Many years ago, there was a free virtualization software available from Microsoft called Virtual PC that allowed you to run virtual Windows and DOS inside your PC. But later when they released Windows 8, Microsoft discontinued Virtual PC. You can still download and use Virtual PC but it does not support modern Windows operating systems. The reason for discontinuing Virtual PC was that Microsoft had introduced an alternative called Hyper-V.
Unlike Microsoft Virtual PC, Hyper-V is integrated into Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. You do not have to download anything for it to work. You simply have to enable it in your Windows PC. Here is how:
- Press hotkey Win+R to open Run dialog.
- Type OptionalFeatures.exe in the Run dialog and press Enter.
- Select Hyper-V from the list and click on the OK button.
- Wait for it to finish installing all the selected features and then restarts Windows.
- When Windows finished restarting, you have Hyper-V in your system. You can access it by clicking on Start, typing hyper and then selecting Hyper-V Manager.
You can also enable Hyper-V using a PowerShell command which is much easier and one step solution. For this, you have to launch the PowerShell with Admin access. Just press Win+X hotkey and select Windows PowerShell (Admin) and in the PowerShell give the following command:
Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Hyper-V -All
Just like with the first method, it will require a reboot and only after that you would be able to launch Hyper-V Manage by selecting it from the Start menu.
Even after you enable Hyper-V, it may not work well on your system if your Windows PC does not have powerful enough hardware. You should have a minimum of 4GB RAM and a CPU that support virtualization. Furthermore, your system BIOS should also support virtualization and have it enabled.