How to turn on Hardware Assisted Virtualization


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 (22)

  1. Anonymous says:

    It took me months to convince my manager that I need a new laptop. Then it took me a few more to convince

  2. Anonymous says:

    In the week or so since Hyper-V RTMed there has been a huge amount of coverage on various websites. Here's

  3. Anonymous says:

    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.

  4. Anonymous says:

    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.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Ramu – TBH, you would need to contact ASUS to determine if this machine is capable of running Hyper-V. However, even if it is, I suspect it a desktop style board rather than a supported server? I would note that in my experience, generally there is no hardware virtualization option in the BIOS of AMD machines – it generally is on if it is available.

    Cheers,

    JOhn.

  6. John Howard -MSFT says:

    Biju – As I put some 6 years back, this would best be a question for HP to determine what the correct firmware settings are for their machines and the level of support they provide. Generally in firmware/BIOS you would need to enable VTx, and DEP, and
    disable TXT. If anything was changed, you should cold shutdown, possibly wait, then restart (not simple reboot).

  7. Anonymous says:

    Ramu – are you talking about Virtual PC or Hyper-V. If you do really mean VPC, I would recommend you post on the Technet Forums as I would not be able to assist. If Hyper-V, then I may be able to assist. However, in either case, I would need details of the stop code you are hitting and a dump file.

    Thanks,

    John.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I stand corrected. Thanks Thomas.

    Cheers

    John.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Jamie – if they exist, they would be supplied by your OEM. However, I’m not aware of a Turion X2 laptop which runs Hyper-V on F2 stepping processors due to a BIOS workaround which most vendors have not implemented. This is a different requirement to Virtual PC and Virtual Server. Note that no Microsoft virtualization solution changes the BIOS settings – it takes advantage of the settings if they are suitable for the solution and are previously enabled.

    Thanks,

    John.

  10. nick says:

    If you’re looking for where to turn this on on an HPDL380 G5, it lives here in the BIOS:

    Enable DEP: Advanced>Processor Options>No-Execute Memory

    The hardware virtualization feature lives there too under Processor Options.

    Both need to be enabled.

    http://addicted-to-it.blogspot.com/2008/01/windows-2008-with-hyper-v-hypervisor-is.html

  11. Thomas Tomiczek says:

    Asus M2A-VM 😉 AMD chipset, Bios can turn virtualization on or off 😉

    Just to let you know – there is at least one board with AMD and bios control.

  12. Gerardo says:

    With Asus M2NPV-VM, upgrade BIOS and then you can enable Hardware Virtualization

  13. jamie says:

    Can software tools running in windows turn on NX?

    I’m trying to enable NX on my HP6715b laptop, but the BIOS menus are so hopelessly simple that such fancy options aren’t available. Frustrating, since AMD’s CPUInfo reports that my processor (Turion64 X2) supports it, but that it isn’t enabled.

    I had all but given up any hope of using Hyper-V on my laptop, until I installed MS Virtual PC and noticed that it said hardware virtualisation was available and enabled. I loaded up CPUInfo again, and sure enough, Secure Virtual Mode was now suddenly turned on. I quit Virtual PC and CPUInfo and checked again, now Secure Virtual Mode was off. On, off. On, off, seemingly controlled by MS Virtual PC.

    My question is this – if silly little MS Virtual PC can manage to turn on Secure Virtual Mode (which I thought could only be done from the BIOS), why can’t the Hypervisor do this before it starts, thus (hopefully) allowing me to use Hyper-V??

    (as an aside, if MS Virtual PC really is turning on NX, does that mean that malware also can do this and make the PC susceptable to Blue-Pill viruses?)

     -Jamie

  14. ramu says:

    I’ve been searching for this post…

    I’m using Asus M2A-VM and AMD Phenom processor, when i try to use the VPC on my machine, it will show a blue screen and keep on rebooting…

    Please help me what could be reason, and how to turn on the virtualization (step by step)…

    Regards,

    Ramu

  15. ramu says:

    Sorry i was talking about Virtual PC.

    Anyway thanks for your advice John..

  16. ramu says:

    Hi Gerardo,

    I’m using ASUS M2A VM mother and AMD Phenom 9730 processor. Can you please tell me how to enable Hardware Virtualization?

  17. PeetR says:

    I have Acer Extensa 5610. There is „Intel Core 2 Duo / T550 1,66GHz” processor in the notebook. I have’t founded how know turned the processor’s hardware virtualization. I refreshed the bios, but I didn’t know turn on this function, because wasn’t menu in bios, turned on this. I runed SecurAble, and this is showed, that Hardware Virtualization was locked but processor is know HV.

    I wrote Acer and Intel Corporation but, they wasn’t helping me.

    Do somebody helping me?

    Thanx,

    PeetR

  18. prasad says:

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

  19. simi says:

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

  20. JC says:

    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 …

  21. Biju says:

    hi,
    i have a windows 8.1 pro running on my laptop (hp probook 4540s) ; i have added the hyper-v roles from the control panel- programs and features-turn windows features on or off.
    when i try to install a windows os through the hyper-v …its giving me messsage "virtual machine could not be started because the hypervisor is not running" and when the check the details for the error it was showing that " hardware assisted virtualization
    and hardware-assisted data execution protection should be enabled in the bios of the physical computer"
    I check the bios ; but I can't ;could you pls tell me how to enable these two from bios.
    also,Any windows services to be started for the hyper-v to run properly?
    Thanks,
    Biju