There are a few caveats when using Drupal VM on Windows, and this page will try to identify the main gotchas or optimization tips for those wishing to use Drupal VM on a Windows host.

Command line environment

You can use PowerShell, Git Bash, Git Shell, or other PowerShell-based environments with Drupal VM and Vagrant; however you might want to consider using a more POSIX-like environment so you can more easily work with Drupal VM:

  • Cmder includes built-in git and SSH support, so you can do most things that you need without any additional plugins.
  • Cygwin allows you to install a large variety of linux packages inside its bash environment, though it can be a little more tricky to manage and is less integrated into the Windows environment.

Synced Folders

Most issues have to do synced folders. These are the most common ones:


By default, if you use the 'NFS' synced folder type, Vagrant will ignore this directive and use the native (usually slow) VirtualBox shared folder system instead. You can get higher performance by doing one of the following (all of these steps require a full VM reload (vagrant reload) to take effect):

  1. Install the vagrant-winnfsd plugin. See the 'NFS' section later for more details and caveats.
  2. Use smb for the synced folder's type.
  3. Use rsync for the synced folder's type. This requires that you have rsync available on your Windows workstation, which you can get if you install a substitute CLI like Cygwin or Cmder.

Creating symbolic links in a shared folder will fail with a permission or protocol error.

There are two parts to this:

  1. VirtualBox does not allow gets VMs to create symlinks in synced folders by default.
  2. Windows does not allow the creation of symlinks unless your local policy allows it; see TechNet article. Even if local policy allows it, many users experience problems in the creation of symlinks.

Git and File permissions

If you're using a synced folder for your project, you should choose to either work only inside the VM, or only on the host machine. Don't commit changes both inside the VM and on the host unless you know what you're doing and have Git configured properly for Unix vs. Windows line endings. File permissions and line endings can be changed in ways that can break your project if you're not careful!

You should probably disable Git's fileMode option inside the VM and on your host machine if you're running Windows and making changes to a Git repository:

git config core.fileMode false


You can use the vagrant-winnfsd plugin to get NFS support on windows. Be aware that there are multiple issues logged against both the plugin and the winnfsd project, so no guarantees.

Using WinNFSD without vagrant-winnfsd

Another option for the more adventurous is to manually install and configure WinNFSD, and manually mount the shares within your VM. This requires a bit more work, but could be more stable on Windows; see this blog post for more details: Windows + Vagrant + WinNFSD without file update problems.

GuyPaddock's fork of vagrant-winnfsd adds logging and debug messages. You can replace the vagrant-winnfsd gem inside .vagrant.d\gems\gems to use it instead. For further caveats, please read through vagrant-winnfsd issue #12, and make the following changes to config.yml:

vagrant_synced_folder_default_type: ""

Add mount_options to your synced folder to avoid an error:

type: nfs
mount_options: ["rw","vers=3","udp","nolock"]

In a custom Vagrantfile.local, add user access to Vagrant:


"Authentication failure" on vagrant up

Some Windows users have reported running into an issue where an authentication failure is reported once the VM is booted (e.g. drupalvm: Warning: Authentication failure. Retrying... — see #170). To fix this, do the following:

  1. Delete ~/.vagrant.d/insecure_private_key
  2. Run vagrant ssh-config
  3. Restart the VM with vagrant reload

Windows 7 requires PowerShell upgrade

If you are running Windows 7 and vagrant up hangs, you may need to upgrade PowerShell. Windows 7 ships with PowerShell 2.0, but PowerShell 3.0 or higher is required. For Windows 7, you can upgrade to PowerShell 4.0 which is part of the Windows Management Framework.

Hosts file updates

If you install either the vagrant-hostsupdater or vagrant-hostmanager plugin, you might get a permissions error when Vagrant tries changing the hosts file. On a Mac or Linux workstation, you're prompted for a sudo password so the change can be made, but on Windows, you have to do one of the following to make sure hostsupdater works correctly:

  1. Run PowerShell or whatever CLI you use with Vagrant as an administrator. Right click on the application and select 'Run as administrator', then proceed with vagrant commands as normal.
  2. Change the permissions on the hosts file so your account has permission to edit the file (this has security implications, so it's best to use option 1 unless you know what you're doing). To do this, open %SystemRoot%\system32\drivers\etc in Windows Explorer, right-click the hosts file, and under Security, add your account and give yourself full access to the file.

Intel VT-x virtualization support

On some laptops, Intel VT-x virtualization (which is built into most modern Intel processors) is enabled by default. This allows VirtualBox to run virtual machines efficiently using the CPU itself instead of software CPU emulation. If you get a message like "VT-x is disabled in the bios for both all cpu modes" or something similar, you may need to enter your computer's BIOS settings and enable this virtualization support.