Many of this site’s users have home labs for IT testing and certification. Microsoft threw these users a huge bonus with Windows 8, and something easily worth learning to deal with the “metro” UI. Microsoft’s Windows 7 included XP mode which was great, but nowhere near as robust as Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008 R2. With Windows 8, Hyper-V is now part of the desktop and workstation environment. After using it for a few months, it is both stable and very familiar. This is a quick guide that will get you from the base Windows 8 Pro or Windows 8 Enterprise installation to have Hyper-V ready to go in under three minutes.
Windows 8 Hyper-V Test Configuration
I did this guide using my main workstation. The great thing about the solution is that it has a SLAT compatible CPU so Windows 8 Hyper-V is easy to setup. Also, there is enough capacity in the machine to support a few guest operating systems.
- CPU(s): Intel Xeon E5-1650
- Motherboard: ASUS P9X79 WS
- Memory: 32GB (8x 4GB) G.Skill Ripjaws X DDR3 1600
- Drives: Corsair Force3 120GB, OCZ Vertex 3 120GB
- Power Supply: Corsair AX850 850w 80 Plus Gold
Let’s get on with the guide.
Installing Windows 8 Hyper-V
The first step to install Windows 8 Hyper-V is to enable the feature. By default, Windows 8 Hyper-V will not be installed on a clean installation or upgrade installation. For those that want this feature, it is a bit of a bummer. On the other hand, this is not going to be the most widely used feature in Windows 8 so it makes sense. The first step is to navigate to the control panel. Select Programs and Features. As a quick tip, you can also just start typing Programs and Features in the Metro UI and the below will pop up under settings.
Install Hyper-V on Windows 8 – Control Panel Add Features Step 1
To find Windows 8 Hyper-V you will want to click on the “Turn Windows features on or off” link. We need to install and turn Windows 8 Hyper-V on. After clicking the link, near the top is the option for Windows 8 Hyper-V.
Install Hyper-V on Windows 8 – Select Hyper-V Features Step 2
You can install the entire package or opt out of installing certain features. Most users will probably want to install all of them with their Windows 8 Hyper-V installation.
Install Hyper-V on Windows 8 – Reboot and Hyper-V Will be on Start Menu
After the machine reboots, Windows 8 Hyper-V will be installed. You will see tiles on the Start menu for Hyper-V manager and Hyper-V Virtual Machine Connection. One other super important piece of advice is to remember to create virtual switches at this point. It makes guest VM setup much easier on Windows 8 Hyper-V.
Install Hyper-V on Windows 8 – Create an external virtual switch
Using Windows 8 Hyper-V manager creating an external virtual switch allows for virtual machines to reach the outside world.
Install Hyper-V on Windows 8 – Create an internal virtual switch
Using Windows 8 Hyper-V manager, another option is to create an internal virtual switch. I setup both upon initial installation. My workstation boots fast so I was at about 2 minutes 30 seconds even including taking and saving the screenshots in this guide. Enjoy!