John Howard - Senior Program Manager in the Hyper-V team at Microsoft

Senior Program Manager, Hyper-V team, Windows Core Operating System Division.

How to turn on Hardware Assisted Virtualization

How to turn on Hardware Assisted Virtualization

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Happy New Year!

I've had quite a few direct emails about this in the last few weeks, so it's probably worth posting as an FAQ. As you probably know, and as I have stated before, Hyper-V (codename "Viridian", and formerly known as Windows Server virtualization) requires assistance from hardware to operate correctly. Specifically, it requires four capabilities: An x64 CPU; VT (Intel) or AMD-V (AMD) hardware extensions; No eXecute (NX)/eXecute Disable (XD) and full BIOS support for hardware virtualization. It's 4 out of 4 required, nothing less. On Intel platforms, you can normally turn VT on and off in the BIOS, whereas on AMD platforms, AMD-V is on all the time (at least I have not come across a BIOS which contains an option to enable/disable AMD-V). NX & XD are usually always configurable, regardless of platform.

The difficult part is knowing where to turn these settings on and off. While I wish I could give an unified simple answer, there unfortunately isn't one as the BIOS configuration layout is down to the motherboard manufacturer. NX/XD will commonly be located under security settings, and VT will commonly be a processor option. One thing you should note is that if you do change VT to enabled, you should hard power cycle the machine - generally a Ctrl/Alt/Del or "Exit & Save" option is insufficient for the change to take effect.

As for full BIOS support - if you install the Hyper-V role and discover that the Hypervisor has not launched (you'll get an error message when starting a Virtual Machine) after enabling the hardware features, it is pretty much up to the motherboard manufacturer. My advise would always be to ensure you have the latest BIOS from the manufacturer before installing the role. While many, if not most, recent motherboards do have support, there really is no easy way short of directly contacting the manufacturer of determining if their motherboard has full support.

Cheers,
John.

Comments
  • PeetR - This is something you'd need to follow up with Acer. They own the BIOS and the BIOS has to have support for virtualization hardware assistance, as well as the processor. If it's not exposed in the BIOS, Acer may simply not support it on that box. You can confirm on the Intel site using the CPU identification utility whether or not the specific processor has VT support itself. It's always worth trying to upgrade to the latest BIOS regardless - maybe they have introduced it.

    But I should mention, that laptops are not supported by Microsoft for running Windows Server operating systems. They may work, but there is no support.. Just wanted to make that clear.

    Thanks,

    John.

  • I have dell Inspiron 1545 laptop how to enable hardware virtualization prasad.psd@gmail.com

  • Prasad - you need to ask Dell or look on their support site. I can't be specific about each and every machine, whether they support VT, and how it is turned on. Please note though that no laptop are technically supported by Microsoft for running Hyper-V.

  • pls i'm using an hp dv6 and i urgently nid 2 enable hardware virtualization

  • My understanding, while Acer does not provide a switch for hardware virtualization in the BIOS, the commercial Travelmate notebooks and Veriton desktops have it hardware virtualization turned on by default -- no need to turn it on.

    Of course the Intel tools to detect will confirm ...

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