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Before You Begin: Select a Computer to Test Hyper-V

Updated: December 15, 2009

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2

Before you start following the steps in this guide, you need to select a computer that can run Hyper-V and that has the necessary resources to enable you to test the scenarios that interest you. This topic discusses the technical aspects that you can look for when selecting a test computer. It also offers information to assist you if you need to enable the configuration parameters in the system BIOS that make virtualization possible.

noteNote
This topic covers only the basic requirements for testing Hyper-V. For detailed information about hardware requirements and other considerations that you should review if you plan to use Hyper-V in a production environment, see Before You Install Hyper-V in the Hyper-V Planning and Deployment Guide (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=163300).

In this topic

The following table lists the basic characteristics of the main hardware components of a computer that you need to test Hyper-V.

noteNote
If you already have a computer that you would like to use to test Hyper-V, you can see if it is listed in the Hardware section of the Windows Server catalog (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=111228). To see the list of servers that have been tested to run Hyper-V, in the Hardware section of the Windows Server catalog, under Product category, click Servers, and then under Additional qualifications, click Hyper-V.

To test the scenarios in this guide, your computer also needs the memory, hard disk drive space, and other resources that are listed in the following table.

 

Component Required characteristics

Main processor

The main processor must have the following attributes:

  • Be an x64 processor.

  • Include one of the following virtualization technologies: Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT) or AMD Virtualization (AMD-V).

  • Have a minimum processor speed of 1.4 GHz (this is a Windows Server 2008 R2 requirement). A processor speed of 2 GHz or faster is recommended.

System BIOS

The system BIOS must support the following:

  • The virtualization technology included in the main processor, and it must be enabled.

  • Hardware-enforced Data Execution Prevention (DEP), and it must be enabled.

Random-access memory (RAM)

Although Windows Server 2008 R2 can run with as little as 512 MB of RAM, you need more RAM on the test computer to assign to each virtual machine that you want to run. The total amount of RAM that you need depends on the number of virtual machines that you intend to run and the minimum memory requirements of the operating systems that will be installed on those virtual machines.

To test Hyper-V by following the steps in the main section of this guide, you need a computer with at least 2048 MB (2GB) of RAM. If you want to test the Hyper-V scenarios that are also included in this guide, you need at least an extra 512 MB of RAM for each virtual machine that is running in the scenario.

Hard disk drive

Windows Server 2008 R2 can be installed in as little as 10 GB of hard disk drive space; however, you need more hard disk drive space to store the virtual disks that are used by your virtual machines, the information about each virtual machine, and the virtual machine snapshots that you might take.

To test Hyper-V by following the steps in the main section of this guide, you need a computer with at least 60 GB of hard disk drive space. If you want to test the Hyper-V scenarios that are also included in this guide, you need at least an extra 16 GB of hard disk drive space for each virtual machine in the scenario.

DVD-ROM drive

A DVD-ROM drive is needed to install Windows Server 2008 R2 (by using the installation media).

Network adapters

To test Hyper-V by following the steps in this guide, you need a computer that has at least one network adapter installed.

The system BIOS is the code in a computer that runs when you first turn on the computer before the operating system is loaded. This code prepares the hardware devices in the computer to load the operating system, and then it works with the operating system to enable access to those devices.

Most recently manufactured computers include a processor that supports virtualization, and this feature is already enabled in the system BIOS. If you have an older computer, or if you tested a computer that has a main processor that you know supports virtualization, but you were not able to install Hyper-V or start a virtual machine, you need to access the configuration utility for the system BIOS of the computer and enable the virtualization parameters. Unfortunately, computer manufacturers do not name these parameters the same and they are not located in the same place in the system BIOS of different computers. This section provides information and recommendations to assist you with this task.

CautionCaution
Changing certain parameters in the system BIOS of a computer can cause that computer to stop loading the operating system, or it can make hardware devices, such as hard disk drives, unavailable. Always consult the user manual for the computer to determine the proper way to configure the system BIOS. Also, it is always a good idea to keep track of the parameters that you modify and their original value so that you can restore them later if needed. If you experience problems after changing parameters in the system BIOS, try to load the default settings (an option is usually available in the BIOS configuration utility), or contact the computer manufacturer for assistance.

The information in this section is provided to assist you when you configure the system BIOS of a test computer. If you do not feel comfortable changing the system BIOS parameters, or if you cannot afford to have problems with the computer where you are configuring the system BIOS, contact the computer manufacturer for assistance.

noteNote
The tasks in this section are also covered in a video titled Hypervisor is not running error: How to fix (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=163578). The video demonstrates how to change the system BIOS on a computer to enable support for virtualization.

You can usually access the system BIOS by using a configuration utility that is available during the initial boot process of a computer. Immediately after you turn on most computers, for a few seconds they display the key or combination of keys that you need to press on the computer keyboard to access the configuration utility.

If your test computer does not display the information about how to access the configuration utility of the system BIOS, you can consult the user manual for the computer (usually available for download from the Web site of the computer manufacturer), or you can contact the computer manufacturer for assistance.

After you have successfully accessed the configuration utility for the system BIOS of your test computer, look for the parameters that provide virtualization support and hardware-enforced DEP, and then enable them if they are disabled.

ImportantImportant
After you save the changes to the parameters in the BIOS, restarting the computer is sometimes not enough for those changes to take effect. In some cases, you need to completely turn off the computer and then turn it on.

The following are common locations for these parameters in the menu of the configuration utility, and some examples of what they might be named in the system BIOS of your test computer:

  • Virtualization support:

    • Usually available under the settings for the main processor or for performance. In some cases, it might be available under the security settings

    • Look for parameter names that include “virtualization” or “virtualization technology”

  • Hardware-enforced DEP:

    • Usually available under the security or memory settings

    • Look for parameter names that include “execution,” “execute,” or “prevention”

noteNote
Most configuration utilities provide a detailed description of each parameter when you select it. Look for this description and review it before making changes to the value of a parameter.

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