How to Enable Virtualization on Windows 10

Last Updated: June 4, 2019

One of the most powerful features baked into Windows 10 is native support for hardware virtualization. This is via a virtualization platform called Hyper-V. Once you enable virtualization on Windows 10, it opens the door to creating a virtual machine on your system. This machine is completely separate from your main system. You can thus go crazy with it. If you want, install anything you want on it without worrying about messing up with the main system.

Before you can do that though, you’d have to enable hardware virtualization on Windows 10.

Hardware Virtualization System Requirements

  • Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise
  • 64-bit processor with Second Level Address Translation (SLAT)
  • 4GB system RAM at minimum
  • BIOS-level Hardware Virtualization support

Check Hardware Virtualization support

First of all, make sure your device supports hardware virtualization. You can also check that it is enabled in the BIOS or UEFI firmware settings.

  1. Launch a command prompt or Windows PowerShell window.
  2. Enter the command given below.
    systeminfo.exe
  3. Wait few seconds (It takes a few seconds to gather information about your system but then gives you a result)
  4. Look under Hyper-V Requirements.
  5. See that Virtualization Enabled In Firmware reads Yes. (If it does, then you can use Windows Sandbox.) Check Hardware Virtualization support

Alternatively, you can also see if Virtualization is enabled under the Performance tab of the Task manager.

Windows Virtualization status in Windows Taskbar

The virtualization status will be in enabled mode if you check on the CPU performance screen. If it’s not, you’ll have to enable this in the BIOS or UEFI settings.

Enable Virtualization on PC BIOS Setting

Every PC has a different version of BIOS screen and settings. Also, the steps to steps to enable virtualization from the BIOS depends on the PC manufacturer. Normally, BIOS settings can be accessed using the function keys (F1, F2, F3, F10, or F12) during boot. On some PCs, it’s the ESC, or Delete key.

Moreover, the keys are different from manufacturer to manufacturer and even among devices from the same manufacturer. Still, if you don’t already know the correct key for your machine, Google it. When you boot your PC, tap the key about twice per second as soon as the screen turns on. An easier and more universal way is to do this from the Windows 10 Settings.

  1. Go to Windows Settings
  2. Click on Update & Security
  3. Now click on Recovery
  4. Click Restart now under Advanced startup.Advanced startup
  5. Go to Troubleshoot
  6. Click on Advanced Options
  7. Now click on UEFI Firmware Settings
  8. Click Restart.

Restart into BIOS Settings

This method only works if you use UEFI-boot. And this is also a setting that can be changed from the BIOS. If you don’t know this, you don’t have to worry about it. All Windows PCs ship with UEFI boot enabled by default.

Enable Virtualization in BIOS

Look for something like an Advanced menu or tab. You’ll most likely find the setting you need to turn on under this. In addition to all the other things that can be different, this can also be labeled differently. It could be Advanced Mode, or simply Configuration like it is on my Lenovo Ideapad.

Finally, look for the setting which has Virtualization is its name and turn it on. Sometimes it’s named completely vaguely. For instance, Vanderloop. Depending upon your processor and other factors, these are the names commonly used.

  • Intel Virtualization Technology,
  • AMD-V,
  • Hyper-V
  • VT-X
  • Vanderpool
  • SVM

Enable Hyper-V Virtualization in Windows 10

Now that virtualization support is enabled in the BIOS, enable it on Windows 10.

  1. Press the Windows key to get the Search box.
  2. Type “turn windows features on or off” and click on it to open it. Search for Windows features
  3. Scroll down and check the box next to Hyper-V. Enable Virtualization on Windows 10
  4. Click OK.
  5. Windows will install the necessary files to enable virtualization.
  6. You’ll then be asked to reboot PC.Restart system
  7. Click Restart now.

Advantages of Windows Virtualization

Windows 8 was the first ever Windows version to natively support Hardware virtualization. Consequently, Windows 10 also supports it natively. But the platform has gained many features since then. This includes features like Enhanced Session Mode, high fidelity graphics, USB redirection, Linux secure boot, etc.

With Windows virtualization, you can test apps inside a virtual machine without compromising your main system. We’ve already mentioned that at the start. And the new Windows 10 May 2019 update actually has a built-in feature that lets you do that. They call it Windows Sandbox.

Virtualization also allows you to install a Linux shell on Windows. For instance, Ubuntu, Debian, Kali Linux, etc. are available from the Microsoft Store. Not only can you then use the powerful Linux terminal and commands but also the Linux GUI. One can even use a full-blown Linux desktop on Windows, although that’s not quite practical.

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