It is possible to create a virtual machine in Microsoft Windows 10 Pro, but you must activate and install Hyper-V first, which is not as simple as it sounds.
Whether virtual machines reside in the cloud or as part of a local network, VMs often play a vital role in the strategic and practical application of business IT infrastructure. Depending on their configuration, VMs can be used to test and run applications, databases, storage systems, IoT controllers, operating systems, and a slew of other functions.
It is possible to create a virtual machine in Microsoft Windows 10 Pro, using nothing but built-in tools and your personal computer. You can use this personal VM to run an alternative operating system like Linux, for example. A VM of this type opens up access to new applications and new experiences; however, the key component, called Hyper-V, is not installed by default. So, we will have to activate Hyper-V first.
This tutorial shows you how to activate Hyper-V in Windows 10 Pro and then how to use it to create a VM on your personal computer.
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How to create a Hyper-V instance in Windows 10
In Windows 10 Pro, Hyper-V is located in the list of Windows Features, which is buried deep in the standard Windows Control Panel. The quickest way to get there is to type "Windows features" in the desktop search box and choose Turn Windows Features On Or Off.
When you click the correct item in the results, you should see a screen similar to Figure A.
Click the plus sign next to the Hyper-V entry to expand the list of its features. As you can see in Figure B, Hyper-V is more than just a single application. Click the box next to the Hyper-V entry and all of the sub-components should be automatically added to the list of installed features.
Click OK then reboot your PC to finish the installation process. It may take more than just a few minutes.
When the reboot is finished, you should have access to the Hyper-V Quick Create application, which is located in the Start Menu under Windows Administrative Tools.
If enough time has passed to allow your system to reindex your applications, you can type "hyper-v quick create" into the Desktop search box to find the tool.
When you start the Hyper-V Quick Create application (Figure C), you will have several decisions to make.
The first available instance is the MSIX Packaging Tool Environment, which has a specific use that most of us do not need. The next two available instances are versions of Ubuntu Linux, and the last available instance is for a development version of Windows 10. For example purposes, let's choose Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS. Click the Create Virtual Machine button to begin.
This process will also take several minutes to complete, depending on your broadband connection, processing power, etc. This version of Ubuntu requires a download of 1.6 GB.
After the VM is downloaded and installed, you will see the dialog screen shown in Figure D. From here you can either click Connect to start your VM with the default configuration or click Edit Settings to see the defaults and make changes.
For exploratory purposes we will choose to edit settings, which brings up the Hyper-V Management console (Figure E).
From the Hyper-V Management console, you can add a network adapter to your VM so it can access other computers in the network or change the default amount of RAM from 2 GB to 4 GB or more. You can even increase the number of default CPUs from four to eight.
You can also create a checkpoint for your VM, which operates like the Windows 10 restore point. In other words, you can use the checkpoint as a fallback VM instance—a pristine point to which you can always return.
Once you are satisfied with your VM configuration, click OK and then click Connect then Start. You will go through some configuration questions, but eventually you will have access to a full-fledged VM (Figure F).
To exit the VM, go to the File menu and select Exit from the dropdown menu. To reconnect your VM, load the Hyper-V Manager (Figure G) from the Start Menu under Windows Administrative Tools and connect to the appropriate instance.
You can also use the Hyper-V Manager to shut down your VM and change the configuration settings.
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