How to create and run virtual machines with Hyper-V

Hyper-V is one of the virtual machine features that has been built into Windows. Initially, it was supposed to be a part of Windows Server 2008, but it made the leap and is now a part of Windows 8 and 10, too. Hyper-V enables you to create virtual machines without the need for any added software.

The feature is not available with Windows 7, though. You will need to buy the Enterprise or Professional edition of Windows 8 or 8.1 or 10 to get Hyper-V. You will also need to have a CPU that has hardware virtualization support, for example AMD-V or Intel VT. These features are usually included in most of modern CPUs.

Installing Hyper-V

Hyper-V doesn’t come installed by default on Windows, so you are going to have to install it before you can start using it. Thankfully, you will not need to have your Windows disc in order to do it. All you have to do is click on a few check boxes.

Hyper-V install from Windows Features

Press the Windows key, type in “Windows features” and let it search. Once you come to an option that says “Turn Windows features on or off,” click on it. You will be guided to a new window. There will be a checkbox that says “Hyper-V.” Select it and click on OK to begin the installation. When prompted, restart your computer.

Opening Hyper-V Manager

When you want to start using Hyper-V, you will need to first launch its manager application. You will find this in the list of programs installed on your computer. You can even launch it by running a search for Hyper-V on your computer. No, you do not need GPS and you do not need to wait until you see a flare shooting upward. This is a different type of search.

The manager application can also be called a Virtualization Server. This is one of the first times you will notice that this tool is meant to solve your virtual server needs. It could be used for running VMs on your computer. No, you do not need to put on your Nikes, this is a different type of running. Here, your local computer will be the one functioning as the local virtualization server.

Setup networking

Hyper-V Server ManagerYou have to click on your local computer in the manager window to locate the options available for your present computer. Yes, you have a local computer. No, you do not have a foreign computer! You do not need a passport either!

You will most probably want to give the new virtual machine Internet access as well as access to your local network. This means you will have to create what we call a “virtual switch.” For this, you need to open the Virtual Switch Manager.

Choose “External” from this list so that you can give VMs access to your external network and then click on the “Create Virtual Switch” option.

Once this process is complete, give this switch a name and press OK. You don’t have to worry about the options here; the default settings are just fine. What you should ensure though is that the “External network connection” is correct. You need to make sure you choose the network adapter that is actually connected to the Internet. Be sure to check whether it is the Ethernet adapter or if you are using WiFi. No, WiFi has nothing to do with giving anyone a high five. That is different.

Create virtual machines

To create your new VM, click on New and then choose “Virtual Machine” from the list of actions that are available.

The wizard for creating a new VM will now appear. (No, this wizard is not from Lord of the Rings.) You can use the available options for naming your virtual machine and then configure the basic hardware. This should be pretty self-explanatory if you have used any of the virtual machine programs available online before.

Once you reach the pane for configuring networking, you will have to choose the virtual switch that had been configured earlier. If you haven’t already configured one, you will see an option that says “Not Connected.” This means your machine is not going to be connected to your network unless you use a network adapter as part of its virtual hardware.

If you have ISO files that contain the installation files of your guest operating system, you could choose them at the end of the process. Hyper-V is going to insert the ISO file in the virtual disc drive of the virtual machine to let you boot it afterward, and this will immediately begin your installation of the guest operating system you want.

Boot up your virtual machine

Once this is done, you can find your new virtual machine in the list of the Hyper-V Manager. Choose it and click on “Start.” This will boot up the virtual machine.

Next, you have to right-click on the VM and then click on “Connect” so that it gets connected to the network. The virtual machine is then going to open in a new window while still being on your desktop. If you do not connect, it is going to keep running in the background, and you will not be able to notice any visible difference. Again, it is very easy for you to see how such a management interface has been designed specifically for servers.

Once you connect, you will see a regular virtual machine window that has options you can use for controlling the VM. It should look somewhat like the windows you see with VMware Player or VirtualBox. Now, you simply go through the regular installation process and install the guest OS in your new virtual machine.

Once you are done installing the OS, you need to install integration services using a virtual disc. This is Hyper-V’s answer to VMware Tools and VirtualBox Guest Additions.

Using Hyper-V

Once you are done using your virtual machine, ensure you shut it down and turn it off in the Manager window. If you simply close the window, the VM will keep running in the background. It needs to be in an “Off” state if you do not want it to be running.

Every virtual machine comes with a setting window that can be used for configuring virtual hardware and various other settings. Right-click on the virtual machine and choose settings to adjust all of these options. A lot of these settings will only be changed while your virtual machine is off.

This tool has been developed by Microsoft, but this does not mean it works only with Windows. Hyper-V can even be used for running Linux-based machines. It has various other helpful features, too. The more you use it, the better you will become with it.

Photo Credits: Microsoft

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