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How to Enable Virtualization in Windows 10

How to Enable Virtualization in Windows 10

In this blog, we will walk you through virtualization, why you should enable it, and the steps to enable visualization in Windows 10.

Table of Contents

Watch this video to learn more about Virtualization.

What is Virtualization?

Virtualization involves crafting a virtual version of a computer system that operates independently from the actual physical hardware. This allows multiple operating systems to run simultaneously on a single machine. Applications within this virtual environment see themselves as operating on unique operating systems and resources that differ from the main operating system of the physical host machine. Essentially, virtualization enhances flexibility and efficiency by creating isolated environments for various operating systems to coexist seamlessly on the same hardware infrastructure.

Types of Virtualization

Virtualization comes in various types, each customized for different aspects of computing. These types cover servers, networks, storage, desktops, and applications, altering the utilization and management of devices and software.

Let’s discuss the types in detail:

  1. Server Virtualization: This method divides one physical server into multiple virtual servers, each with its own operating system. It optimizes server resources, maximizing efficiency, reducing costs, and enabling scalability as per changing demands.
  2. Network Virtualization: This separates physical network components, allowing multiple virtual networks to operate on a single physical infrastructure. It enhances flexibility and security by creating isolated virtual segments.
  3. Storage Virtualization: This merges various physical storage devices into a single virtual storage system. This simplifies data management, streamlines storage use, and centralizes storage administration.
  4. Desktop Virtualization: It virtualizes desktop environments, enabling remote access to desktops from different devices. This approach enhances security, simplifies desktop management, and grants users access to their desktops from anywhere.
  5. Application Virtualization: Applications run independently from the underlying operating system, enabling seamless operation across different environments.

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Why Should You Enable Virtualization?

Enabling virtualization on your computer presents various advantages, especially if your operations involve running virtual machines (VMs) or utilizing applications that rely on virtualization technology. Below are reasons to enable Virtualization in Windows 10: 

  • Running Multiple Operating Systems: Virtualization lets you run many operating systems on just one computer. 
  • Isolated and Secure Environments: Operating a virtual machine offers an isolated environment, thereby enhancing security by maintaining a separation between the VM and the host operating system. 
  • Resource Efficiency: Virtualization significantly enhances hardware resource utilization efficiency. It optimizes the utilization of CPU, memory and storage leading to increased overall performance and functionality.
  • Simplified Backup and Recovery: Virtual machines can be backed up and restored more easily than physical machines. You can take snapshots of a VM at any point in time, which can then be used to restore the VM to that specific state if needed.
  • Software Testing and Development: Developers often use virtualization to create different environments for testing software under various conditions and operating systems without the need for multiple physical devices.
  • Running Legacy Applications: Sometimes, older applications may not be compatible with newer operating systems. Virtualization can be used to run these legacy applications in an older OS environment within a VM.

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System Requirements

To enable virtualization in Windows 10, your system needs to meet certain hardware and software requirements:

  1. 64-bit Processor with Virtualization Support: Your CPU must support virtualization technologies like Intel VT-x or AMD-V. 
  2. BIOS/UEFI Configuration:  Access your computer’s BIOS/UEFI settings during startup (usually by pressing a specific key like F2, Del, or Esc) and enable virtualization technology. 
  3. Sufficient RAM: Ensure your system has enough RAM to allocate to virtual machines along with the host system. At least 4GB of RAM is recommended, but more is better for running multiple virtual machines simultaneously.
  4. Windows 10 Edition: Virtualization is supported in Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise, and Education editions. The Home edition does not include native support for Hyper-V, Microsoft’s virtualization platform, but you can still use third-party virtualization software like VirtualBox or VMware.
  5. Adequate Disk Space: Allocate enough disk space for installing and running virtual machines. Each VM will require its own storage space for the operating system, applications, and data.

How to Enable Visualization in Windows 10?

To enable Virtualization on Windows 10, verify the device’s virtualization support by examining the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) or UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) firmware settings using the steps below:

Step 1: Open up the command prompt.

Step 2: run the command systeminfo.exe

Step 3: command will execute and display the results

Step 4: Find hyper-v requirements and to the right, you will find virtualization enabled in the firmware.

Alternatively, you can check in the task manager as shown below:

If virtualization is disabled, follow these steps to enable it in BIOS or UEFI settings.

How to Enable Visualization in BIOS

Step 1: Initiate a computer restart

Step 2: As the system begins rebooting and the screen goes black, access the BIOS by pressing the designated hotkey. Hotkeys vary by computer brand and commonly include F1, F2, F3, F10, Esc, or Delete.

Step 3: Once inside, proceed to the Advanced Tab and press Enter to proceed.

Step 4: Locate the Virtualization option and activate it

Step 5: Save the changes made and restart the computer

Alternatively, BIOS settings can also be accessed through Windows settings.

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How to Enable Virtualization without BIOS?

1. Open Windows 10 settings 

2. Navigate to and opt for ‘update & security’ within the settings menu.

3. Under the options listed on the left side, select the ‘recovery’ tab.

4. To proceed further, click on ‘restart now’ available under the ‘advanced startup’ section.

5. Upon the subsequent screen, click on ‘troubleshoot’ to continue.

6. Following this, select ‘advanced options’ from the available choices.

7. Look for and select ‘UEFI firmware settings.

8. Initiate a system restart to enter the UEFI interface.

9. Once within the BIOS setup, explore the ‘configuration’ tab.

10. Locate the ‘virtualization’ setting and opt for ‘intel virtualization technology.

11. Adjust the status to ‘enabled’ for the desired changes.

12. Ensure to save the adjustments made and exit the BIOS settings interface.

Conclusion

Enabling virtualization on Windows 10 offers numerous benefits, such as the capability to run multiple operating systems on a single computer while maintaining enhanced security measures. To initiate this process, it is important to verify your computer’s settings for compatibility. This can be achieved either through adjustments in the BIOS or by exploring specific options within the Windows settings.

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FAQs

What is virtualization in Windows 10, and why is it important to enable it?

Virtualization in Windows 10 allows you to run multiple operating systems on a single computer simultaneously. Enabling is important as it enhances system versatility, allowing for efficient use of resources and increased security by isolating the environment.

How do I check if my Windows 10 PC supports virtualization?

To verify if your computer supports virtualization, access the BIOS or UEFI settings during the startup process. Look for options like “intel virtualization technology (VT-x)” or “AMD virtualization (AMD-V)” and ensure they are enabled. Additionally, you can check Windows features or use system diagnostic tools to confirm compatibility.

What are the steps to enable virtualization in Windows 10?

Enabling virtualization involves accessing the BIOS/UEFI settings, locating the virtualization option (VT-x/AMD-V), and enabling it. Alternatively, within Windows 10, go to the control panel > programs > turn Windows features on or off and check the “hyper-V” or “windows hypervisor platform” option.

Can I enable virtualization on any Windows 10 edition?

Virtualization features like Hyper-V are available in certain editions of Windows 10, such as Pro, Enterprise, and Education. Users of these editions can access and enable virtualization functionalities, while home editions might not have these capabilities.

Are there any potential issues or considerations when enabling virtualization on Windows 10?

Enabling virtualization may impact system performance, particularly if the hardware is not adequately equipped or compatible. Some antivirus or security software might conflict with virtualization features, requiring adjustments in settings or temporarily disabling certain features for compatibility. Additionally, ensure you follow proper instructions to avoid unintended changes in system settings that could affect stability.

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About the Author

Application Architect

Rupinder is a certified IT expert in AWS and Azure, working as a DevOps Architect and specializing in cloud and infrastructure. He designs and builds entire IT setups for important apps in banking, insurance, and finance.