In my first article on Hyper-V and Hyper-V Manager, I discussed how to enable Hyper-V and how to start and configure Hyper-V Manager. In this article, I will be continuing with additional information regarding how to use Hyper-V Manager such as how to start virtual machines and how to make changes to the virtual machine settings. For this article, I will be describing the virtual machine and virtual machine settings options that I did not cover previously as I show how the different options can be used for making changes to virtual machines.
Selecting a virtual machine (VM) to work with is easy to do. On the Hyper-V Manager’s main window, click on the VM you wish to work with. In the bottom of the right frame, the VM’s name will appear along with several options listed under the name.
Virtual Machine Options
Several options are listed for each virtual machine. The next section will identify the different options and describe what the options are used for.
Starting Virtual Machines
I am going to address a couple of the options for virtual machines out of order as the Start and Connect options require that one option is selected and then the other option must be used next to run any virtual machines. The Start option will start the virtual machine but users will not be able to work with a VM until they use the Connect option to load the VM. From the main Hyper-V Manager window, users can click on the Start option to load the VM but until the user connects to the VM using the Connect option, they will not be able to use the VM. Alternatively, the Connect option can be selected and the virtual machine’s connection window will load but the virtual machine itself will not start until the green Power button, shown in the image below, or the Start option from the main Hyper-V Manager window is clicked.
The Settings option will be addressed in more detail later in the article as most of the configuration for virtual machines will be done using the Settings option. Clicking on this option will open a new window with several new items to use.
The Checkpoint option is used to create save points for virtual machines so that any changes to the VMs can be reverted. Checkpoints are created by clicking on the Checkpoint option in the main Hyper-V Manager window. The image below shows how the Checkpoints will appear in Hyper-V Manager. Alternatively, checkpoints can also be created from within the virtual machine connection window. The virtual machine connect window allows users to save a new checkpoint and revert to the configuration prior to the checkpoint. In the image above, the Checkpoint and Revert buttons are the two not grayed out on the right side the button bar. When saving the checkpoint, users will be prompted to enter an optional name for the checkpoint. If no name is selected, the default name for the checkpoint will be used.
To delete unneeded checkpoints, right-click on the VM checkpoint in the Checkpoint section and click on Delete Checkpoint. A confirmation window will appear asking you to confirm that you want to delete the checkpoint or checkpoint sub-tree.
Moving Virtual Machines
The Move option allows users to move the virtual hard disks attached to a VM to a new location. Clicking on the Move option starts a wizard that will walk users through moving the virtual hard disk . Most of the wizard is easy to figure out but there is one step that lists three options which need described.
The first option from the image above is to move all of the VM’s data to a single new location. The second option allows users to select individual locations for each of the VM items. The last option allows users to select to move just the virtual hard disks to a new location. For the second and third options, additional steps will appear in the wizard for choosing what to do. Personally, I prefer the first option as it keeps the files for the virtual hard disk and virtual machines together in one location which makes finding the files easier.
Exporting and Importing Virtual Machines
The Export option is used to save the virtual machine to a new location. Once the location has been selected, click the Export button. In the main Hyper-V Manager window, the virtual machine that is being exported will show the status in the middle frame. All files related to this virtual machine such as the virtual hard disk and VM configuration files will be stored in the export location. Once the VM has been exported, it can be imported into Hyper-V Manager on another Windows 8 64-bit computer or server with an operating system that supports Hyper-V.
To import a VM, click on the Import Virtual Machine option in the main Hyper-V Manager window. A wizard will load to help users import their VMs.
1. The first screen of the wizard provides information on what the wizard will be used for. Click on Next.
2. The second step is selecting the location of the VM to be imported. Note: Browse to the folder listing the following three folders: Snapshots, Virtual Hard Disks, and Virtual Machines. Otherwise, the wizard will prompt you with a warning that the VM could not be found. Select the location of the VM to import and click Next.
3. After selecting the location, the next screen of the wizard prompts you to select the virtual machine to import. Select the the VM to import and click Next.
4. The next step to Choose Import Type is important as there are three options to choose from. Each refers to a specific way to import the VM. The first two options use the pre-existing unique ID number whereas the third option creates a new unique ID number. Each VM is assigned a unique identification number when the VM is first created. Multiple instances of the same unique ID number will cause issues when run on the same host computer. That is why a new unique ID number is needed for each instance of a VM on the host computer. After selecting the Import Type, click Next.
5. On the Summary screen, review the information and click Finish. At this point, the virtual machine will be imported to the host computer.
I have three examples that I would like to provide regarding when to use each of the options identified in step 4 above. The first option would be used if I were to import my Windows 8 VM to my laptop which does not currently have a Windows 8 VM configured. As there is not an existing VM of the same configuration, the existing unique ID number could be used on that host computer. If I needed to repair an issue with the Windows 8 VM on RALBYDESKTOP, I would use the second option to restore my VM using data exported previously. Unless an existing virtual machine is messed up to the point that information cannot be recovered from it, I would recommend against using this option as you will lose all data saved in the VM since the VM was exported. The third option is used if multiple instances of a VM are needed on the same host computer. For example, I have created a Windows 8 VM on RALBYDESKTOP that was assigned a specific unique ID number. In order to run a second instance of that same VM configuration, I would need to select the third option on the Choose Import Type screen so that a new unique ID would be assigned. Otherwise, I would have issues if I tried to run both VM instances at the same time.
The last two options for virtual machines on the main Hyper-V Manager window will be familiar as the functions are the same as they are for other programs. Rename is used to rename virtual machines. Delete is used when removing a VM permanently.
Virtual Machine Settings Options
There are a number of options available when it comes to configuring virtual machines. Before looking at the process to make changes, I am going to give a quick overview of the options available in the VM’s settings. The VM settings are split up into two categories, Hardware and Management. By default, the two categories are expanded to show the options. The images below show the options available. I minimized the options in the images for easier readability. Please remember that changes can only be made for the VM’s settings if the VM is selected. If a checkpoint is selected (shown in the next image), the options will be grayed out.
The Hardware section lists 11 items. These items are Add Hardware, BIOS, Memory, Processor, IDE Controller 0, IDE Controller 1, SCSI Controller, Network Adapter, Com 1, Com 2, and Diskette Drive. The Add Hardware option allows users to add new hardware to the VM’s configuration. BIOS is used to select the order in which devices such as the DVD drive or hard drive will try to boot the computer. Memory is the random access memory (RAM) amount that was set up during the creation of the virtual machine. The Processor option identifies the number of virtual processors and some other configuration choices. IDE Controllers 0 and 1 are used to identify the types of drives connected. By default, IDE Controller 0 is set to use the virtual hard disk and IDE Controller 1 is used with the DVD drive. The Network Adapter option allows users to select which type of virtual switch to connect to. The next two options, COM 1 and COM 2, are used for devices that use specific communication ports on the computer. Diskette Drive is used when there is a floppy disk drive attached to the computer. Some of these options have additional selections that can be made. Click on the + symbol to the left of the option name to expand the option. IDE Controllers 0 and 1 show how the expanded selections will appear.
The Management category lists six items. They are Name, Integration Services, Checkpoint File Location, Smart Paging File Location, Automatic Start Action, and Automatic Stop Action. The Name option allows users to rename the virtual machine and add notes about the VM. Integration Services is used by Hyper-V to more efficiently use the host computer’s hardware by optimizing driver performance. The Checkpoint File Location option is used to select where checkpoints will be saved and the Smart Paging File Location is used to set the virtual memory location for the VM. The Smart Paging File Location option works much like a paging file does for a physical computer. The Automatic Start Action option allows users to select what action will be taking for this VM when the physical computer starts. Three options are available: Nothing, which means the VM will not start when the physical computer starts; Automatically start the VM if it was running when the service on the physical computer was stopped; and Always start this VM automatically when the physical computer is started. There is an function related to the second and third options to set a delay in starting the VM so that resource conflicts can be avoided. The Automatic Stop Action addresses what action will be taken for the VM when the physical computer is shut down. The first choice is to Save the virtual machine’s state. Saving the state will allow Hyper-V to set aside memory for saving the VM to the hard disk when the physical computer is shut down. The second option is to Turn off the VM. The third option is to Shut down the guest operating system (the operating system running in the VM). There is an integration service that must be installed to use the third option.
In addition to making the changes in this article, some of the functions discussed in the first article can be used for making changes. For example, the amount of memory available to a VM can be increased or decreased as needed. If the virtual hard disk for the VM is not set up as a dynamically adjusting VHD, users can change the space available to the VHD. If a new operating system needs installed, the DVD drive settings can be changed to load the new operating system. On a related note, if a new operating system is being installed, the boot order in the BIOS function will need changed to boot from the DVD drive or other bootable media source prior to accessing the hard drive.
Hopefully, this article for starting and making changes using Hyper-V and Hyper-V Manager has helped in describing what the different options are used for and how to start and modify virtual machines in Windows 8 Professional and Windows 8.1 Professional’s 64-bit operating systems. Please feel free to comment below or contact me using the email address in my bio if there are any questions.