Virtual servers on Windows 7 laptop

Posted on 2012-08-13
Last Modified: 2012-09-08

I have a Windows 7 laptop running 64 bit OS. I'd like to install some virtualization software (VMware, Hyper-V or whatever) on this laptop so I can have some test VM's as a test lab. These test servers need to be running x64 OS too, as the applications only run on x64 bit OS.

Could someone advise the best, cheapest and easiest way to do this? Vmware Workstation? Or is there anything that is better recommended?

The server OS needs to be Windows 2008.
Question by:richlionel
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    Well hyper-v is only available on Windows Server. I'm not a big fan of Vmware workstation (it's also paying).

    I would recommend using Virtualbox.

    Maybe you can make a dual boot, W7 and windows server 2008. That way you can implement Hyper-V for your VM's and then you're actually doing some virtualization like we do in our companies.

    Hope this answer is clear, otherwise I'll hear it from you.
    LVL 95

    Accepted Solution

    Hyper-V is a type 1 hypervisors as is VMWare ESXi.  

    Type 1 is bare metal - meaning they are, in essence, their own operating system.  You cannot install Hyper-V on Windows 7 or ESXi on Windows either.

    VMWare Workstation and VMWare Player (as well as Virtual PC and Virtual Box) are Type 2 hypervisors.  Type 2 are MUCH slower than Type 1.  (I recommend you look up hypervisors on Wikipedia if you don't understand the concepts).

    My recommendation would be to wait for Windows 8.  Windows 8 will include Hyper-V as a role (Hyper-V basically lifts up Windows and installs underneath it, unlike Virtual PC and VMWare Workstation and Virtual Box which sit on top of Windows).  For more information on this and other MS virtualization solutions, check out the free e-book: (Note - it's got good info and includes details on Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 but does NOT include the added features (like Dynamic RAM) included with SP1 for Hyper-V Server 2008 R2.
    LVL 20

    Expert Comment

    by:Svet Paperov
    You cannot do that with Hyper-v: it runs on Windows server 2008 R2 or on the hardware. Same story with ESXi of VMware. However, one of the VMware paid products can run 64-bit within  the VM: not sure, but I think it was VMware Workstation.
    LVL 23

    Expert Comment

    by:Nagendra Pratap Singh
    Best=Vmware workstation
    Cheapest=virtualbox/VMware Player.
    Easiest=any of the two
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    npsingh123's information is somewhat a matter of opinion... but
    BEST = Type 1 Hypervisor (FACT)
    CHEAPEST = Virtual PC/Hyper-V/ESXi/VirtualBox/Virtual Player (and others) (FACT - they are all free of license costs).
    EASIEST = Virtual PC/VirtualBox/VMWare Workstation/Hyper-V on Windows 8/2008 R2 (Opinion, but Hyper-V with management tools is not free and to run it on a client system  you have to wait for Windows 8.).
    LVL 116

    Assisted Solution

    by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
    VMware Workstation is a Type 2 Hypervisor, other Type 2 Hypervisors include, VMware Server 2, VMware Player 3.0, Virtualbox 4.0, and Parallels.

    Type 2 Hypervisors are SLOW.  In most reviews and experience, they perform at roughly 30-40% hardware capability.  That means an OS in a VM run off VMWare Workstation will likely perform at best like it has an 800 MHz CPU if you have 2 GHz physical CPU. You install Type 2 hypervisors onto of an existing host operating system.

    If you use a Type 1 Hypervisor, you get MUCH better performance. ESX, ESXi, are all Type 1 hypervisors - they (based on experience and reviews) typically get 80-90% hardware capability - so that same VM run off the same 2 GHz CPU should operate more like it has a 1.6 GHz CPU instead of 800 Mhz. Type 1 hypervisors are installed on the bare metal of the server.

    Type 1 Hypervisors also include Hyper-V.

    Type 1 and Type 2 Hypervisor Downloads

    Type 2 Hypervisor Downloads for Windows OS

    VMware Player 4.0 Free Download

    VMware Server 2.0.2 Free Download (discontinued)

    VMware Workstation 8.0 (60 day trial, $199)

    Oracle Virtualbox 4.0

    Parallels Desktop 4 for Windows

    Type 1 Bare Metal Hypervisors

    VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi)

    Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)

    VMware Workstation 8.0

    VMware Workstation 8.0 (60 day trial, $199)

    Available as a trial, can run Hyper-V and ESXi, if you are using for Test and Learning, and not Production, because Nested Hypervisors can run slowly.

    See here
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    workstation is easy to use and installation.
    my vote for workstation.
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    You can easily set up your notebook to boot off a VHD. You don't even have to reinstall Windows 7.

    I did the same with my Win 7 x64 notebook. My computer can dual boot into Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2. If i boot into Windows 2008 R2, it is set up with the Hyper-V role, where i have 7-8 VM's running as a test environment. I bought a USB NIC so i could have an extra NIC as well. You can run any OS in the VM's that you want.

    This article will tell you how:
    LVL 23

    Expert Comment

    by:Nagendra Pratap Singh
    npsingh123's information is somewhat a matter of opinion... but

    If you want to retain Windows 7 and use only a laptop then Type 1 is very hard to use.

    You may still be able to use one with local storage but you will not get any means to control the screen.

    Type 1 are ruled out. There is a good reason why Type 2 hypervisors exist and no one needs performance from a VM all the time.

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