Windows 8 Hyper-V Support

I installed Windows 8 shortly it was released and I’ve been running it for almost two months now. I’m still in a learning mode to teach old dog new tricks. I have a few gripes here and there, such as the need for two screens (start screen and desktop), the absence of the start button and its search, the quest for dumbing down the OS, and the fact that my Quickbooks PDF converter doesn’t work anymore.

However, I do like the performance boost (Windows 8 really flies on a solid state disk). I also discover gems here and there and one of them is the Hyper-V support. For those of you who need to run virtual machines, such as to test prerelease bits or run other guest operating systems, you know that in the pre-Windows 8 era you had to rely on either VirtualBox or VMWare because Virtual PC wasn’t capable of running 64-bit guest Windows (required for SharePoint for example). Now, Hyper-V is built in Windows 8 and installing it is a snap. Steven Sinofsky wrote a nice coverage of Windows 8 Hyper-V in his blog “Bringing Hyper-V to Windows 8” which includes also a short video of how to install it. Trust me, you’ll really appreciate how simple the install process is.

Anticipating the forthcoming release of SharePoint 2013, today I stood up a Windows Server 2012 VM using Hyper-V on a Windows 8 host and I loved the experience. There is no need to install extensions to enable keyboard and mouse integration, or to go through bizarre steps to resize the virtual disk in order to free up more space. For example, expanding the disk to free up more space is a simple two-step procedure:

  1. Use the Hyper-V manager to edit and expand the virtual disk.
  2. Start the VM. Assuming a Windows guest OS, use the Disk Manager to extend the volume to include the newly allocated space.

Tip If you plan to stood up a VM for BI testing, plan for at least 40 GB virtual disk to install Windows Server 2012, SQL Server 2012, and SharePoint. This is where a second disk (I highly recommend a solid state disk) comes handy.