Not all Intel CPUs support virtualization

JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec CISSP SSCP GSEC EnCE C|EH Cloud+ CySA+ CASP+ PenTest+ Security+Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 12,543 Admin
This topic was posted in another forum, but it bears echoing here: Not all Intel CPUs support virtualization. Just because you have a dual core or a quad core Intel processor doesn't mean it can run a VM host environment. This includes the XP mode in Windows 7. All AMD processors, however, do support virtualization.

These Ed Bott articles explain the problem and list the Intel CPUs that do and don't support Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT):

Can your Intel CPU handle Windows 7’s XP Mode? | Ed Bott’s Windows Expertise |

How many Intel CPUs will fail the XP Mode test in Windows 7? | Ed Bott’s Microsoft Report | ZDNet.com

It's also worth noting that many computer are shipped with virtualization disabled by default in the BIOS. So if you are getting a "virtualization not supported" error message, check your BIOS settings first.

Comments

  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Do you mean all current-gen AMD CPUs? You're obviously not saying all AMD CPUs.

    I'd like to echo Hero's recommendation for: GRC|SecurAble: Determine Processor Security Features|

    That's a great tool to easily tell how your current system is configured.

    Your BIOS may also be a limiting factor. My BIOS doesn't allow me to enable hardware DEP, so I'm screwed when it comes to Hyper-V (and I assume XP mode for the same reason). That's really irritating icon_twisted.gif

    Also, I assume this is just referring to hypervisor-based virtualization packages. While there are performance benefits, I do not believe this is necessary for host-based virtualization packages like VMware Workstation or VirtualBox.
  • tierstentiersten Member Posts: 4,505
    dynamik wrote: »
    Your BIOS may also be a limiting factor. My BIOS doesn't allow me to enable hardware DEP, so I'm screwed when it comes to Hyper-V (and I assume XP mode for the same reason). That's really irritating icon_twisted.gif
    VT-x or AMD-V you mean? DEP isn't needed for virtualization.
    dynamik wrote: »
    Also, I assume this is just referring to hypervisor-based virtualization packages. While there are performance benefits, I do not believe this is necessary for host-based virtualization packages like VMware Workstation or VirtualBox.
    You need VT-x or AMD-V if you want 64 bit guests even with Workstation.
  • tierstentiersten Member Posts: 4,505
    tiersten wrote: »
    VT-x or AMD-V you mean? DEP isn't needed for virtualization.
    Nope. I'm wrong. Hyper-V needs DEP icon_mad.gif
  • tierstentiersten Member Posts: 4,505
    tiersten wrote: »
    You need VT-x or AMD-V if you want 64 bit guests even with Workstation.
    Hardware and Firmware Requirements for 64-Bit Guest Operating Systems. Not quite that simple to get a 64 bit guest...
  • JordusJordus Banned Posts: 336
    ALso worth noting that if you turn on the virtualization in the BIOS, sometimes you need to hard reset the power on the machine before it will actually kick it in.

    Atleast with Hyper-V
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    tiersten wrote: »
    You need VT-x or AMD-V if you want 64 bit guests even with Workstation.

    Ah, I forgot about that. All of mine have just worked without any additional configuration...

    That link was interesting. I didn't know they had a CPU compatibility-checking tool: Drivers & Tools
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec CISSP SSCP GSEC EnCE C|EH Cloud+ CySA+ CASP+ PenTest+ Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 12,543 Admin
    dynamik wrote: »
    Do you mean all current-gen AMD CPUs? You're obviously not saying all AMD CPUs.
    Correct. I'm only referring to currently available AMD CPUs for general purpose computing systems. Legacy AMD CPUs and AMD processors designed for embedded systems are not included in my assertion.

    However, the AMD info from VMware's Web site is noteworthy: AMD64 processors must be revision D or later to run 64-bit guest operating systems; AMD Opteron and Turion 64 processors must be revision E or later to run 64-bit guest operating systems.

    And it looks like any system using the new Intel i7 x64 processors will have no problem running virtualized, 64-bit guest OSes.


  • tierstentiersten Member Posts: 4,505
    dynamik wrote: »
    Your BIOS may also be a limiting factor. My BIOS doesn't allow me to enable hardware DEP, so I'm screwed when it comes to Hyper-V (and I assume XP mode for the same reason). That's really irritating icon_twisted.gif
    My small VAIO laptop has VT-x disabled by default but the BIOS does actually have support for VT-x. Sony just disabled and hid the option to toggle it. I've enabled it however by altering the NVRAM contents so VT-x is enabled and the MSR locked by the BIOS at power up. If the BIOS settings ever get reset to defaults then I'll need to redo it however.

    Not that a 2.0GHz Mobile C2D is going to be blazing fast at virtualization...
Sign In or Register to comment.