Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

Where CAN’T You Use Hyper-V? (So Many Questions. So Little Time. Part 11.)

Where CAN’T You Use Hyper-V? (So Many Questions. So Little Time. Part 11.)

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A question I’ve actually heard several times before came up again at our TechNet Event in Kansas City several weeks ago:

“Can I use Hyper-V as a VM (within Windows 7)?”

No.

“Can you elaborate?”

It's a very good OS!Absolutely.

First of all, Hyper-V is a role added to Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2Hyper-V can’t be run inside of a virtual machine – even one that supports Windows Server 2008 R2 – because in order to work Hyper-V requires at a minimum:

  • An x64-based processor,
  • A processor that supports Intel VT or AMD-V technology, and
  • Hardware-enforced Data Execution Prevention (DEP) - available and enabled.

(Check out THIS PAGE for the full list of Hyper-V requirements.)

The problem with a virtual machine, whether it’s running on Hyper-V, Windows Virtual PC (the one that runs on Windows 7), or VMware, is that the virtualized processor that the running operating system sees is not a processor capable of running Hyper-V.  So, while it would be cool to virtualize the actual virtualization platform, that’s not something that you can currently do.  (UPDATE: "Sebastian" informs us in the comments that VMware Workstation 8 and ESXi 5 can actually simulate Intel VT, so it is indeed possible to get Hyper-V running from within a VM.  http://www.veeam.com/blog/nesting-hyper-v-with-vmware-workstation-8-and-esxi-5.html)

An additional note regarding your question about Windows 7 specifically is that Windows Virtual PC running on Windows 7 doesn’t support 64-bit guest operating systems.  So you can’t run the current Windows Server 2008 R2 as a virtual machine under Windows Virtual PC anyway.  The good news is that Microsoft announced that we will include Hyper-V within the successor to Windows 7, currently codename “Windows 8”

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  • You can run Hper-V in VMware Workstation 8 and in ESXi 5:

    www.veeam.com/.../nesting-hyper-v-with-vmware-workstation-8-and-esxi-5.html

    best regards sebastian

  • Ah.. thanks Sebastian.  I stand (actually sit) corrected.  That's cool that they can emulate Intel-VT.

  • Hi Kevin - depending on what you need to the environment to do I have had success with installing Hyper-V in a 2008 VM using "OCSETUP Microsoft-Hyper-V" from a command line. This installs the Hyper-V components - which means you can do everything in Hyper-V - apart from actually start the VM - but depending on the circustance that might be enough - when I am doing Hyper-V demos - I will sometimes use that as a quick method. I have some pretty complex demo's that I do with SCVMM, Operations Manager and Opalis - all from a set of virtual machines - just with that little point that the final part of starting a VM doesn't work.

    The other thing that I do on my Win7 machine if I know I need to use a launchable Hyper-V VM - then I flip to my boot from VHD install of 2008 which has Hyper-v  installed and configured and run it from there.

    Cheers

    Kyle

  • Hi Kyle!  Yes, that's a very good point, and I'm glad you brought it up.  There are times when just being able to install Hyper-V is all you need - for testing, training, or trying out other management tools against it (such as SCVMM).  

    And yes, Boot-to-VHD is awesome.  We're actually going to be giving the attendees of our next set of IT Camps the option to copy a .VHD containing a pre-installed (non-activated evaluation) Windows Server w/Hyper-V configured, and instructions on how to add (and later remove it) as another boot option.  

    Cheers to you!

    Kevin

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