In a previous post, we wrote about how to install Mac OS X in VMware Fusion Often times, to run an operating system on another operating system using virtualization software such as VMware Workstation, VMware Fusion, or Hyper-V, you will need to enable virtualization in the BIOS.
While not always necessary, it is common on personal computers and gaming devices.
Computer virtualization is a processor (CPU) function, not a motherboard function, but since your motherboard is the central point for every component in your PC, the motherboard BIOS is also used to make changes to the CPU. Overclocking is a prime example of this.
Some processors do not officially support virtualization. Some examples of processors that do not support virtualization are the older Pentium 4, Celeron, and AMD Athlons. Therefore, you cannot effectively enable processor virtualization for a computer that does not have a processor with virtualization capabilities. You can use third party tools like HWinfo to find out if your processor supports virtualization or not
For the most part, any new processor with more than one core must support virtualization software. Some examples of processors that should support virtualization are Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, Intel Core i3, i5, i7, AMD Athlon X2, AMD Athlon X4, and AMD Phenom X4.
Note that for AMD processors, AMD-V is usually automatically enabled. However, if you have Hyper-V installed, sometimes it prevents other programs from accessing virtualization features. In this case, you can try uninstalling Hyper-V to see if it solves the problem. This can also happen on Intel processors, so try uninstalling Hyper-V if you’re not using it.
Enable virtualization in BIOS
Enabling CPU virtualization using BIOS is actually quite simple. However, many PCs may not support this option. If you have a Dell, Gateway, HP, or other PC manufacturer, you won’t have a highly customizable BIOS. However, if you have a Dell, Gateway, HP or similar PC, chances are good that virtualization is automatically enabled, which means you won’t need to configure this setting anyway.
If you have a computer designed for high performance gaming / tasks, you probably have this option. For example, Alienware computers probably have this capability. If you’ve built your own computer, chances are good that you have this opportunity too.
In any case, you can always check the BIOS to make sure you have / don’t have this option. To boot into BIOS, first make sure all your work is saved and you exit all open applications. From there, restart your computer.
Once you see the boot screen indicating that your computer is booting, you will need to press the BIOS activator key. Note that the BIOS screen is not a Windows boot screen.
The BIOS screen appears in front of the Windows boot screen and most likely stays on the screen for only a couple of seconds. When you see the BIOS boot screen, press the activator key, which in most cases is an F-command key such as F2, F5, or F12.
From there, your computer should display a very simple screen with a very limited list of options. Simply put, this list will have a bunch of weird choices that you’ve probably never heard of. Most often, these are parameters such as CMOS functions, advanced BIOS functions, boot, power management, PC status, etc.
Go through the list and see if you can find any options that mention virtualization. The setting should be under Processor, Chipset, Advanced CPU Configuration, etc. If you don’t see anything on the main screen, you should enter each individual list and look for the virtualization setting in the other options.
The actual virtualization setting might be called VT-x, Intel VT-x, Virtualization Extensions, Intel Virtualization Technology, etc. Once you have found the virtualization setting (if there is one in your motherboard BIOS), you can enable / disable it by simply hitting Enter, arrow keys, or whatever. The motherboard key will guide you through the process of changing certain values.
Now you need to take some precautions with what you change in the BIOS. If you change the wrong values, it can ruin your computer. However, fear not. It just takes some basic common sense. If you see a list that says RAM Speed, it obviously has nothing to do with virtualization. Therefore, do not change its meaning.
I apologize for the very general recommendations. Each motherboard’s BIOS is unique in setting, configuring, and listing specific parameters. Using common sense, this is very easy to do for just about anyone. If you can’t find any option that mentions virtualization, your motherboard probably doesn’t have it as an official option. In this case, don’t bind to other variables and try setting them that way. Enjoy!