How To Install Hyper-V on Windows 10 on vSphere 6.5

Here's how you can expose the CPU features needed to run Hyper-V on Windows 10 instance being virtualized on VMware vSphere 6.5.

Recently, I needed to try out some of the new Microsoft Hyper-V features on the Windows 10 system. However, when I tried to enable Hyper-V on Windows 10, which was running as a virtual machine (VM) on my vSphere 6.5 environment, the Hyper-V Hypervisor feature was grayed-out (see Figure 1). Then, when I hovered the cursor over it, I received a message stating that "Hyper-V cannot be installed. The processor does not have the required virtualization capabilities." If you, like me, are running your Windows 10 instance on a hypervisor, the CPU virtualization features might be masked off in the VM, but it is in fact possible to run Hyper-V on a Windows 10 instance being virtualized on VMware vSphere 6.5 in just a few steps. In this article, I'll show you how I exposed the CPU features needed to run Hyper-V on my system.

[Click on image for larger view.] Figure 1. Hyper-V Hypervisor feature grayed-out.

While I'm not sure that everything I did was necessary, following these steps did allow me to run Hyper-V on a Windows 10 VM being hosted on vSphere 6.5. Please note, however, that this process is not officially supported by VMware or Microsoft.

When I ran systeminfo on my Windows 10 VM, it indicated that Hyper-V wouldn't work on the system (Figure 2).

[Click on image for larger view.] Figure 2. Running Systeminfo on my Windows 10 virtual machine.

To enable the VM to allow Hyper-V to work on this VM, I first powered down the Windows 10 system, and then logged on to my vSphere client. I selected the Summary tab of the Windows 10 VM, expanded the VM Hardware tab, and expanded the CPU section; I then verified that the hardware virtualization feature was disabled (Figure 3).

[Click on image for larger view.] Figure 3. Verifying that Hardware virtualization is disable.

Next, I selected Edit Settings (Figure 4), expanded the CPU section, clicked the Expose hardware assisted virtualization to the guest OS function, and set CPU/MMU Virtualization to Hardware CPU and MMU (Figure 5).   

[Click on image for larger view.] Figure 4. Editing the settings.
[Click on image for larger view.] Figure 5. Hardware CPU and MMU.

I then selected the VM Options tab, expanded the Advanced section and selected Edit Configuration (Figure 6).

[Click on image for larger view.] Figure 6. Edit configuration.

Once the Configuration Parameters box opened, I clicked Add Configuration Params and entered the following names and values and selected OK (Figure 7):

hypervisor.cpuid.v0 = "FALSE"
vhv.enable = "TRUE"
mce.enable = "TRUE"

[Click on image for larger view.] Figure 7. Adding configuration parameters.

After powering the VM back on, the output of systeminfo indicated that Hyper-V would now work on the system (Figure 8), and I was then able to install the Hyper-V Hypervisor.

[Click on image for larger view.] Figure 8. Systeminfo indicating that Hyper-V can run.

Wrapping Up
As I mentioned earlier, the steps that I took to enable Hyper-V to run on a VM running on an ESXi 6.5 server aren't officially supported by VMware or Microsoft, but this solution outlined seems to work fine.

About the Author

Tom Fenton works in VMware's Education department as a Senior Course Developer. He has a wealth of hands-on IT experience gained over the past 20 years in a variety of technologies, with the past 10 years focused on virtualization and storage. Before re-joining VMware, Tom was a Senior Validation Engineer with The Taneja Group, were he headed their Validation Service Lab and was instrumental in starting up its vSphere Virtual Volumes practice. He's on Twitter @vDoppler.

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