Microsoft is beefing up virtualization support in Windows 8 with Hyper-V, writes Microsoft's Mathew John on the Building Windows 8 blog. Hyper-V was previously available in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2, but in Windows 8 its functionality is also being rolled into the client version of the operating system.

Hyper-V allows users to run multiple operating systems on the same computer at the same time - if its functionality sounds familiar, it's because programs like VirtualBox, VMWare Workstation, and Parallels (for the Mac users among us) have all been providing similar functionality for years. This isn't Microsoft's first foray into this space, either - among other things, Microsoft's Windows Virtual PC (which enables XP Mode on Windows 7 machines) is also virtualization software.

One of Hyper-V's most appealing features compared to basic consumer-level virtualization software is dynamic memory allocation - a Hyper-V-enabled VM with 2GB of RAM allocated to it will only use the RAM it needs, leaving the unused portion of that 2GB available to the host OS or to other VMs. Microsoft notes that up to four VMs can be hosted on a 64-bit system with 4GB of RAM, though more VMs will require a greater amount of memory.

Use of Hyper-V will require a 64-bit version of Windows 8, 4GB or more of RAM, and a CPU supporting either Intel's VT-x or AMD's AMD-V virtualization technology, and Second Level Address Translation (SLAT). Hosted operating systems can be either 32 or 64-bit, and can make use of up to 32 processors and 512GB of RAM. For complete details on Hyper-V and specifics on its implementation in Windows 8, read the full post on the Building Windows 8 Blog.

Source: Building Windows 8 Blog

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  • JoelB - Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - link

    I don't suppose there is a list of CPUs that do have either the VT-x or AMD-V features, is there?
  • Andrew.a.cunningham - Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - link

    This isn't a big front-of-the-box feature, so it can be hard to dig up information on it. If you've got a Core i-series processor or an AMD processor from the last two or three years, you should be fine, but for anything older it's harder to say for sure. Your best bet is to look up your specific processor on Intel's or AMD's sites if you're not sure.
  • mrscrib - Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - link

    Yeah. Although I believe some, if not all, Clarkdale i3s (1156s) don't support it.
  • dgingeri - Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - link

    The Core i3 series does support it.

    Even the Pentium series (1155 and 1156) supports it

    You have to go back to the socket LGA 775 series chips to find one that doesn't support it.
  • Andrew.a.cunningham - Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - link

    Even the Sandy Bridge Celerons support it - nice to see it's finally getting picked up across the board on the Intel side.
  • TypeS - Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - link

    Whether a CPU supports a VT-x or AMD-V is rather easy to find, both companies list their CPUs with detailed specs on their website.

    For instance.

    Intel Core i3 2100:

    AMD Athlon II X2 240:
  • phatboye - Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - link

    not a list but if you want to check if your CPU is supported you can do:
    Linux cat /proc/cpuinfo
    Windows: download CPU-z

    in both OSes look for the VT-x or AMD-V flag
  • OoklaTheMok - Thursday, September 8, 2011 - link

    As a UI developer, I have been limited in the virtualization that I could use so that I could develop and test my works with the Aero Glass theme. I have been using VMware Workstation for many years, but lately, VMware Workstation has been getting more and more unstable or unpredictable with regard to performance and stability.

    In the past, when trying to use Hyper V when running Windows Server as a workstation, I had to give up running some programs on my host because they were hard-coded to not install, or in some cases, won't run on Windows Server.

    This looks to make my development life better.
  • Sarah Gates - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    Hyper-V virtualization tool has been made accessible with windows latest version i.e. windows 8. It is a fascinating operating system for developers, IT pros, and other users who want to run, test, or support virtual environments. In order to run this latest version of operating system i.e. windows 8 Hyper-V, the users of the same would require 64-bit processor but it should be the bit version of windows 8 and in addition to that it must have RAM of at least 4 GB. It demands a bit system which must have SLAT i.e. Second Level Address Translation which helps you in managing memory. In the current generation of 64-bit processor, SLAT is a feature which is available on almost every computer. Much more on this topic and other topics can be found on this site vpswebserver

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