No more External Means Required Setting up Virtual Machines on Windows 8 and 8.1

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What does the term ‘Virtual Machine’ means? Have you ever worked on a ‘Virtual Machine’? Well, you might not have ever heard of this term if you are a layman because the term actually is related with professional usage of computers. Though the ‘Virtual Machine’ technology is quite old, it is of great usage if we talk about computers and related industries, where fewer resources are utilized to achieve high level of productivity.

In earlier times, the ‘Virtual Machine’ setup required external means, such as software implementation, and more, in order to run multiple operating systems and software on a single computer. However, the technology now has taken a new beginning, and there is no longer any such requirement to set up a ‘Virtual Machine’ on Windows 8 as well as on Windows 8.1. In fact, Windows 8 is the very first Windows client operating system to feature inbuilt ‘Virtual Machine’ support, which is termed ‘Client Hyper-V’.

Client Hyper-V on Windows

The ‘Client Hyper-V’ feature in Windows 8 and 8.1 has created history by bringing the hardware virtualization concept to client machines, which had been limited to Servers in the earlier times. Well, the same technology has been implemented on Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, which therefore eliminates the need to re-learn the implementation and usage of its tools. The ‘Client Hyper-V’ feature in Windows 8.1 provides ‘Enhanced Session Mode’, which makes it more advanced than it was in Windows 8, thereby providing the following competencies to build connection sessions:

  • Auto redirection
  • Smart card support
  • Display configuration
  • Printer redirection
  • Drive redirection
  • Full clipboard support
  • USB device redirection
  • Redirection for supported Plug and Play devices

On all versions of Windows 8.1, since ‘Enhanced Session Mode’ is pre-enabled, network connectivity to the Virtual Machine session is no longer required, except the Virtual Machine Image in either ‘Windows 8.1 Enterprise’ or ‘Windows Server 2012’. However, following needs must be fulfilled in order to run ‘Client Hyper-V’ on Windows 8:

  • 64-bit edition of Windows 8 Enterprise or Pro
  • 64-bit processor with SLAT (Second Level Address Translation)
  • 4GB RAM (at least)
  • BIOS-level Hardware Virtualization support

With this set of system configuration, ‘Client Hyper-V’ setup is you must give a try.

Client Hyper-V Setup on Windows 8

As mentioned above, since Windows 8 has inbuilt ‘Client Hyper-V’ feature, there is no external software implementation required to set up ‘Virtual machine’ on it. Let me walk you through how to set up ‘Client Hyper-V’ on Windows 8. Before this, make sure that hardware virtualization support in BIOS settings is enabled on your computer. If you are not sure about this, see the screenshot below, displaying where you need to go enable it:

HP-Z820-Virtualization-Settings-BIOS-600_6F5A1B46

Subsequently, the next step is to enable Hyper-V, which requires you to navigate to the steps:

  1. In the Start screen, type ‘turn windows features’ and then click Settings in the right pane.
  2. In the ‘Windows Features’ dialog box, check the Hyper-V check box, which also enables ‘Hyper-V Management Tools’ and ‘Hyper-V Platform’ features.
  3. Click OK to save modified settings.
  4. Now, restart your Windows 8 machine to apply modified settings.

On restart, since modified Hyper-V settings have been applied, you need to configure networking for the Hyper-V environment. A virtual switch has to be created in order to support external network connections, and it must be functional all the time. For further setup, track the following steps:

  1. At the Start screen, type ‘Hyper-V’ to find Hyper-V Manager.
  2. On the Actions panel (at the right), click Virtual Switch Manager.
  1. In the ‘Virtual Switch Manager’ dialog, make sure ‘External’ is selected by default under ‘Create virtual switch’, and then click the Create Virtual Switch button.
  1. Select the NIC for Virtual Machine (VM) External network, in case multiple NICs are installed in on your Windows 8 machine. See the screenshot below:

This ends up enabling ‘Virtual Machine’ setup on your Windows 8 Pro machine. Though there are many other features that you can configure, this gives a good start point to configure ‘Virtual Machine’ on Windows 8 Pro.

Create VM on Windows 8

The compatibility of ‘Client Hyper-V’ on Windows 8 with ‘Hyper-V’ on Windows Server 2012 enables both ‘Virtual Machines’ and ‘Virtual Hard Drives’ to be utilized on Windows Server Hyper-V machines. Moreover, it is quite simple and easy to create a ‘Virtual Machine’ from scratch with PXE boot. For this, track the following steps:

  1. In the ‘Hyper-V Manager Wizard’, click ‘New’ under Actions panel, which lands you up to the ‘New Virtual Machine Wizard’, and then type a name for the Virtual Machine.
  1. Specify the memory you wish to allocate to this ‘Virtual Machine’. I recommend leaving this field with whichever value it has by default. You can change it later as well.
  1. In the Connection dropdown menu, choose the ‘Virtual Switch’ created in the earlier section.
  1. The next step requires choosing a Virtual Hard Disk and you have three options: ‘Create a virtual hard disk’, ‘Use an existing virtual hard disk’, and ‘Attach a virtual hard drive later’. I choose creating a new one.
  1. To change the location to store the virtual hard drive, click Browse. I suggest keeping the location of both Virtual Machine (in step 1) and Virtual Hard Drive (in step 4) same.
  2. Once the Virtual Hard Drive is created, click Finish.

In order to enable PXE boot from this ‘Virtual Machine’, create ‘Legacy Network Adaptor’ with the following steps:

  1. Launch VM settings dialog box and click ‘Add Hardware’ (at the top) in the left pane.
  2. With ‘Legacy Network Adaptor’ selected, click Add button to confirm that the ‘Virtual Switch’ is in use.
  3. Now, the Virtual Machine is ready for PXE boot and Windows installation.
  4. Click ‘Start’ button in the right pane of ‘Hyper-V Manager’, and then you see the boot screen.
  1. Press F12 for network boot to install Windows.

After installing Windows, you can use the ‘Virtual Machine’ for all those purposes for which you are scared of system crash or any like issue. If you fail to access your data stored on the ‘Virtual Machine’, then use commercial Virtual Machine Data Recovery software to regain all your data. Based on how efficient your recovery software is, you can recover lost or inaccessible data intact, and up to 100 percent. However, use authorized data recovery software only.

AJ is an avid user of Windows and sometime Mac. Besides this, he also loves to do photography, traveling and playing baseball etc.

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