Getting Started with Hyper-V on Windows 10

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I've recently moved to Windows 10 after about a decade swimming in the Apple Kool-aid. While I've not been away from Windows entirely (I use it at work) I haven't spent any time exploring some of the newer technologies introduced by the Redmond crew in the last few years.

Something that comes as a feature for the Pro and Enterprise versions of Windows 10 is Microsoft's VM Hypervisor technology Hyper-V. If you're not familiar with it, this is comparable to something like Oracle's VirtualBox.

One of the biggest reasons to use Hyper-V if you have a version of Windows that supports it is the fact that you will get a bit better performance of your VMs because the system has deep integration with the Windows OS. Another is the Hyper-V Manager which shows the "Enterprisey" roots of the Hyper-V technology giving you access to easily modify a ton of things about your VMs and the virtual network they're all connected to.

Setup and Installation

Hyper-V is a Windows Feature and needs to be activated from the Turn Windows Features On or Off applet in Control Panel. To access this quickly:

  1. Open the Start Menu
  2. Type "feature"
  3. Select "Turn Windows Features On or Off" from the search results

Once the dialog pops up, check the Hyper-V option to install the feature. Once the installation is complete you will have to restart your PC for the changes to take effect.

Getting Online

Once your PC comes back up, start the Hyper-V Manager. You will need to configure a network for your VMs to use (assuming you want them to have access to local or external network resources).

  1. Select your PC from the list of machines on the left
  2. On the far right select "Virtual Switch Manager..."
  3. In the dialog, choose "New virtual network switch"
  4. Select "External"
  5. Click "Create Virtual Switch"

Virtualize the World

Once the network is setup the rest is pretty straightforward. In the "Actions" panel on the far right, select "New" --> "Virtual Machine..." and follow the prompts. I've quite enjoyed using Hyper-V and love the fact that I don't have to have yet another third-party application installed. My VM needs may be few, but I they're easily met with Hyper-V.

Image credit: Cory Doctorow on Flickr