Using a virtual machine, we can make risky changes in no-go areas of the operating system and test new apps independently of the operating system installed on our device. It’s a godsend for developers who want to try multiple operating systems simultaneously and test potentially hazardous software.
Are you interested in running a virtual machine on your Windows 11 computer? We will show you how to do it in this article. Let’s get started.
What Is a Virtual Machine?
The virtual machine operates within your systems like a mini laptop or PC. You can use it to test new software, run potentially harmful applications, or set up your testing environment by installing multiple operating systems simultaneously. Since they operate independently of the system they’re running on, any changes you make to them won’t affect your primary operating system.
How Are Virtual Machines Useful?
There are two advantages to using virtual machines.
First, a virtual machine allows you to safely run any software you are reluctant to run on your main computer or make any risky changes you wish to carry out. Every change and program you install is encapsulated within the virtual machine and doesn’t “leak out” onto your main PC.
Also, you won’t have to worry about losing important data or corrupting your computer if things go south in your virtual machine. In just a few clicks, you can delete and recreate a new virtual machine with no damage done to your primary system.
How to Install a Virtual Machine in Windows 11
Although there are different methods available for installing virtual machines in Windows 11, we will stick with the easiest one, which does not require third-party apps or tools. We will create a virtual machine using Hyper-V Manager, Windows’ built-in virtual machine client.
The first thing we need to do is install Hyper-V on Windows 11 before we proceed to install or create the virtual machine using it.
How to Install or Enable the Hyper-V Manager in Windows 11
For Windows 11 Pro, Education, or Enterprise editions, follow the steps below to enable Hyper-V:
- Hold down Win + R.
- Type “optionalfeatures.exe.”
- Hit OK.
Upon following the above steps, Windows 11 will present you with a window called Windows Features, where you can turn on/off optional features. Expand the Hyper-V feature, check all the boxes, and hit OK.
Once the process is complete, hit the Restart now button to complete the installation.
The Hyper-V may not be available in the optional features if you use the Windows 11 Home edition. If you can’t find it there, check out our guide to installing Hyper-V on Windows 11 Home.
Having installed Hyper-V in Windows 11 Home or enabled in other editions, proceed to the next step to set up a virtual machine.
How to Create a Virtual Machine in Hyper-V Manager
Follow the below steps to create a virtual machine in Hyper-V Manager:
- Using the Windows Search, type “Hyper-V” and click on the Hyper-V Manager icon.
- To create a virtual machine, right-click on your PC name in the left sidebar and select New > Virtual Machine…
- The Before You Begin window contains instructions. Read them and then click Next.
- Enter the name of your choice in the Specify Name and Location window, for example, “Shan New Machine.” Check Store the virtual machine in a different location box, and click Browse to choose your preferred location. Click Next after specifying the name and location.
- Next, specify the virtual machine generation in the Specify Generation window. There are two options here; Generation 1, which supports 32-bit and 64-bit older operating systems, and Generation 2, which supports only 64-bit latest operating systems. Click Next after selecting the generation.
- The next step is to assign memory to your virtual machine. It is recommended that you allocate at least 2048MB for your operating system to run smoothly. If your laptop has less than 4GB of memory, you can assign less, but don’t forget to check Use Dynamic Memory for this virtual machine box in both cases. By checking this box, you’ll allow the virtual machine to use more memory than you’ve allocated when required. Click Next once the allocation has been made.
- In the next step, you must configure the virtual machine’s network. Select Default Switch from the dropdown next to Connection. Click Next once you have selected an option.
- The next step involves connecting a virtual hard disk. There are three options: Create a virtual hard disk from scratch, Use an existing virtual hard disk, or Attach a virtual hard disk later. If you want to create a virtual hard disk, check the circle for Create a virtual hard disk, enter the size you wish to allocate, and click Next.
The 32-bit version of Windows requires 16GB of disk space, while the 64-bit version requires 32GB. So you need to allocate disk space according to the OS you intend to install on your virtual machine.
- In the Installation Options window, you can either choose the OS to install later or upload the bootable image file to install it directly. Click Next after selecting the desired option.
- Click Finish after reading the summary.
After the installation, your virtual machine will be ready to use via Hyper-V Manager. Follow the below steps to use your virtual machine:
- Using the Windows Search, type “Hyper-V” and open the Hyper-V Manager.
- Right-click the virtual machine you’ve created and choose Connect.
- Click Start in the virtual machine.
That’s it. Now that you’ve created a new computer on the same laptop, you can test anything you like without affecting your primary operating system. Hyper-V Manager allows you to create multiple virtual machines, run different operating systems, and create as many virtual machines as you wish simultaneously.
Get the Most Out of Windows 11 Virtualization
You should now have a clearer understanding of how to create a virtual machine in Windows 11. Once created, you will have a separate computer in your laptop that lets you freely test the apps you hesitate to run on your primary operating system. We recommend using Hyper-V Manager to create virtual machines as it’s free to use; otherwise, you can use other third-party tools.
In addition, Windows offers users a built-in virtual desktop environment called Windows Sandbox. Whatever you do inside this environment will not negatively impact your machine. Therefore, if the only purpose of creating a virtual machine is to test new suspicious programs, you can achieve this with the sandbox instead.