Microsoft to equip Windows 8 with virtualization hosting

Windows 8 users will be able to run virtual machines directly from their desktops

The next version of the Microsoft's desktop OS, code-named "Windows 8", will include the ability to run other OSes in virtualized containers, the company announced by blog.

Previously, Microsoft's virtualization hosting software, called Hyper-V, could only be installed on machines running Windows Server. Users who needed to run virtual machines on their Windows 7 desktop computers used third-party software, such as Oracle's Virtual Box or VMware Workstation.

"In building Windows 8 we worked to enable Hyper-V ... to function on the client OS as well," wrote Mathew John, Microsoft program manager on the Hyper-V team. "In brief, Hyper-V lets you run more than one 32-bit or 64-bit x86 operating system at the same time on the same computer. Instead of working directly with the computer's hardware, the operating systems run inside of a virtual machine (VM)."

Microsoft sees this new functionality as being initially beneficial for developers and administrators. Developers could test their programs within a virtual environment without worrying about crashing their own OSes. Administrators could standardize their virtual machine infrastructure on Hyper-V, Microsoft suggested.

The virtualization feature will only work on x86 machines and will require hardware running 64-bit processors, though the hosting software itself can run 32-bit applications and OSes. A machine with 4GB of RAM can host up to four virtual machines, and running five or more virtual machines will require more memory.

Hyper-V will offer desktop users many benefits long enjoyed on the server side. They can move a running virtual machine from one disk drive to another, without interruption. They deploy Windows' Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) for advanced tasks such as displaying a virtual machine across multiple screens. Users can also take snapshots of a running virtual machine, to capture its environment at that time for archiving or analysis.

On the other hand, some Windows features will not work in a virtualized environment, John warned. BitLocker won't function correctly, because it relies on a direct connection to the machine's TPM (Trusted Platform Module). Applications that use the system's GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) to process data may not work in a virtualized environment. Extremely low-latency applications, such as sound mixers, may not do well in this environment, either.

This announcement is the latest in a number of technical previews that Microsoft has posted about its next generation desktop OS, which is still under development and widely expected to ship in 2012. Windows 8 will have a ribbonized toolbar for the Explorer file manager. It will support a touch interface for tablets and come with an App Store.

The company promises to preview more features of this OS at its annual Build PDC (Professional Developers Conference), to be held next week in Anaheim, California.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags virtualizationMicrosoftdesktop virtualization

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?