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Hyper-V for beginners

    Question

  • In the past I have had no reason to think about virtual operating systems. I did run W7RC for a time (ultimate version, I think) but the W7 Home susequently purchased did not allow for a virtual OS. The reason, I believe, was that it was designed for accounting type apps and not suitable for graphics intensive software. There could also be problems accessing hardware via the host.

    In a few days I will be installing the W8beta as a dual boot with the existing W7. Out of curiosity it seems a good time to create a virtual system using Hyper-V and the W8 beta as host. Ideally I would like to use Acronis system disc image backups as the virtual image(s). Can I do this?.

    The object is to see what Hyper-V can do and find the limitations. So far I have loaded Hyper-V to the DP and glanced at some rather incomplete helpfiles. There is also useful information on Technet. I only have 4 Gb of ram so a first step would be to increase this to 8.

    Meanwhile, if anyone has any useful hints and tips which might ease the pain of reading the whole of the Microsoft site, I would be obliged.

    Monday, February 20, 2012 11:26 PM

All replies

  • Hey D r h,

    The information and video in the blog post linked below provides a helpful quick start to getting a virtual machine and virtual switch set up as well as providing some introductory information regarding Hyper-V in Windows Developer Preview.
    MSDN Blogs > Building Windows 8 > Bringing Hyper-V to "Windows 8"


    Steven

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012 12:41 AM
    Moderator
  • With Hyper-V being out since Server 2008 (Vista) era, it is quite complete.  As a matter of fact, this message is being composed on a Win8DP that is a Hyper-V virtual machine contained in an Server 2008 R2 (eval) host.

    To answer your question, yes!  You can do all that you are looking to accomplish.  To get full screen happiness, just do a RDP to the virtual client.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012 1:03 AM
  • Thanks Steven and Darien, I did wonder whether the Server 2008 was still applicable to W8. Some parts are faily clear cut but other places are vitual this and virtual that etc and a bit difficult to comprehend. Still, I have a week to read up before the beta. Think I will wait rather than trying it first on the DP.

    David

    ADDED

    The video in the W8 blog is very good

    • Edited by d r h Tuesday, February 21, 2012 1:48 AM
    Tuesday, February 21, 2012 1:31 AM
  • After a few glasses of red wine and a numb face, I saw that I did not really answer your question.  Sorry.

    Since Hyper-V is now part of the Windows 8 client, you can easily host a Hyper-V based VM from Windows 8 client without requiring the use of Server 8.

    Yes, you can use Acronis (or any other cloning software [I use Clonezilla] to clone VMs--even to physical machines if you do a SYSPREP with the generalize option) to do system disk images.

    Hyper-V--like with any other hypervisor--will have some limitations.  I can speak of those included with Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2 along with Virtualbox and VMware as I use those routinely; however, I cannot speak to the limitation of Hyper-V v3.0 (the version shipping with Windows 8) as I have not used it.  Pretty much all of my Windows 8 machines have been virtual machines in themselves.

    On a system with 4GB, you can easily make use of a 1GB VM--even a 2GB VM--providing you are not doing much with the host machines while the VM is running.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012 1:59 AM
  • Relax Darien and have another glass of wine. I have been doing some reading and in particular with regard to limitations. However I have not seen anything specific to say that things have improved with regard to Hyper-V in W8.

    Below is an extract from the Hyper-V Wiki showing the items which would affect me.

    Limitations

    [edit] USB passthrough

    Hyper-V does not support virtualized USB ports or COM ports.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-26">[27]</sup><sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-27">[28]</sup> However, a workaround to access USB drives in Windows guest VMs involves using the Microsoft Remote Desktop Client to "share" host drives with guests over a Remote Desktop Connection.

    Other techniques exist to allow USB utilisation, an example would be using a network-to-USB device (USB over IP), a Digi AnywhereUSB or free USBIP.

    [edit] Audio

    Audio hardware is not virtualized by Hyper-V although the above Remote Desktop workaround may be used.

    [edit] Optical drives pass-through

    Optical drives virtualized in the guest VM are read-only.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-28">[29]</sup> Hyper-V does not support the host/root operating system's optical drives to pass-through in guest VMs. As a result, burning to discs, audio CDs, video CD/DVD-Video playback are not supported.

    [edit] Graphics issues on the host

    When manufacturer-supplied Vista-compatible (WDDM) display drivers are installed on the host OS, most servers and PCs will experience a dramatic drop in graphic performance, including 'page flipping'-like effects when viewing high definition content or scrolling in applications and system hangs when switching between applications on the host; guest systems performance is unaffected. Users may install XP/2003-compatible (Non-WDDM) display drivers but may have compatibility problems and will be unable to use Aero. This occurs regardless of whether a VM actually exists or whether any Hyper-V services are running.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-Poor_Host_System_Performance_after_RC1_Update_.28RTM_as_Well.29_29-0">[30]</sup>

    Microsoft recommends to use default VGA drivers (shipped with Windows Server 2008) on the host systems instead of manufacturer- supplied ones,<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-Video_performance_may_decrease_when_a_Windows_Server_2008-based_computer_has_the_Hyper-V_role_enabled_and_an_accelerated_display_adapter_installed_30-0">[31]</sup> however, such drivers, in turn, do not support multiple displays and high resolution configurations, as well as Aero, DirectX, Hardware-accelerated video decoding and other graphic accelerated features, thereby limiting its use on workstations (default VGA drivers do not support e.g. resolutions higher than 1280x1024).

    This issue in Windows Server 2008 (not R2) is still not solved. According to a Microsoft specialist's statement, systems with Windows Server 2008 R2 and processors supporting Extended Page Table are unaffected;<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-GraphicAcceleration_EPT_10-1">[11]</sup> however, at least some users experience an even more significant problem: Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V and manufacturer-supplied graphic drivers installed won't boot at all.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-31">[32]</sup> This issue is fixed in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.

    The result is that I have cleared the decks for the W8 beta but will not be installing another OS in virtual mode. I want W8 to be as good a direct comparison with W7 as I can get without possible interferences.

    What I have seen in other threads are bland suggestions to install W8 in a virtual mode without any regard as to what the computer would be used for. Seems crazy to me.

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    Thursday, February 23, 2012 10:46 PM