Virtualization is a useful feature available on nearly every modern computer. It allows you to create additional virtual environments that run on your actual computer hardware. Doing so provides an easy way to test out different operating systems, run old apps, and more.
Sometimes, though, virtualization doesn't work properly. If you're tried to set up VirtualBox or another virtualization program and receive an error like "VT-x hardware acceleration is not available on your system," try these steps to get it working again.
1. Confirm That Your Hardware Supports Virtualization
Before you start troubleshooting virtualization problems, it's smart to check if your PC supports virtualization at all. If it doesn't, you'll save yourself some time.
Microsoft once offered a tool that quickly checked whether your computer could handle virtualization, but this doesn't work on modern systems. Thus, you'll need to use a tool from either Intel or AMD instead, depending on your processor.
To check which CPU you have, press Ctrl + Shift + Esc, or right-click an empty spot on the taskbar and choose Task Manager to open the utility. Click More details to expand it if needed, then open the Performance tab.
Finally, choose CPU from the left list, and you'll see the name of your processor above the graph.
If you have an Intel CPU, download the Intel Processor Identification Utility. AMD's equivalent utility is no longer officially available. Those with AMD processors should instead visit the AMD download page, select your CPU from the list partway down the page, and download the appropriate utility for your processor.MAKEUSEOF VIDEO OF THE DAY
Install the tool for your CPU, then open it by searching on the Start menu if it doesn't open automatically. On Intel's utility, open the CPU Technologies tab and look for Intel Virtualization Technology.
You'll see a check mark if your CPU supports virtualization. AMD's utility should have a similar menu detailing the capabilities of your processor.
If your CPU doesn't support virtualization, there's unfortunately nothing you can do to run a virtual machine. You'll need to upgrade your processor, and perhaps your motherboard. Most decent modern PCs should support virtualization, so consider replacing your machine when you're able.
2. Enable Virtualization in Your BIOS
In most cases where virtualization won't work, even if your CPU supports it, the cause is that you have the feature disabled in your computer's BIOS or UEFI. Though most modern computers support virtualization, it often comes disabled by default. Thus, you should take a look to make sure the proper toggle is enabled on your system.
To check if virtualization is enabled in your BIOS, visit the Performance page of the Task Manager as described above. Underneath the CPU graph, you'll see a Virtualization field that lets you know if the feature is enabled in the BIOS.
Alternatively, you can run a quick command in the Command Prompt. Type cmd into the Start menu to launch a Command Prompt window, then type systeminfo and hit Enter. After a moment, you'll see a lot of info about your computer. Scroll to the bottom and next to Hyper-V Requirements, you'll see a Virtualization Enabled In Firmware field.
If it says Yes or Enabled (depending on which method you use), then you can move onto #4 below. But if you see No or Disabled, then you need to enter your BIOS or UEFI to enable the feature.
See how to open your BIOS right from Windows 10 for the most reliable method, especially if your computer boots quickly. Depending on your machine, you might also be able to hit a key after starting your PC. F2, F12, and Delete are common keys to enter the BIOS upon booting.
Once inside the BIOS, look for an option named something like Intel VT-x, Intel Virtualization Technology, AMD-V, VMX, Vanderpool, or similar. You may find it under a Processor or Chipset category, which can in turn hide under an Advanced tab.
The exact instructions will depend on your hardware, so it's worth looking up the manual for your CPU or computer model if you can't find it.
Once you enable the relevant option, save your BIOS configuration and reboot. Upon returning to Windows, you should have access to virtualization.
3. If You Can't Find Virtualization in Your BIOS
If the option to enable virtualization in unavailable in your BIOS, your computer probably doesn't support this feature. However, there's a chance that the manufacturer has provided an update that adds this functionality. This probably isn't the case for most machines, but it never hurts to check.
An easy way to find BIOS updates is with the manufacturer app included on your PC. For example, Lenovo System Update will check for BIOS and driver updates on Lenovo systems.
If you don't have an app like this, you'll need to manually update your BIOS. A Google search for the name of your motherboard (or computer model) should bring you to the manufacturer's website. There, you can usually find new BIOS versions under the Support or Downloads section.
Once you download the latest update file, follow our instructions for updating your BIOS to apply it. After it completes, try entering the BIOS again and looking for a virtualization option.
If you still can't enable virtualization in your BIOS, chances are that your PC doesn't support the feature. You'll need a new computer to try virtualization.
4. Disable Hyper-V (on Windows)
Professional and above editions of Windows include a Microsoft program called Hyper-V. This is Microsoft's own hypervisor software, similar to VirtualBox or VMware. Unfortunately, Hyper-V can hijack your computer's virtualization privileges, blocking you from using another hypervisor app.
Unless you want to use Hyper-V to create VMs, you should remove it to let your computer run your virtualization app of choice without conflict. To do so, open the Start menu and search for turn Windows features on or off. Click the entry that appears to open a new window with a list of optional Windows functions.
In this list, you'll see Hyper-V. Uncheck it and make sure all sub-boxes are cleared, then choose OK. Windows will take a moment to remove Hyper-V, then you'll have to restart to complete the process.
Once you've rebooted, you should be able to use VirtualBox or similar apps without seeing a message like "hardware virtualization not supported by the host system." Without Hyper-V around to hog virtualization functionality, you're good to go.
5. If Virtualization Is Enabled but Not Working Correctly
Hopefully, you've gotten virtualization to work after following the advice above. But you still might have issues with performance or even getting a VM started.
Here are a few more tricks to try if virtualization isn't working right:
Finally, if you're using VirtualBox, you should always install the VirtualBox Guest Additions for best performance.
Get Virtualization Working Right on Your PC
Hopefully, one of these tips fixed your issue and allowed you to enjoy virtualization on your PC. In most cases, you'll just need to enable virtualization in your BIOS and disable Hyper-V for it to work.
If that doesn't let you at least get a virtual machine started, your PC doesn't support the feature—you'll need to upgrade to take advantage of virtualization.6 Tips for Faster Virtual Machine PerformanceRead NextShareTweetShareEmailRelated TopicsAbout The AuthorBen Stegner(1810 Articles Published)
Ben is the Editor in Chief at MakeUseOf. He left his IT job to write full-time in 2016 and has never looked back. He's been covering tech tutorials, video game recommendations, and more as a professional writer for over eight years.More From Ben Stegner
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