Microsoft Windows 10 OS Build 19636 Gets Nested Virtualization Support For AMD Processors

Microsoft Windows 10 OS has had Nested Virtualization, the ability to efficiently and reliably run Hyper-V inside of a Hyper-V virtual machine (VM) for quite some time. However, the feature was exclusive to computers with Intel CPUs. After more than four years, the important productivity, experimentation, and development feature is now available for PCs running on AMD CPUs.

After repeated requests from users, Microsoft has finally opened up or enabled access to Nested Virtualization for computers with AMD processors. Despite being introduced way back in 2015 in Windows 10, the feature was restricted to computers with Intel processors with specific hardware-level features.

Microsoft Enables Nested Virtualization In Windows 10 OS For AMD CPUs:

Microsoft today announced the much-awaited support for Nested Virtualization for AMD processors. Most modern-day Intel CPUs include hardware features that make virtualization faster and more secure. However, to date, only Intel had the Intel VT-x hardware feature to enable Nested Virtualization. Although a little delayed, several recent AMD CPUs now have AMD-V, which is similar to Intel’s offering.

Nested Virtualization relies on these processor extensions to run virtual machines. Traditionally, once Hyper-V starts, it prevents other software from using these processor capabilities. This prevented guest virtual machines from running Hyper-V. But nested virtualization makes this hardware support available to guest virtual machines.

There’s native Nested Virtualization support in Azure that gives the Azure users flexibility in how they want to set up their environments. One of the most common and active use cases of Nested Virtualization is to accelerate Microsoft’s Android Emulation. The feature is also used by IT Professionals to set up a home lab. Enthusiasts often rely on the feature for its ‘containers’.

While Intel users had long had the ability to deploy Nested Virtualization, AMD users were left out. Microsoft has now remedied the situation and enabled the feature. Nested Virtualization for PCs with AMD CPUs now comes within Windows 10 starting from Windows Build 19636. Windows Insider Fast Ring participants with AMD CPUs in their computers can start experimenting immediately.

The Nested Virtualization feature within Windows 10 can be used by AMD’s first-generation Ryzen as well as EPYC CPUs. In other words, even the 1st-Gen ZEN-based Ryzen and EPYC CPUs can have access to the feature.

Microsoft has cautioned that as this is a preview release of Nested Virtualization on AMD, there are some guidelines and limitations to keep in mind if you want to try this out.

  • Ensure the Windows 10 OS build number is 19636 or greater
  • Right now, this has been tested on AMD’s first-generation Ryzen/EPYC or newer processors.
  • Use a Windows guest with an OS version that is greater than or equal to the host OS version (19636) for now. Linux KVM guest support will be coming in the future.
  • Create a version 9.3 VM. Here’s an example PowerShell command to ensure a version 9.3 VM is being used:  New-Vm -VMName “L1 Guest” -Version 9.3
  • Follow the rest of the steps in our public documentation.

Alap Naik Desai

A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.
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