Run Hyper-V on Windows 7? Unpossible!
Ok, so I lured everyone in with a provocative title, and I can’t exactly deliver – there is no way as far as I know to directly run Hyper-V on any client version of Windows 7. But there’s an important bit of software that has an obscure name that can really help you out.
The caveat is, you need a machine that’s free and supports hardware virtualization (i.e. AMD-V or VT-x). Not all machines support it, and a lot of them need some BIOS fiddling to make it work properly.
Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 costs exactly zero dollars
Nobody knows about this, and I don’t know why it’s not more popular – Microsoft gives away the Server Core Hyper-V SKU. For free. No dollars. Go over here and download it. Set this up on a machine and it should drop you at a command prompt – that’s all there is to Server Core, just a cmd prompt; that’s all you need for Hyper-V though.
Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7
A lot of people think that you need to have Windows Server installed to be able to administer other servers – otherwise you don’t have the MMC snap-ins, so people resort to TSing into their boxes to administer them. Ever since Vista, we’ve made a package called the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT), which brings all of the snap-ins like the Active Directory admin page, the DNS page, everything that’s on Server – only on Vista / Win7.
This won’t magically make your Windows 7 box be able to be a Domain Controller though, you’ll only be able to connect to other machines. However, this includes all of the Hyper-V client components – you’ll be able to view the console, manage/add machines, etc. Here’s the only trick though, the installer is kind of goofy – installing the package only adds the entry in the Add Optional Features list. Then, you have to actually choose what to install.
Combine these two, and you’ve got Hyper-V on Win7 for free
Just like the heading says, if you combine these two, you’ve got Hyper-V for free. Yahtzee! Combine this with disk2vhd, and you can get rid of a bunch of test machines and move them to VMs. Move VHDs using the SMB admin shares, like