NOTE: The ability to run Hyper-V on a laptop is provided in the Windows "8" Consumer Preview as "Client Hyper-V" Read about it in the Client Hyper-V Survival Guide.
If you are not running Windows 8 CP, read on.

Hyper-V is an enterprise IT technology included in Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2. As such the documentation on TechNet and MSDN is on enterprise IT use, on a server.  However, some may wish to use Hyper-V on a laptop or a desktop computer. Perhaps to learn about Hyper-V, or create training material such as demos, for development purposes, or just for fun. Sometimes, because of company IT policies and management practice for servers, running Hyper-V on a laptop is the only way you can develop or document something.

This article is meant to assist those who are using Hyper-V in this "non-standard way". For example, a frequently occurring issue in this scenario is documented here: After you deploy a Sysprep prepared image, the Hypervisor layer service does not start automatically in Windows Server 2008

Ensure that your laptop will run Windows Server 2008 R2 with the Hyper-V role enabled. Hyper-V requires processor virtualization extensions (Intel-VT and AMD-V) and requires those features to be enabled along with the No-Execute (NX) feature. If your laptop CPU is from AMD download and run the AMD Virtualization Technology and Microsoft Hyper-V System Compatibility Check Utility. If your laptop CPU is from Intel download and run the Intel Processor Identification Utility. For more CPU and other Hyper-V tools see See also

If your constraint is organizational IT or licensing restrictions you can run the free Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 on your laptop.

Hyper-V does not support wireless NICs, because Data Center servers typically do not use them. Likewise, Hyper-V does not treat power-saving features the same way was as laptops do.  Running Hyper-V on your laptop with a wireless NIC is not supported by Microsoft, but you can do it following the instructions in this article.

Alternatively, you can dual boot using the boot to VHD.
There are great instructions here:

To run Hyper-V on laptops, you must address several issues, including:

  • Hyper-V does not allow you to bind a wireless network adapter to a virtual machine, although an unsupported workaround was posted in
    • NOTE that if your laptop is domain-joined, you may have a group policy that prevents this bridging for security reasons. To work around this, dis-join that laptop from the domain.
  • Power-saving features such as standby and hibernate are disabled when the Hyper-V role is enabled on the system. Other power management features, like changing the minimum and maximum processor speed while running on battery or plugged in, are still available. Since standby and hibernate features are not available, you cannot configure your laptop to go into a sleep state when you close the lid, nor to hibernate when the battery reaches a critical state.
  • The "user experience" for Windows Server 2008 is not the same as the "desktop experience" user expects on a Windows Vista or 7 laptops. If you wish to change this see Using Windows Server 2008 as a SUPER workstation OS.
  • Virtual PC and Windows Virtual PC do not support 64-bit virtual machines. Therefore, Hyper-V is the only Microsoft solution for running 64-bit virtual machines on your laptop.
  • Some laptop display drivers, particularly those with 3-D acceleration, are not supported in Hyper-V. Check your manufacturer information, or use the VGA.sys driver.

To bridge the Wireless Network Connection with the Virtual External Wireless Network

  1.  Log on to the system using an account with administrative privileges.
  2.  From the Control Panel, open the Network and Sharing Center applet.
  3.  Click on Manage network connections.
  4.  Select both Wireless Network Connection and Virtual External Wireless Network ( you need to select both at the same time to hold down the CTRL key while doing this)
    1. On the menu Advanced, select Bridge Connections. Note: If the Bridge Connections option is grayed out, it is possible that it has been disabled by a group policy. If this is the case, you can temporarily re-enable it by configuring the following registry value:
    2. On the User Account Control dialog click Continue.
    3.  A new Network Bridge network connection will be created. Each time you create a virtual machine that needs to access the external network using your laptop’s wireless network adapter, ensure you configure the virtual machine’s network adapter to use the Virtual External Wireless Network. 

If this is not allowed because of your IT organization's policy, you can set up RRAS to use your wireless connection, using these instructions

Hyper-V or Windows 7?

If you choose your laptop carefully, you do not have to choose between Windows 7 and Hyper-V.  It is possible to have both, though not at the same time as physical machines.  Using a laptop with an eSATA port or USB, you can boot from an external disk.  For example, the laptop's internal disk will boot with Windows 7.  For demonstrations and labs, you can attach an external disk and install Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V or Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 on that.  Your laptop's POST boot menu will allow you to choose which disk to boot from. You can also boot from a VHD file stored on a USB flash key.

To install Hyper-V on your laptop, choose between:

  • As a role of the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 x64: Server virtualization can be enabled by the installation of the Hyper-V role on the Windows Server 2008 x64 Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter Editions. It can be enabled on a Full or on a Server Core installation of the Windows Server 2008 x64.
  • As the free standalone Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2: Hyper-V Server is a dedicated stand-alone product. It is based on the Server Core installation of the Windows Server 2008, and contains only the Windows Hypervisor, Windows Server driver model and virtualization components, providing a small footprint and a minimal overhead for server virtualization solutions.

This example will use enabling Hyper-V as a role on a Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 full installation. Before installation, ensure your laptop satisfies the minimum/recommended requirements.

  1. Log on to the system using an account with administrative privileges.
  2. From the Start / Administrative Tools, run the Server Manager snap-in.
  3. On the User Account Control dialog click Continue.
  4. Navigate to the Roles node and click Add Roles.
  5. On the Before You Begin page, click Next.
  6. On the Select Server Roles page, select Hyper-V and click Next.
  7. On the Create Virtual Networks page, click on the wired network adapters you want to make available to virtual machines and click Next.
  8. On the Confirm Installation Selections page, click Install.
  9. Click Close to finish the wizard, and then click Yes to restart the computer.
  10. After you restart the system and log on with the same account you used to install the role.
  11. After the Resume Configuration Wizard completes the installation, click Close to finish the wizard.
  12. Install required updates listed at
  13. Restart the system.

To enable a virtual machine to be linked to a wireless adapter, create a bridge between a virtual “internal only” network and the actual physical wireless adapter if your IT environment allows this (often if you are not joined to the domain).

For example, the physical wireless adapter installed on the system is named Wireless Network Connection:

  1. On the Hyper-V Virtual Network manager, create a virtual network adapter named Virtual External Wireless Network and configure it as an Internal only network. 
  2. On the Windows Server 2008 Network Connections, create a bridge between the Wireless Network Connection and the Virtual External Wireless Network you created in step 2 above. The “internal only” virtual network is named as “External” because it is bridged to a physical wireless network adapter, which provides "external" access to the virtual machines.
  3. Link the virtual machine’s virtual network adapter to the Virtual External Wireless Network.

Other Issues

Certificates and VMs starting errors:

How to Run Hyper-V on HP EliteBook 8450w


See Also

Community Resources

Other Languages

This article is available in other languages, including Italian.

Here's how I did to run Hyper-V on a Lenovo ThinkPad T61 (Brazilian Portuguese)
(Aqui descrevo como instalei o Hyper-V em um Lenovo ThinkPad T61)