Monday, December 12, 2011

Enabling Hardware Virtualization

Recently, I got a new server, and I've been dying to setup virtualization and create a new test lab.  I have 64-bit hardware and Windows 64-bit.  Then, I downloaded and installed both VirtualBox and VMWare Server.  Next, I downloaded the Windows 2008 R2 SP1 64-bit ISO.

Imagine my surprise when I got the following messages when trying to setup the Guest OS:

Virtualization Error

And this:

VirtualBox Error

Even though my server was 64-bit all the way, I still needed to enable Hardware Virtualization at the BIOS level if I wanted to create 64-bit Guest Operating Systems.

I got the same message when I tried again with VMWare Server:

VMWare Error

And I got the same thing when I used Microsoft's Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool.  Whew, that's a mouthful!

Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool Error

The first thing I did was verify that my CPU actually supported Hardware Virtualization; just because you have a 64-bit machine does not mean it will handle Hardware Virtualization.

CPUID is fantastic, free tool that serves many purposes: it will identify Hyperthreading, CPU Throttling, and Hardware Virtualization.

CPUID VT-x Error

What I'm looking for here is the presence of the VT-x Instruction Set.  Looks like I have it, so I'm golden.  Now, I just need to figure out how to enable it.

Another way to verify if your CPU supports Hardware Virtualization is to check the manufacturer's website.  Both Intel and AMD list their processors and allow you to verify this.


In order to enable Hardware Virtualization you will need to change some settings in your BIOS.  The problem here is, every computer's BIOS will be a little different.  You may have to hunt around in a non-obvious location to find it.  Mine was hidden under Security Settings.  I guess it's like they always say, it's in the last place you look...

Happiness is a Virtualized CPU

Once I took care of that, is was Blue Skies Again.

Hardware Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool Success

Now to work on creating my Virtual Sandbox...

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