you suggested. I am now humming right along with the remainder of the install.

    I also didn’t know about the Shift F10 and F11 tricks and I have installed and configured a lot of servers. I love to learn great tips like this. Thanks for taking the time to post this.

  15. FromMe Says:

    Really thanx….this is help me too =)

  16. Redrick Says:

    Thanks a lot, man, this solution also helped me.

    The same issue exists installing Win Server 2003 under Virtual PC 2007 – so this is not a VMWare glitch, but Windows one.

    — Red

  17. Larry B Says:

    Wow… this post saved me a bunch of time…


  18. Joost Says:

    I had the issue with Virtual PC 2007 on Vista home premium, trying to install XP. Helped for me! Thanks!!

  19. korgolo Says:


  20. RS Says:

    This helped me so much!!!!!!! THanks!

  21. Joe Says:

    So all I have to do is take out the disk and reset the virtual machine and that’s it?

  22. George Parker Says:

    Thanks very much. Your suggestion worked for me too! 🙂

  23. Leo ’s Personal Blog » Win2003R2-SP2+VM Says:

    […] […]

  24. Greg Says:


  25. Greg Says:

    Yes.. excellent work.. worked a treat…. took a few reboots for me.. but got there in the end… This was on ESXi server using a ISO

  26. prabakaran Says:

    hi, very much thanks fotr this help yaar..

    i am really stuck up with this error now..

    i ll reset my machine.. and i ll do the installation again

    than u very much yaar……….

  27. xual Says:

    ty for this

  28. Jimmah Says:

    Thank you!

  29. Cyril Says:

    You are a genius !!!! Thanks !!!!!!!!!!

  30. Elijah Says:

    Thank you, had the very same problem on VMWare ESXi 4.0

    This fixes it!

  31. hearts Says:

    thx. I am installing windows xp on windows xp.. encountering exactly the same problem and being solved by the same method.

  32. David Says:

    Thanks for posting this.

  33. Nikolay Says:

    Thank you very much, I spent almost 2 days trying to reinstall a windows 2003 server in ESXi 4. I am going to leave it on focus now. The Shift+ F10 is also nice to know;-)

    Thanks once more.

  34. Brett Says:

    Just wanted to say this was a time saver. I waited way to long for it to get past this screen before I found this post. THANKS!

  35. Glenn Says:

    You, sir, are a genious. Saved me for up to unlimited hours. Thank you!

  36. Jason Says:

    Good job on this!! Saved me lots of time!

  37. Eric Says:

    OMG!!! So much time wasted for something so stupid!!! Thanks for your tip, saved me a lot of hair!!! BTW, I wasn’t using VMware, but Hyper-V and had the same issue.

  38. Nick Palmer Says:

    Excellent, thanks very much!

  39. Ron Says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Who knows how long I would have tried to figure this out.

  40. Todd Parkhill Says:

    Thanks so much! I’ve lost a lot of hours today waiting for this dumb thing to install. (Or am I the dumb thing? Wait, don’t answer that.) Again, thanks!

  41. Riparyan Says:

    Thx.. it’s the simple things that get us sometimes.. 🙂

  42. Mayur Macwan Says:

    Thanks a million, this saved lot of my time, otherwise I always let windows sit there for a while when installing an OS, specially when its on VM … lol

    Thanks again, great job by posting it on the blog.

  43. Ken Ricketts Says:

    Worked like a charm. Many thanks.

  44. Alex Bond Says:

    Hi just trying to understand the thing…totally new to Mac but need windows on my G5 PPC so how do you reset VM ???

    Thanks a lot,


  45. TJ Says:

    Thanks GOD! You rock! You saved my day man.

  46. Tom Says:

    many thanks !

  47. Robbie Says:

    Oh man! Thanks so much!!! You’re lucky you only wasted the 20 mins waiting- I was running programs in the background and dragged it out for an entire morning!!!

  48. Robbie Says:

    thanks so much for creating this page. you saved me a lot of time. it seems so obvious when you know the solution!

  49. Cristian Says:

    So simple!
    Your fix also works when installing SBS2003 on Hyper V. I left the dvd running last night on my Hyper V and came back this morning to find it was still stuck at 37 minutes. Rebooted, made sure the screen had focus and voila! You saved me so much time.

  50. Brian Says:

    So simple! I lost an hour today until I found this post, installing Windows 2000 Advanced Server in VMWare Lab Manager 4. I logged in on my laptop so I could continue working on my other machine, kept focus on the install… and now I have a domain built 🙂

  51. Umart Says:

    Man, thanks you a lot for providing a solution, simple and works! Great!

  52. Masoud Says:

    it Verry goooooooood

  53. Anonymous Says:


    I encountered this problem when doing an installation of Windows 2003 R2 SP2 in ILO. (Yes some people still want 2003 installed 🙁 )

    Didnt expect it to work but it did!

  54. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you! Hit this today and your link saved me lots of time.

  55. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you so much.

    The solution works like a charm.

  56. Ehsan Says:

    Thanks! Helped me a lot.

  57. voidp Says:

    This fix just worked for VMware workstation 9 with a Windows 2000 Professional guest OS. VMware’s site was no help. Thanks!!

  58. Mligt2001 Says:

    As long as you keep your mousepointer in the VM it works excelent.

  59. JP1 Says:

    Thank you for this. I, like many others, wasted a ton of time staring at “Installing Devices” screen that wouldn’t move. I left the cursor in the window and it’s moving along.

  60. JimA Says:

    OK, I don’t want to sound stupid but how am I supposed to reset the VM (with the vSphere 5.1 client) while keeping my mouse pointer inside the VM? I need to ctl-alt and move my mouse outside the VM’s window in order to reach/hit the RESET button.

    I’ve tried multiple resets by using another PC running another vSphere client, and doing it from there, so as not to disturb my mouse. No luck. It just keeps going back to the endless “installing devices.” HELP!!

  61. Matt Says:

    Thanks! I would’ve been stuck without this, what a strange fix. Cheers

  62. Enos Says:


  63. sean Says:

    Thanks!. That was it. I restarted, then made sure it booted to the hard drive, but right before it resumed installation i took the mouse out. It wen through installing devices right away

  64. Anandaraj Says:

    Thanks a lot!. This was worked for me in Dell Poweredge 2950 server. Thank you very much

  65. Indiana Jones Says:

    Thank you!!!

    Very Usefull

  66. dave Says:

    Thanks! Works in VMWare ESXi 5 also.

  67. tbarn Says:

    Allow me to join in the crowd of “THANK YOU!”s for this post!

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