So you wanna build a Hyper-V Host machine?

So once upon a time, I needed several PC's. Each loaded with different flavours of Windows. This was primarily for software development.

What I would do is shut-down my PC. Then take out the removeable hard drive and insert the drive I needed. Then fire the machine back up.

Back in the 90's, this method worked great. Having to take care of a dozen hard-drives was not so great.

Then, someone invented virtualization!

And my whole world changed overnight! I started off using VirtualBox running locally on my PC. This got me used to running VM's. Then in 2015 I decided on a full blown dedicated machine for VM's.

When I need to work, I fire up my Visual Studio VM.

When I need to edit graphics, I fire up the Graphics VM.

When I want to trial get the point!

In a nutshell, a virtual machine (VM) is a file that is executed inside a "virtual host". This Host machine is nothing more than a standard PC (for the most part).

I won't get into commercial or Enterprise virtualization. Call this article "an enthusiast's approach"! 😁

So if you missed my article on my Home Server, you need to go read that! Short version, this PC was my old gaming rig. When i upgraded my gaming rig, I replaced everything, leaving me a perfectly good PC. So the start out cost was nothing.

However, I did splurge on an upgraded power supply, a shit-ton of hard drives and some controllers. The full build article is here.

So, the easy part...

Download Windows Hyper-V Server 2019 Core (or 2012 or 2016 depending on your hardware) ISO directly from Microsoft and install it. It's very straight forward. This has an unlimited licence and is free to download.

Once you get it installed, you need to configure the machine. There are several ways of doing this.

Hyper-V Core has no UI. You configure and manage it using PowerShell commands. My PowerShell sucks, so I have two management tools loaded.

First: Windows Admin Center (which is free) allows you to "point-n-click" on everything. And I mean EVERYTHING! 😝 This is installed on my (current) gaming rig but can be on any PC (Desktop or Laptop)

Second: CoreFig (free as well) which gets installed locally on the Hyper-V machine. This is a PowerShell powered UI giving you basic control over the machine. It's good, but doesn't do everything. I mainly use this to force stop a VM, restart the machine itself, copy files, etc. when the Windows Admin Center "misbehaves".

Once you get setup, now you can build your VM's.

I will do a "Base Load" of the OS versions I need. Get them fully patched, configure remote access and set user accounts. Once I'm happy with it, I'll copy the VHD file (the VM) into a new folder, rename it and then configure a new VM to use it.

For example, in the image above there is a VM called "Home Minecraft Mapping Server".

This is a VM that I copied from "BASE_Win10Pro" (Windows 10 Professional) and configured it to run a Minecraft Server and Overviewer Mapping service.

I have a VM for MSOffice 2013 and 2016, Visual Studio (many versions), other servers, etc.

I can have several running at once. Your only limited by the machines memory and CPU cores. I highly recommend, if the MB of your machine can hold 64GB, get 64GB, you'll use it! ðŸĪŠ VM's are memory eaters! I try not to use more than 60GB of the memory installed in mine. The remaining 4GB is for Hyper-V itself.

I no longer install software onto my gaming machine, I stick it into a VM. Most of the time my Hyper-V machine is turned off. I turn it on only when I need to use a VM.

Oh, and Snapshots! Snapshots allow you to "take a picture" of the current state of a VM. Then, say I download and install something that turns out to be garbage. I simply revert the VM back to when the snapshot was taken! No reloading. Think of it like a huge frickin undo button! 😄 Wanna keep "trialling" that peice of software. Spin up a VM, install the product but DON'T run it. Then shut the VM down and create a snapshot. When the trail runs out, revert the VM back to the snapshot and start again. Some demos are stupid short, need some extra time to decide to purchase or not. 😉

One final note. I use Remote Desktop Manager to connect to all the VM's. Dead easy to use, and free, and lets me connect to external (PC's and servers world-wide) machines as well.

Hope this info helps someone.

Good hunting and may the force be with you! Punch it Data!


Comments (2) -

  • Tof
    Awesome. When can you pop round and fix it all kidding. Now i need to find some DDR3 Memory for the old server. Will def give this a try! Thanks