Build a virtual test lab Part 3: Hyper-V VM settings

    With a VM created it is time to explore some of the settings we can configure for it. In this example the virtual machine is Generation 1 but Generation 2 settings are mostly the same. The big difference is that legacy devices are not present anymore and there is an extra tab named Security which configures Secure Boot and vTPM which are out of the scope of this beginner series.

    To open the VM settings page just right click on it and select Settings… From the start you can see that the menu items are placed in 2 groups:

  • Hardware (contains all settings related to the VMs devices)
  • Management (configuration items that have to do with managing the actual virtual machine object from the host OS)
Hyper-V VM settings

Hyper-V VM settings

    Hardware settings

    The first configuration item you already see selected in the above image is Add Hardware. You can add extra devices from here like: Network adapters, video cards, storage controllers etc. To actually add a device you just have to select what you want from that list and click Add.

    Next is the BIOS menu. This is useful if you have to set a specific boot order for your hardware devices. When installing an OS from the DVD drive for example you will set that one as the first boot device by moving it up. For Generation 2 VMs this setting is called Firmware because those use UEFI instead of BIOS.

VM settings: BIOS

VM settings: BIOS

    RAM configuration can be made from the Memory menu. If Enable Dynamic Memory is not enabled you can only modify the RAM field which will represent the entire amount of RAM used by this VM (as soon as it is started, the host will see that amount as occupied) and the Memory weight setting that lets you specify how important is the VM with regards to granting it memory when conflicts occur with other virtual machines. The recommended usage is to check the Dynamic memory box. In this case the RAM field represents the startup memory value (amount of RAM granted to the VM at startup only; it can decrease after all initialization steps are done). The Minimum and Maximum RAM fields can also be set. These 2 amounts represent the upper and lower limits that the memory allocation for a specific VM can reach. The Maximum can be equal to the startup amount. The Memory buffer percentage lets you specify what amount of RAM should the host reserve for later use in this VMs case.

VM settings: RAM

VM settings: RAM

    The number of virtual CPUs can be configured from the Processor tab. Advanced resource scheduling can bo done also like setting the amount of CPU time this VM gets or how much of the vCPU power can it have allocated. For my use I always leave the scheduling options as default and set the virtual processor count as needed.

VM settings: CPU configuration

VM settings: CPU configuration

    The IDE Controller is a legacy device found only on Generation 1 VMs. It is used for HDD and CD/DVD drive connections. These 2 storage devices can be added from the IDE Controller tab by selecting one and clicking Add.

VM settings: IDE Controller

VM settings: IDE Controller

    Each controller’s devices are enumerated under it. In this case controller 0 has a HDD and Controller 1 has a DVD drive. Settings for the connected devices can be seen by clicking on each one. In the DVD drive’s case you can mount ISO images to it or link it to a physical DVD drive on the host. Removing a device can be done form it’s settings page at the bottom right via the Remove button.

VM settings: Storage devices settings

VM settings: Storage devices settings

    An advanced storage controller is the SCSI controller. For Generation 1 VMs it can host only HDD and shared disks but for Generation 2 you can add DVD drives to it also. This controller can also be removed from the Remove button  while the IDE ones are permanent.

VM settings: SCSI controller

VM settings: SCSI controller

    For network adapters the only thing we need to worry about right now is to configure a virtual switch. The switches can be seen like LANs. If we want a test network with 2 LANs connected through a router we would create 2 virtual switches and 3 VMs. One ot the VMs would have 2 NICs each connected to one of the vSwitches so it can forward the traffic from a network to another. The other 2 VMs would each be connected to one of the switches. We will learn about the types of Hyper-V switches in the next part. A VM network card left in the Not connected stage is like a PC without a cable plugged in the NIC.

VM settings: Configura NICs

VM settings: Configura NICs

    The next 3 configuration items are found only on Generation 1 VMs and they are rarely, if ever, used. If for some reason you may have something that installs from a floppy disk, mount the floppy image in the Diskette Drive settings.   

    Management settings

    A VM can be renamed from the Name configuration item. Besides the name, you can also set a description from here.

VM settings: Name and Description

VM settings: Name and Description

    The Hyper-V host can offer the VMs different services. These function if supported by the guest operating system. Examples of these are Time synchronization, guest shutdown by the host machine (clean shutdown), backup using Volume Shadow Copy and more.

VM settings: Integration Services

VM settings: Integration Services

    The next configuration item is for Checkpoints. A checkpoint is a point in time snapshot of a VM to which you can revert anytime you want. For example if you want to install something but the results are unknown (maybe the OS can become unstable), you can make a checkpoint, install the software and if the results are not good revert to the previous state without the program installed. The checkpoint storage location can also be configured if the default does not suit you.

VM settings: Checkpoints

VM settings: Checkpoints

    Each VM can have an automatic start and stop action when starting or stopping the host machine. For the start action you can select the VM to do nothing, to start if it was running before the last shut down or to start every time the host starts up. For the automatic start you can also set a delay to each virtual machine so that all of them will not try to access the host resources at the same time.

VM settings: Automatic start action

VM settings: Automatic start action

    For host shut down you can set a VM to save it’s state, forcefully shut down or let the virtualization host to nicely shut it down.

VM settings: Automatic stop action

VM settings: Automatic stop action

    VM Console window

    If you double click a virtual machine the console window pop up. This is used to show you what is actually visible on the VMs screen and to set some additional things.

VM Console

VM Console

    From the action menu you can send a CTRL+ALT+DEL key combination intor the VM OS, start, stop, save or reset the virtual machine and also make a chackpoint or revert to a checkpoint.

VM console: Actions

VM console: Actions

    From the Media menu you can control the virtual DVD drive or floppy drive of the machine. Actions include ejecting a disk, adding an ISO or using the physical drive of the host.

    Entering full screen or enabling the Enhanced Session Mode can be done from the View menu.

VM console: View

VM console: View

 

    In the next part we will see what types of switches we can create in Hyper-V.

 

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