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hardware-virtualization

Hardware Virtualization

About Virtualization

Most modern CPU’s support hardware virtualization, which makes it easier for multiple operating systems to share processor resources safely and efficiently. This is required to run a 64-bit guest OS, which is what our VM image is built on. AMD and Intel introduced their respective virtualization solutions in 2006, so unless you have an exceptionally low-end CPU (like Intel Atom) or a very old computer, it probably supports it, although it may be disabled. CPUs that do not support virtualization are probably too weak to run a VM anyway and you should look at other options for development. If your computer has virtualization disabled, or doesn’t support it at all, VirtualBox will happily import the machine but will not be able to run it.

Is it enabled?

Choose a virtualization program to use:

  1. Download, install, and run VirtualBox (recommended)
    1. At the top of the window, click “New” (we won’t actually create a new VM, but this is an easy way to test for virtualization support)
    2. Open the “Version” drop-down menu and look at the options available:
      1. If you see both 32- and 64-bit options, then virtualization is already enabled - go back to the installation instructions
      2. If you only see 32-bit options, then virtualization is not enabled - continue to the next section and we’ll see if we can enable it
  2. Download, install, and run VMWare (Note: these instructions are based on VMWare Player and may be slightly different for other VMware products)
    1. Click “Create new Virtual Machine” (we won’t actually create a new VM, but this is an easy way to test for virtualization support)
    2. If it asks about the “Virtual Machine Configuration”, just accept the default and click Next
    3. Select “I will install the OS later” and click Next
    4. Open the “Version” drop-down menu and look at the options available:
      1. If you see options with “x64” at the end, then virtualization is already enabled - go back to the installation instructions
      2. If you do not see any “x64” options, then virtualization is not enabled - continue to the next section and we’ll see if we can enable it

Verify Compatibility

  1. Find your CPU model number (pick your OS)
    1. Windows 10
      1. Press Windows Key + E to open Windows Explorer
      2. On the left, right-click on “This PC” or “Computer” and select “Properties”
      3. Under the “System” category, it will have your processor model listed
        • For example, this laptop has an Intel Core i5-5200U
      4. Make note of this model and continue to Step 2
    2. Mac
      1. In typical Apple fashion, Mac does not like to publicize the specific processor model they use in their machines. So we will use a command line tool to get the exact model
      2. Open Terminal
        1. The easiest way to open it is to press Command+Space (to open Spotlight), type “terminal,” and press Return
      3. Enter this command and press Enter/Return:
         sysctl -n machdep.cpu.brand_string 
      4. Make note of this model and continue to Step 2
    3. Linux
      1. Due to the vast variation in desktop layouts, the most reliable method for Linux is to use the command line
      2. Open Terminal
        • On some Linux distros (including Ubuntu), you can do this with Ctrl+Alt+T
        • On others, you may be able to search the Start Menu equivalent for the terminal program
      3. Enter this command and press Enter/Return:
         cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep 'model name' | uniq 
    4. Make note of this model and continue to Step 2
  2. Search for your CPU model online (pick your CPU brand)
    1. Intel
      1. Look for a matching result from “ark.intel.com” and open it
      2. Press Ctrl+F and type “virtual” - it should highlight a line that says “Intel Virtualization Technology (VT-x)”
        • If it says “Yes,” then it supports this feature and we’ll just need to enable it - proceed to the next section to enable this feature
        • If it says “No,” then your processor doesn’t support virtualization and will not support this virtual machine image - look at other options for development
  3. AMD
    1. Unfortunately, AMD does not have an online archive of product specifications like Intel does. So you will probably need to look for a third party site like “cpuworld.com”
    2. Press Ctrl+F and type “virtual”
      • If it finds a line saying “AMD-V / AMD Virtualization technology” under “Features,” then it supports this feature and we’ll just need to enable it - proceed to the next section to enable this feature
    3. If it does not find such a line, then your processor doesn’t support virtualization and will not support this virtual machine image - look at other options for development

Enable hardware virtualization

We will need to enable hardware virtualization from the BIOS / UEFI.

While in the BIOS / UEFI, DO NOT change any other settings unless you know what you’re doing. Changing the wrong setting could prevent your PC from starting up properly. If you think you may have accidentally changed an unwanted setting, exit the BIOS / UEFI without saving changes and start again.

Pick your OS for specific instructions

  1. Windows 8+
    1. Open the Start Menu, then the Power Menu
    2. Hold Shift and click on “Restart”
    3. It will take a moment to load, then give you some advanced restart options
    4. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > UEFI Firmware Settings > Restart
    5. Use the keyboard / mouse to navigate the interface and look for a “Virtualization,” “AMD-V,” or “VT-x” option
      • Some newer PC’s have UEFI layouts that support mouse input. Give it a go and see if it works on yours
      • Somewhere on the screen, you should have some instructions explaining how to navigate the menus
      • The layout of the UEFI will depend on your computer manufacturer
      • For example, on some Dell laptops, the “Virtualization” option is under the “Advance” tab
    6. Once you have enabled the virtualization option, use the specified key or onscreen button to save and exit
    7. Once it reboots, check for the 64-bit option again in the "Is it enabled?" section
      • If you cannot enter the BIOS / UEFI using this method, try the instructions listed for Windows 7
      • If this procedure gives you any trouble, look online for specific assistance for your computer
  2. Windows 10 / Linux
    1. The procedure to access the BIOS / UEFI depends on your computer model
      • Typically, it will be accessed using one of the F-keys during startup
      • For example, most Dell PC’s use F2
      • The appropriate key may be displayed on your screen while your computer starts up
    2. Restart your PC
    3. While it’s starting up (as soon as you see your manufacturer’s logo):
      • If you know the BIOS key, press it (it only needs to be pressed once but you might want to tap it repeatedly to ensure it detects it)
      • If you don’t know which button to press, look for it on screen while your PC is starting up (it may say “BIOS,” UEFI,” or “Setup”) and start tapping it
      • If you don’t see it while it’s starting up, look it up online with your computer’s model number
      • If you missed it and it started up Windows or Linux, reboot and try again
    4. Once you are in the BIOS / UEFI, use the keyboard to navigate the interface and look for a “Virtualization,” “AMD-V,” or “VT-x” option
      • Some newer PC’s have UEFI layouts that support mouse input. Give it a go and see if it works on yours
      • Somewhere on the screen, you should have some instructions explaining how to navigate the menus
      • The layout of the UEFI will depend on your computer manufacturer
      • For example, on some Dell laptops, the “Virtualization” option is under the “Advance” tab
    5. Once you have enabled the virtualization option, use the specified key or onscreen button to save and exit
    6. Once it reboots, check for the 64-bit option again (“Is it enabled?” section)
      • If this procedure gives you any trouble, look online for specific assistance for your computer
  3. Mac
    1. Macs do not have a BIOS / UEFI available to the user like a PC does; however, virtualization is usually enabled by default. If it isn’t, it could be due to out-of-date software
    2. Install any available software updates from the App Store, restart, and check for the 64-bit option again in the "Is it enabled?" section
    3. Refer to this Apple Support article if it still doesn’t work
hardware-virtualization.txt · Last modified: 2020/08/25 09:14 by wr1ght96