I’ve used a few different virtualization platforms, including VirtualBox, Windows Virtual PC, and Parallels for Mac. The first use of VM that I can remember is using VirtualBox on Windows XP to log in to multiple Runescape accounts at once. There were probably smarter ways to do what I needed to do, but it was still a fun experience.
One of my recent favorite VM platforms is Microsoft’s Hyper-V. It’s available on most desktop versions of Windows and Windows Server and in a standalone server flavor. At work, I use it to create test machines and access less-frequently used OSs. It’s been my experience that Hyper-V is light on system requirements, easy to set up, and allows for some easy administrative tasks. In many future posts, I’ll be using Hyper-V to create, manage and use a number of VMs (virtual machines). My hope is to eventually migrate my VMs, currently hosted on my gaming desktop, to another host with more RAM and a processor better suited to virtualization. If everything goes according to plan, using the same platform along the way will make the migration process much easier.
Interested in enabling Hyper-V on your PC? Make sure you’re running Windows 8.1 Pro or Enterprise, or Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise, or Education. Other visualization clients such as VirtualBox can be used on other editions of Windows 8 and 10, as well as on most versions of Windows 7. It won’t look the same, but it will behave similarly and can be used to accomplish the same tasks.
If you meet the OS requirement, have a 64-bit processor and at least 4GB of RAM, follow these steps to enable Hyper-V and set up your first virtual switch.
- Go to Start, and type “Powershell”. Rightclick on Powershell, run it as an administrator, and type the following command: DISM /Online /Enable-Feature /All /FeatureName:Microsoft-Hyper-V
- You should see something like this. You may be prompted to restart your computer.
- Open Hyper-V Manager. It should look like this:
- Next, click on “Virtual Switch Manager”. This will let you create a virtual switch to allow your VMs to connect to each other, your host machine, and/or the Internet.
- In the Virtual Switch Manger, select “External”, and then click “Create Virtual Switch”. As described on screen, the External virtual switch will let any VMs connected to it access your physical network as any other device would. If you want to restrict what your VM can access, select Internal or Private before clicking the “Create Virtual Switch” button.
- Next, name your virtual switch. Leave the other settings at their default selections, and click OK.
That’s it! Your installation of Hyper-V Manager is ready to use. You can sit and admire it, or you can start setting up your own VMs!