Windows 8, Hyper-V and Processor Technology

I have been thinking for a while now that I should probably install Windows 8 on my laptop and start getting more experience using it. The final straw came last week whilst I was at Microsoft, I saw all their staff using Windows 8 and thought it was probably time for me to take the plunge as well!

I weighed up all the different options for installing Windows 8 and decided to go with a dual boot scenario, with Windows 8 running on a vhd. I went for this as I didn’t want Windows 8 running in a Virtual Machine, as one of the main things I wanted to try out was Hyper V, which is now included in the client application.

There is a great article from Ed Bott at ZDNet which I recommend reading if you are thinking of going down this installation route – http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/how-to-use-a-vhd-to-dual-boot-windows-8-on-a-windows-7-pc/4847

The install worked great and my laptop now has both OS’s running and I simply select the appropriate one at start up. I had played with Windows 8 a bit before so wasn’t totally new to the OS. I am still not convinced about the Metro interface on the desktop; whilst technically it does work with a mouse I just can’t see myself using it every day at work. On a tablet however I think it will be a totally different proposition, and I can see it really giving Microsoft traction in this market.

I then decided to have a play with hyper v. I went to install the features add hit a problem. I found out I could not install the client hyper v feature as my processor did not support Secondary Level Address Translation’s (SLAT).

Obviously this was a little annoying so I recommend that if this feature is important, you check your processor before moving over to Windows 8. Happily Microsoft have a handy tool called coreinfo which will enable you to check your processor’s specification. Its available here – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/cc835722

To check your processor:

1. Download the file from the above link

2. Extract it somewhere on your computer

3. Open a command prompt, with administrative privileges, at the location where you extracted the files too and type the following command

coreinfo –v

 

You should see results which look like this:

command prompt

What you are looking for is a * on the EPT row. The * symbol signifies that the feature is supported by the processor. (N.B. If your processor is an AMD it will be called NPT and not EPT).

As you can in the picture above my processor does not support SLAT.

Conclusion

If you are thinking of using the client hyper v capabilities in Windows 8, start checking your hardware now and upgrade gradually over the coming months ready for RTM.

I am not going to go into the reasons why Hyper V needs SLAT, there are plenty of other blogs out there for that. However one interesting thing that I will point out it that SLAT is not required for Windows Server 2012, only for Windows 8. An interesting take on this is found in Ed Tittel’s article from September last year – http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.com/vista-enterprise-desktop/the-real-secret-behind-slat-and-hyper-v-for-windows-8/

Rich

@barrett_rich

N.B. All the information above is based on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, is provided without warranty and could well change before the product RTMs