How to Enable Virtualization in BIOS

All of us have heard about the fake apps that claim to improve your system performance and even seen memes about kids downloading more RAM for their computers. They are hilarious but have you ever wondered if there is some feature that can actually improve the system processor’s performance.

If you didn’t know about it, there is the Hardware Virtualization feature and this article has every detail you need to know about this system feature.

What does Hardware Virtualization mean?

Hardware Virtualization or Hardware-assisted Virtualization is the process of creating digital models of the computer in the same computer so that you have multiple virtual components of the actual system’s hardware and boosted performance.

In simple words, this is the method for improving the PC’s performance by making more intangible computers inside the existing computer. 

Enable Virtualization in BIOS Main ideology for Hardware Virtualization

The plan is simple. You take little servers and put them into a big server so that maximum functionality can be obtained from the processor. This will give you a very powerful machine that alters the Operating System (OS), with an embedded virtual machine software. 

What can Hardware Virtualization do for you?

Users, who are into enabling hardware virtualization, have to know what they are getting into before they proceed with this process. 

Medium level server farm
  1. A virtual machine is more comfortable to work with, rather than a big server.
  2. The parts of this machine have separate processors and CPU memory and does not depend on the components, running the PC.
  3. Hardware Virtualization is a cheaper investment than a physical server, which will require a high CPU configuration, heatsinks, and cooling systems, depending on the build.
  4. This saves time since there is no need for maintenance of the server. 
  5. There are very few factors that can make this machine dysfunctional. 
  6. The virtualized machines can be easily duplicated and this will kick up your performance.
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Hardware Virtualization Technology Variants

There are three types of Hardware Virtualization that can help you make a virtual functioning machine.

Full Virtualization

A fully virtualized server machine is simulated entirely. There are no extra hardware attachments required for a fully virtualized server. Users with these machines do not need a modified guest software to make applications function.

Para Virtualization

For para-virtualized machines, there are no hardware simulations. This is totally powered by the guest software.

Emulated Virtualization

An emulator-powered virtualization process means that the virtualization process is done with the help of an emulator. Both the hardware and the computer OS do not require any modifications for functioning.  

What are Virtualization Processors?

A virtual processor is not an actual processor but a virtual core processor that is allocated for the functioning of a virtual machine or a server. This is not hardware with multiple cores that has to be inserted into the computer’s motherboard. This is an invisible asset that will work with the computer’s real processor to provide better and faster output.

Intel VT-x

The Intel® Virtualization Technology is a feature developed by Intel to accommodate several functions and processes by creating extra virtual processors with the help of the existing Intel processor. This can also take one or more GPUs to get an even better output. 

AMD-V

AMD Virtualization is a virtual hardware upgrade/extension feature developed by AMD® to carry out operations that are usually carried out by limited resources and software, in order to increase the overall output from the computer and the virtual machine resources. 

Steps for launching the BIOS menu on your computer

The Basic Input – Output System (BIOS) is the feature that takes over your computer, from the moment it is booted up and till the Windows Operating System (OS) boots up completely and takes over the system.

This is the program that powers and manages the computer’s motherboard, in addition to controlling what data is transferred between the OS and the system’s hardware components.

The BIOS menu needs to be accessed in order to enable hardware virtualization technology on your systems. This is a very easy task and here are the steps to launch the BIOS menus on your Windows system.

  1. Push the power button and you’ll see the manufacturer logo appearing on your screen.
  2. Now, push the F10, F12, or Del keys on your keyboard, depending on the motherboards.
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Laptop keyboard with F10, F12 and Delete keys highlighted

If you have an SSD, the system boots up really fast and you have to be quick when you push the BIOS trigger key. 

  1. This will bring up the BIOS settings interface. It is a classic, pixelated menu that can be navigated with the help of the arrow keys.

Enabling Hardware Virtualization

As mentioned above, there are two processors that can efficiently handle Hardware Virtualization on your computer, the Intel VT-x and AMD-v. Since these are designed by two different tech giants, there are different ways to enable or disable this process.

Every processor that is designed by Intel and AMD does not support virtualization. To make sure, check with a professional or a web page that contains information on the processor before you start using Hardware Virtualization technology. For easy references, search for keywords like –

  1. Intel VT-x
  2. Intel VT-d
  3. AMD-V
  4. AMD IOMMU
  5. SVM
  6. Vanderpool

We recommend enabling them, especially Vanderpool and the AMD IOMMU if the options are available for access.

These processors are a must if you wish to virtualize a 64-bit system environment. Though any mid-range processor can handle virtualizing a 32 bit OS, they aren’t as efficient as Virtualization Technology-dedicated processors.

Here’s what you have to do for enabling this feature on your Windows 8 and Windows 10 computers.

Enable Intel VT-x and AMD-V processor virtualization

If you have an Intel VT-x processor, follow these steps to disable or enable this feature on your PC.

  1. Launch the Windows Settings with the help of the keyboard shortcut (Windows + I) or by drawing up the Start menu and clicking on the small gear icon on the left side of the Start menu.
  2. Enter the Update & Security settings tile and click on the Recovery tab on the left side of the screen.
  3. In the Advanced startup section, you’ll see the Restart now button. Click on it to reboot your system and you’ll be taken to the Advanced Startup page. 
Advanced Startup section in the Windows Settings Recovery page
  1. Now, choose the Troubleshoot option > Advanced options > UEFI Firmware Settings > Restart.
Advanced Startup menu main page
  1. This will take you to the BIOS settings window. Navigate with the help of your arrow keys and go to the Advanced tab. In some UEFI firmware settings, this option is named as Configuration, Security, Processor, or System Configuration tab. 
  2. Locate the disabled Intel Virtualization Technology settings and enable it. This is not the only option that you could see here.
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Intel Virtualization Technology in the BIOS utility

If you see options like Intel VT-x, Intel VT-d, AMD-V, AMD IOMMU, SVM, and Vanderpool, these are the Virtualization technology options for Intel and AMD V-Processors.

  1. Now, press F10 to save changes that were recently made and restart your OS.

Disabling Hyper V before you enable Virtualization

The Windows Hyper V feature is used to help with the Hardware Virtualization process. However, this may have to be disabled, if you receive crash messages about VT-x or AMD-V. These are the steps to disable Hyper V on a Windows PC.

  1. Launch the Control Panel window through the search bar or the start menu. 
Programs settings in the Windows Control Panel
  1. Go into the Programs menu and enter the Programs and Features section.
Programs and Features section in Programs settings
  1. Click on the Turn Windows features on or off link to open the Windows Features window.
  2. Locate the Hyper-V option and uncheck it to disable it. 
  3. Click on the Ok button to save changes.

Try to enable virtualization again to check if you can get through with this process.

This is everything you need to understand before you start with basic hardware virtualization. Happy Virtualizing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to enable virtualization in BIOS?

You need to enable virtualization if you are hoping to run a lot of programs with limited resources. You need this feature if you want to multi-task without many computer components or a physical server.

What does enabling virtualization in BIOS accomplish?

Hardware Virtualization saves a lot of money and time by letting users run various programs by making a set of digital components that work with the actual computer to improve performance and give better output. 

Is enabling virtualization bad?

This is a safe process only when applications that are compatible with this feature are run on the computer. There could be security risks on your computer if this feature is enabled and not used for virtual machine working.

How do I enable virtualization in UEFI BIOS?

Users can enable hardware virtualization on their computers by opening the BIOS settings menu and changing the Virtualization status from disabled to enabled. The actual interface differs across different UEFI/BIOS settings. It is recommended to have a virtual processor if you wish to start virtualizing hardware.