If you are using Windows 11 Pro or later, you can enable a cool feature — virtualization (or Hyper-V in Windows). Virtualization allows you to create and use virtual machines from the host operating system.
A virtual machine (VM) acts like any ordinary computer, with its own virtual RAM, disk space, network connection, etc. This allows you to install a full OS version other than the one running on the host machine. Each virtual machine runs in its own isolated space on the disk of the host computer. This means that, if necessary, you can run multiple virtual machines on the same hardware.
Using virtualization, you can create environments in which you can test new software and services. Virtual machines are popular in business environments, but you can also use virtual machines at home. Hyper-V is a tool built into Windows that allows you to do this without installing third—party software.
If you want to use Hyper-V and enable virtualization in Windows 11, you need to do the following.
Before enabling virtualization in Windows 11
If you decide to enable virtualization in Windows 11, you need to check a few things first. This includes:
Check CPU support for SLAT: Your computer will need a 64-bit CPU that supports second-level address translation (also known as SLAT technology). Modern 64-bit Intel or AMD processors should support SLAT by default.
Enabling virtualization in BIOS/UEFI: You need to enable virtualization technology in the BIOS/UEFI settings menu of your PC. The steps for this may vary, so please refer to the manufacturer's manual or on the support site. However, for most users, you will need to press F2, F10 or another function key while the computer is booting. Find "System Configuration", "Virtual Technology" or something similar and enable these settings if they haven't been already.
Windows 11 Pro or higher: The main version of Windows 11 does not support the required Hyper-V Manager. To get this feature, you can upgrade from Windows 11 Home to Professional. If you cannot enable Hyper-V, you will need to use an alternative method to create virtual machines, such as VirtualBox.
How to enable Hyper-V in Windows 11
Hyper-V is a built—in tool for creating and using virtual machines in Windows 11. You don't need additional software to create a virtual machine, but Hyper-V is usually not enabled by default. To use virtualization with Hyper-V, you need to enable it.
To enable Hyper-V Manager, you need to open the Run dialog box first. You can do this quickly by pressing the Win+R keys on your keyboard.
In the Run dialog box, enter optionalupdates.exe and click "OK".additional features of Windows 11
In the Windows Components window, you can enable or disable certain Windows features, including Hyper-V. To do this, make sure that all relevant Hyper-V settings are enabled, then click OK.
A progress bar will appear while Windows installs the files required for this feature. When it finishes, you will need to reboot — to do this, click "Restart now".
Restart to complete the installation
Opening the Hyper-V Manager
After restarting your computer, you can start using Hyper-V Manager. This tool allows you to create and manage virtual machines.
To launch Hyper-V Manager, click Start and type Hyper-V Manager in the search bar. When it appears as a b match est result, click Run as Administrator on the right.
If you've used Hyper-V in Windows 10, the Hyper-V Manager shouldn't look too unfamiliar. Nothing has changed except for a few rounded corners.
Using the Hyper-V Manager, you can start creating new virtual machines running Windows, Linux or another operating system. As in Windows 10, you can create new virtual machines in Hyper-V Manager using the Create New Virtual Machines Wizard.
You can create multiple virtual machines, each with a specific purpose, if you have disk space. For example, you might decide to use Hyper-V to test new builds of Windows 11 Insider to see the new Windows 11 features in action.
Remember that when you create a VM, it uses the resources of your host computer. You don't want to assign too much RAM or storage space to a VM, especially if your PC has limited hardware resources.
Using Virtualization in Windows 11
If you decide to enable virtualization in Windows 11, you will be able to run multiple operating systems at once. When using Windows 11's built-in Hyper-V, the advantage is that you don't need to install third-party software such as VirtualBox or VMware.
However, make sure that you are using Windows 11 Pro on a PC with enough system resources to work. If you try to run two (or more) operating systems at the same time, expect your computer to slow down significantly. Hyper-V is just one of several legacy Windows features and utilities that you'll see in Windows 11, including the classic Control Panel and Task Manager.