Accessing the System Information from the Start screen is easy
This gallery is also available as an article in the TechRepublic Windows and Office Blog.
Microsoft announced that they are ending support for Windows XP SP3 on April 8th 2014. Since that official announcement I have been receiving a lot of email from Windows XP users making the move to Windows 8 and wondering about support for something like Windows 7's XP Mode. In other words, they want to be able to move to Windows 8 and take Windows XP with them so that they have something to fall back on as they get used to Windows 8.
Well, unfortunately Microsoft did not incorporate anything similar to XP Mode in Windows 8. However, if you are running a 64-bit version of Windows 8 Professional or Windows 8 Enterprise, these versions of the operating system come with a new virtualization tool called Client Hyper-V that you can use to run a virtual Windows XP machine inside of Windows 8.
Of course, in order to be able to run Client Hyper-V, your system must meet several hardware requirements. For instance, the 64-bit CPU in your system must support Second Level Address Translation (SLAT) technology and your system must have at least 4GB of RAM. (There are several other system requirements that must be in place as well, but I'll cover these in a moment.)
In most cases, the procedure of setting up is Windows 8's Client Hyper-V is relatively straightforward. However, as I have corresponded with various users performing the necessary steps, I've learned that the procedure can be tricky and confusing - especially if the users were not sure how to get started or ran into problems along the way.
One of the most common problems people were encountering has to do with a key virtualization feature being disabled in the computer's firmware and them not knowing it. Unfortunately, you can't install Client Hyper-V without these features being enabled and as you can imagine the problem just snowballs from there.
As I worked through this problem, I developed a set of steps that eventually led these users to success. To save other users who may be thinking of incorporating Client Hyper-V from frustration, I decided to write an article showing you how to get started with Windows 8's Client Hyper-V the right way.
Let me begin with a brief reiteration of the most obvious requirements. As I mentioned, Windows 8's Client Hyper-V is only available in the 64-bit versions of Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise. It is not available in the 32-bit versions nor is it available in Windows 8 basic or in Windows RT.
Again, your system must have at least 4GB of RAM and your 64-bit CPU must support Second Level Address Translation (SLAT) technology. Most of the current crop of 64-bit CPUs from Intel and AMD provide SLAT support.
Checking System Information
Before you attempt to install Windows 8's Client Hyper-V, you need to verify that everything in your system is ready to run a virtualized environment. Unbeknownst to many Windows 8 users, Microsoft added new information gathering features to the old System Information tool thus making it very easy to verify whether your Windows 8 system can run Client Hyper-V.
To launch System Information in Windows 8, use the [Windows] + Q keystroke to access the Apps Search page. Then, type msinfo32 in the text box and click msinfo32.exe, as shown in Figure A. If you prefer, you can use the [Windows] + R keystroke to bring up the Run dialog box, type msinfo32 in the Open text box, and click OK.
Credit: Images by Greg Shultz for TechRepublic