My Take on Running VMware Workstation and Hyper-V on Same Windows 8 Machine

Let me first clarify. Running both VMware Workstation (Current version – 9) and Hyper-V on same Windows 8 machine is not supported.

Back in SharePoint 2010 and Windows 7 days, because of lack of client virtualization technologies on Windows 7, just like many of SharePoint professionals out there, I have used VMware Workstation as my primary desktop virtualization software and built many of SharePoint 2010 VMs. I have loved VMware Workstation especially its snapshot and team features. One of the major downside of VMware products was price tag and every upgrade would cost you approx. $120.

After Microsoft released Windows 8 and as soon as it became my default Operating System, it was no brainer to try out Hyper-V and as many of you, I had switched to Hyper-V and started building my SharePoint 2013 VMs using Hyper-V. This post is not about which virtualization technology is better but free price tag was major factor for me to start using Hyper-V. Additionally, I wanted to learn new technology and great things I had heard about Hyper-V (On the side note – I simply love Hyper-V after using it for a while).

Even though you can upgrade Windows Workstation VMs to Hyper-V VMs, for one reason or other, I am at the state where I have VMware Workstation SharePoint 2010 VMs and Hyper-V SharePoint 2013 VMs. Being consultant, I am always forced to switch between SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 (sometimes SharePoint 2007 as well) projects and it would require me to switch back and forth VMware Workstation or Hyper-V as my desktop virtualization technology.

One of the major limitations of running both client virtualization technologies are VMware workstation is not compatible with Hyper-V on same Windows 8 machine. It’s impossible to run both on same machine without Hacks. Since I don’t believe in Hacks, here are steps I normally take whenever I need to use one or other option. This is my preferred approach and it’s been smooth workaround (even with little inconvenience).

  • To run VMware Workstation VMs
    • Install VMware Workstation on Machine
    • You must not have Hyper-V role enabled on Windows machine, otherwise VMware Workstation won’t be installed
  • To run Hyper-V VMs
    • Enable Hyper-V Role Windows Feature. To run Hyper-V VMs, you don’t have to uninstall VMware workstation from the machine. It’s just you won’t able to use VMWare workstation as long as Hyper-V is enabled
    • Configure Hyper-V internal & external LAN virtual switches (must configure every time you activate Hyper-V role)
    • Configure Hyper-V VMs network connections to ensure it refers to Internal or External LAN  (must configure every time you activate Hyper-V role)
  • To Run VMware workstation VMs again
    • Uninstall Hyper-V role for that specific period of time

Good news is => Both Hyper-V and VMware VMs will be intact even while you are installing/uninstalling software or windows roles. You would be required to restart the machine and reconfigure Hyper-V network switch & VM network configurations to run Hyper-V VMs after re-installing Hyper-V role.

Again, No Hacks, It’s just matter of little inconvenience but you can still run Hyper-V and VMware Workstation side by side.

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4 Responses to My Take on Running VMware Workstation and Hyper-V on Same Windows 8 Machine

  1. m00ntear says:

    Hi Nik, there is actually a way better method to have VMWare and Hyper-V running on one machine without having to re-install the Hyper-V feature all the time, all you need is a reboot and de- / activate the HyperVisor. I use this method all the time for switching between the two virtualization environments:

    • Nik Patel says:

      Thanks for your comment. I really like this approach you have mentioned. Great thing about is it doesn’t seem to be hack.. I will give it a try and hopefully that would allow me better co-existence experience with VMware workstation and Hyper-V..

    • Nik Patel says:

      I am not sure how to reply your comment. Seriously, have you read both articles – mine and the one you have referenced?. I think you should be shameful to not appreciating information I am sharing with people like you. On the side note, thanks for the link. As usual, it looks like heck and I rather continue use approach I have mentioned in my post. I rather have only 1 product installed/activated at a time. It’s been working fine for me.

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