Running Microsoft Hyper-V on a laptop

Believe it or not, now it’s possible to run Microsoft Hyper-V on our laptops. Well, actually on Windows 8 client OSs installed on a laptop. For this to work, we have to have Windows 8.x professional or enterprise edition. That’s the only “software” requirement.

For the hardware it’s a completely different story. Because Hyper-V is now Type-1 hypervisor, it means that it runs directly on the hardware. Type-2 hypervisor would run as an application inside another operating system. For example, Type-2 hypervisor would be VMware Workstation which we used many times on this blog. It is Type-2 because we have a host operating system, such as Linux, we run the hypervisor inside, and from within the hypervisor we run our VMs.

Now, being Type-1 hypervisor, brings some strict hardware requirements. The requirements are mostly about the CPU:

  • The CPU must support Virtualization Technology (VTx)
  • Dynamic Execution Prevention or DEP must be enabled
  • SLAT or Second Level Address Translation must be enabled

Ok, not a big deal, right? All modern laptops should be capable of doing these thing. But there are some other features in their way, as we will soon see.

I have two laptops which I was using for my previous blogs: DeLL Inspiron nx5010 with Intel I7 and 8GB of RAM, and HP ProBook 470 with Intel I7 and 16GB of RAM. With both of them I have turned those hardware requirements on. This is done in BIOS. After that, I tried enabling Hyper-V feature on my Windows 8.1 Pro box:

Install feature

After this a couple of reboots are need and we are ready for a Hyper-V labs. I played a little bit with Hyper-V on my DeLL and I was pretty satisfied. When using dynamic memory, I was able to power on a few VMs and create some labs. Ok, now I need more RAM resources and I enabled this feature on my ProBook. Reboot and – problems! Windows gets stuck bouncing those little balls around. This could take forever. Power off – power on, nothing. After lots of googling (is this a verb 🙂 ) I found out that disabling DEP may help boot. Although DEP is required for Hyper-V I, had nothing to lose. I disabled DEP and indeed Windows booted up.

Ok, cool. Now I created the test VM and powered it on. I received an error stating that VM cannot run because the hypervisor is not running:

error starting vm

So, for Google indexing:

An error occurred while attempting to start the selected virtual machine(s).

Virtual machine could not be started because the hypervisor is not running.

1) Verify that the processor of the physical computer has a supported version of hardware-assisted virtualization.

2) Verify that hardware-assisted virtualization and hardware-assisted data execution protection are enabled in BIOS of the physical computer….

3) …

Please have in mind that after enabling virtualization stuff in the BIOS, a reboot is not enough. We have to power off and then power on our laptops.

This error message makes sense. We need DEP.

Setting DEP back on brings back those dots again. Now I don’t believe my own eyes and I’m going to check if all CPU requirements are met. There are several tools that can help with this:

  1. Microsoft System Information

SystemInformation

Looks good.

 

2. Core info

coreinfo

Also looks good.

 

3. Securable

SecurAble

Also good.

These applications actually reads BIOS settings:

BIOS3

So there is nothing wrong with my eyes, but still my ProBook won’t run the Hyper-V. Well, as long as I’m paying lots of bucks for support for this laptop – let’s use it. I have open the case with HP and they told me that this laptop does not support Hyper-V 😦

Well, that’s a shame, but my CPU does meet all requirements and Hyper-V should be only concerned with CPU. So I dag dipper into this and found some post on the HP site (wouldn’t you know) about ProBook 450 with the same issue. On that forum, someone suggested that we should disable our wireless support in BIOS. Well, WTF??? What does wireless LAN have to do with running Hyper-V? I need wireless and I’m not willing to sacrifice that in exchange of running Hyper-V, but let’s try… I disabled Wifi in BIOS:

BIOS4

and Windows booted just fine. Nice! Let’s power on some VM – it powered on. Also nice!

So what’s the deal with this? Perhaps if I turned back Wifi on, blinking rapidly with my left eye and scratching my right ear with my left hand, using just my little finger and a thumb, while powering on Windows 8 – it might boot 🙂

I reopened the case with the HP and told them this and the answer was the same – the laptop is not supported by Hyper-V, talk to Microsoft. Of course they did not want to reveal their source for this. I also asked if the BIOS upgrade would help, they said it wouldn’t. I will try it anyway.

So now I have working Hyper-V but no wireless. Two things are left to try. Using USB wireless LAN adapter instead just disabled internal, and upgrading the BIOS.

The second option did not work. I have upgraded the BIOS from “F.04 06/24/2013” to “F.27 02/12/2014”, but no luck.

The first option, fortunately, yield a success. I plugged my faithful Netgear WG111v3 USB wireless adapter, updated a driver and now I’m running Hyper-V on a laptop and having wireless connection.

So, what’s the moral of this blog? Well, I was about to purchase a new and more powerful laptop for my labs. I was going to run Hyper-V on it, because I want to get familiar with another hypervisor. While I was waiting for right bid, I ran into this problem. So, I could spend quite a lot of bucks for new laptop and could find out that it is not supported by Hyper-V. Before you make a purchase do your homework. I got by with external wireless adapter, but it could be more complicated than that.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This entry was posted in Hyper-V, Microsoft, Virtualization, Windows and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Running Microsoft Hyper-V on a laptop

  1. Branko Šeovac says:

    Well done!

  2. Loc says:

    Buy a Dell instead. HP has bad support for Hyper-V

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