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About the Guest environment in Google Cloud platform (GCP)

When you start a virtual machine (VM) instance using Google-provided public images, a guest environment is automatically installed on the VM instance. The guest environment is a set of scripts, daemons, and binaries that read the content of the metadata server to make a VM run properly on Compute Engine. A metadata server is a communication channel for transferring information from a client to the guest operating system.

This document provides an overview of the components of the guest environment, supported operating systems, and explains how to learn when you need to manually install or update the guest environment.

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