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

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”

Remember: Our new event schedule is live.  You can come and ask your questions, too!  “We may be comin’ to your town.”  –The Monkees