Internet is a wild place. Malware and attacks are getting sophisticated. There are many different ways your computer can get infected or compromised.

We can achieve safer web browsing by isolation. That is, use a dedicated machine only to do web browsing and do not store any important data. When the machine is infected, we simply erase the hard drive and reinstall the OS.

But that means you need an extra machine, space, cost and time. 

Hyper-V virtualization

Thanks to virtualization technology. You can now achieve safer web browsing virtually, by creating virtual machine instead of using a real machine.

You can also test run software to ensure they are legitimate and functioning properly.

Virtual machine has made it much faster and easier to replace. All you need is to terminate the infected virtual machine and start a new one using a clean snapshot.

Hyper-V, Microsoft’s virtualization technology, is now available for Windows 10. You can create a Windows 10 virtual machine and use it for browsing or test out some software.

IMPORTANT: In terms of Windows 10 licensing, while Hyper-V feature is free, Microsoft treats virtual machine as an independent machine and requires a separate license for Windows running inside a virtual machine.

An alternative is to create Ubuntu desktop virtual machine instead, which is free.

OS Requirements

  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Windows 10 Enterprise
  • Windows 10 Education

Windows 10 Home Edition can be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro. To do so open up Settings > Update and Security > Activation. Here you can visit the store and purchase an upgrade.

The upgrade cost, as far as I know, is $99.

Hardware Requirements

  • 64-bit Processor with Second Level Address Translation (SLAT)
  • CPU support for VM Monitor Mode Extension (VT-c on Intel CPU’s)
  • Minimum of 4 GB memory. I recommend 8 GB for better experience

Check CPU Compatibility

It could be hard to understand some of these hardware requirements.

Fortunately, there is a command called systeminfo in Windows to find out if it is compatible or not. To check,

  • run PowerShell or Command Prompt (search for PowerShell or command at Cortana and hit ‘Enter’).
  • A console window will show up. Now run the command systeminfo there. You should see some results like below to determine if it is Hyper-V compatible
check hyper-v compatibility

If you get all Yes, Hyper-V is available.

If you get a No like the screen for Virtualization Enabled In Firmware, you would need to access your computer’s BIOS and enable virtualization (if CPU supports it) there.

Enable Hyper-V on Windows 10

  • Right click on the Windows button and select Apps and Features
  • Select Programs and Features on the right under related settings
  • Select Turn Windows Feature on or off
  • Select Hyper-V and click OK
install Hyper-V

Restart your computer after installation has completed.

Obtain Windows 10 installation image

Download the media creation tool

  • Go to Download Windows 10 at Microsoft
  • click on Download tool now
  • run the downloaded Media creation tool
Windows 10 license terms
  • Read license terms and proceed if you accept the terms
Windows 10 create installation media
  • select Create installation media
  • click Next
Windows 10 - select edition
  • click Next again
Windows 10 - installation media
  • select ISO file
  • click Next
  • select where to save the ISO file
  • sit back and wait for the download to complete

Create Windows 10 virtual machine

  • open Hyper-V Quick Create from the start menu
Hyper-V Quick Create
  • click on Local installation source
  • then click on Change installation source
  • select the Windows 10 installation ISO file you have
  • click Create Virtual Machine
  • click Connect
New Virtual machine
  • click Start
  • press any key when you see ‘Press any key to boot from CD or DVD…’
  • if you miss it, turn off the virtual machine and start again

Normal Windows installation process should start. Proceed to finish the Windows installation.

In addition to Hyper-V Quick Create, there is a Hyper-V Manager where you can start & stop your virtual machines.

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