Quickly See if your Server, PC or Laptop Supports Hyper-V

by Daniel Petri - January 8, 2009

Virtual machine technology enables multiple operating systems to run concurrently on a single machine. Microsoft Hyper-V, a key feature of Windows Server 2008, enables one or more operating systems to run simultaneously on the same physical system. Hyper-V provides scalability and high performance by supporting features like guest multi-processing support and 64-bit guest and host support; reliability and security through its hypervisor architecture; flexibility and manageability by supporting features like quick migration of virtual machines from one physical host to another, and integration with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM).

Installing the Hyper-V role on a full installation of Windows Server 2008 is easy. All you need to do is to make sure you have the right hardware, both in CPU as well as in memory and disk that are calculated based upon the number of virtual machines and functions that the virtual machines are to perform on the host.

Hyper-V requires specific hardware:

  • An x64-based processor. Hyper-V is  available only in the x64-based versions of Windows Server 2008—specifically, the x64-based versions of Windows Server 2008 Standard, Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, and Windows Server 2008 Datacenter.
  • Hardware-assisted virtualization must be available and be enabled in the BIOS. This is available in processors that include a virtualization option; specifically, Intel VT or AMD Virtualization.
  • Hardware Data Execution Protection (DEP) must be available and be enabled in the BIOS. You must enable Intel XD bit (execute disable bit) or AMD NX bit (no execute bit).

Frequently the question arises on how does one tell if their laptop, PC or server have the appropriate virtualization support? How can one tell if the virtualization support is enabled in the computers BIOS without having to reboot the server and going into the BIOS settings (on most systems it is disabled by default because of security reasons)?

Luckily, both Intel and AMD offer free tools that allow you to check whether a computer supports hardware virtualization. If you’re unsure, you should use these utilities before you install Hyper-V. Running these tools also shows you whether virtualization is enabled.

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Note: Please note that there are reports that these tools are not 100% reliable in detecting the virtualization support or lack of on the computer's CPU. For example running the Intel tool on a Dell PowerEdge 2950 server that hosts my lab's Hyper-V role displayed the following screen:

So it's clear that the presented information is not always accurate, but I guess Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV).

AMD

AMD Opteron Processor Utilities and Updates

Download the following package:

AMD Virtualization Technology and Microsoft Hyper-V System Compatibility Check Utility

After running the tool, you will get a window similar to this one:


Intel

For information on the Intel Processor Identification Utility, you can visit that section of their website or go directly to the Intel Processor Identification Utility Download page to download it.

After installing and running the tool, you can view CPU information on the different tabs:


Links

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