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Virtualization: Blog Post

Working with the Windows 8.1 Interface

Windows 8.1 for Business: Getting Started with Client Hyper-V

imageWindows 8.1 has a lot to offer Business, probably one of the bigger improvements is the inclusion of Hyper-V in the client.  This provides support for several scenarios including:

  • Test Lab:  This is what I use it mainly for to test all the wickedly cool technologies in Windows Server 2012 R2, among others.   It provides a great way to test and design basic infrastructures, especially leveraging the built-in virtual machine networking.
  • Application Testing: Testing home-spun or package applications can be done very easily inside of Windows 8.1 client Hyper-V
  • Import Production Servers for testing.  If you have production virtual machines created with Hyper-V or if you have created vhds with tools like Disk2VHD, you easily bring them into Hyper-V for testing.   Windows 8.1 even supports snapshotting of virtual machines.
  • Windows To Go Virtual Hard Disks, you can use Hyper-V to create Windows To Go .vhds, you can learn more about Windows To Go here: Windows To Go

Hardware Requirements for Client Hyper-V:

When anyone asks me about hardware requirements and virtualization technologies, it is my favorite answer to any IT related question…It depends.  Especially when it comes to the big 3 in resources:

  • Memory
  • Processor
  • Storage

It depends on what you want to use virtualization use for, what the servers look like, what workloads are you testing…etc.  Here is the official list:

  • Be running a 64-bit version of Windows 8 Professional or Enterprise Edition.
  • Have a CPU that supports Second Level Address Translation (SLAT).  You can see if your CPU supports SLAT take a look here:  Hyper-V: List of SLAT-Capable CPUs for Hosts
    • Also it is recommended that your CPU supports NX and SSE2. You can use the Sysinternals COREINFO tool to test for both: Coreinfo v3.21.
  • At minimum 4 gigabytes (GB) of RAM followed closely by….IT DEPENDS!.
  • imageStorage…Yes.  The actual feature requires minimal hardware, when it comes to the .VHD’s or .VHDX’s it really depends on what you are storing and how many of them will be attached to a system.  In addition Windows 8.1 Hyper-V supports  “Live Storage Move” capability which helps your VMs to be fairly independent of the underlying storage  You can learn more about live migration here: 
    Virtual Machine Live Migration Overview

Installing Client Hyper-V

imageOn most systems you will have to go into the BIOS and enable virtualization support.  To accomplish this, it will vary from system to system.  After you enable virtualization in the BIOS then you will need to install the Client Hyper-V feature.

By default this is not installed, you can find this in the add programs and features control panel.   In the Programs and Features control panel click on Turn Windows Features on or off.  Then select Hyper-V, this will include the Hyper-V manager as well as the PowerShell module for managing Hyper-V in PowerShell.   More than most likely this will require a reboot after the feature is installed as well.

Working with Client Hyper-V

Once Client Hyper-V is installed then it works almost identically to Hyper-V running on a server when it comes to creating virtual machines, creating virtual networking, configuring the hosts and guests.  If you are new to Hyper-V I would highly recommend you go through the Early Expert Virtualizer quest:

Windows Server 2012 Early Expert Challenge - Virtualizer Quest

imageOne new thing that is found in Windows 8,1 is enhanced session mode.  Enhanced Session modes provides the following support:

  • Display Configuration
  • Audio redirection
  • Printer redirection
  • Full clipboard support (improved over limited prior-generation clipboard support)
  • Smart Card support
  • USB Device redirection
  • Drive redirection
  • Redirection for supported Plug and Play devices

For more information on Enhanced Session mode take a look at this article from the Windows Blog:

Overview- Client Hyper-V Enhanced Session Mode in Windows 8.1

Good Video from Build in 2011, Developing and testing on Windows 8 with Hyper-V:

We hope you are enjoying the series, and if you missed any of the Windows 8.1 for business series you can find them here: http://aka.ms/Win814Biz

Additional Resources:

More Stories By Matt Hester

Matt Hester is a Senior Information Technology Professional Evangelist for Microsoft. Matt has been involved in the IT Pro community for over 20 years. Matt is a skilled and experienced evangelist presenting to audiences nationally and internationally. Prior to joining Microsoft Matt was a highly successful Microsoft Certified Trainer for over 8 years. After joining Microsoft, Matt has continued to be heavily involved in IT Pro community as an IT Pro Evangelist. In his role at Microsoft Matt has presented to audiences in excess of 5000 and as small as 10. Matt has written 4 articles for TechNet magazine. In addition Matt has published 3 books:

You can contact Matt off his blog at http://aka.ms/matthester

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